how to make steak
By Mike Reifeiss. A big thanks to Mike’s company, Aall in Limo & Party Bus, for sponsoring this recipe post!

Having been in the business of organizing wine tasting tours for more than a decade, I’ve picked up the different subtleties of this very elegant drink.

Speaking with clients, vintners and wine tasters has allowed me to better understand when and how to use each specific variety of wine.

At our company, Aall in Limo & Party Bus, we strive for perfection. Because of this, we offer different recommendations for our clients when it comes to restaurants, as a good dish enhances the taste of the wine and vice versa.

purple wine grapes in california
California wine grapes. Photo via Jill111/Pixabay.

I have known this fact since I was a child, as my grandmother always cooked the most unforgettable meals.

Though I cannot claim to be a professional chef, I’ve always enjoyed trying new recipes — and even putting a little spin of my own on them.

My grandma taught me this when I once asked her to give me the recipe to her famous “Grandma’s Lasagna.”

“Everyone can prepare a meal following strict instructions; but to be a great cook, you need to adapt them, to introduce and take out certain elements, and to garnish the dish with some of your personality,” she said.

Since hearing these words, I’ve always strived to do just this. And I must say, I’m quite proud of what I’ve created so far.

Which gets me to the meat of this post.

You’ll see why that’s funny in a moment. 

Many of you have probably eaten marinated steak at some point in your life.

After opening up my business, I became fascinated with the idea at combining work with pleasure.

This is why I decided to find out how to use one of California’s best known wine varietals, Zinfandel, and use it to marinate meat in order to create a dish that would define this state.

After some trial and error, I’m confident I’ve found the perfect blend.

Follow the steps below — and feel free to add your own little twist, as well!

marinated steak recipe
Mike’s delicious marinated steak

Marinated Steak Recipe

What You’ll Need:

For the marinade:

  • A bottle of good Zinfandel wine
  • A quarter cup of olive oil
  • Sugar
  • 5 medium-large cloves of garlic
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Chili flakes (optional)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

For the meat:

  • 3 flat iron steaks
  • Olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Marinated Steak Recipe: Cooking Instructions

Warning: this marinated steak recipe packs a flavor punch. It’s also incredibly easy to cook.

We’ll start with the marinade:

In a sauce pan, pour out the wine, add the cloves of garlic — either sliced really thin or just crushed — and two tablespoons of sugar.

Cook the mixture at medium heat and bring it to a boil. We’ll reduce the marinade until it becomes thicker, which should take about 15-25 minutes.

After this is done, mix the oil, salt, pepper and herbs into the sauce. I learned from my grandma that fresh herbs are always superior, as their taste is more potent and compliments your dishes really well.

If you don’t have fresh herbs, don’t fret; you can use dry rosemary and thyme.

Now my grandma — being a little hot blooded — believed a nice, hot kick was mandatory for almost all foods. If someone couldn’t handle spiciness, she simply told them to get used to it because she wasn’t changing her recipes.

Because of this, I also like to add some chili flakes to make the sauce really pop.

That being said, I’m not as radical as her, so this ingredient isn’t mandatory.

After you mix it up really good, pour the marinade into a Ziploc bag and add the steaks. Shake the bag so you make sure the sauce entirely covers the meat.

Place the steaks in the fridge for at least four hours. Personally, I’ve found they taste best when they’ve marinated overnight.

spices in marinated steak recipe
Fresh spices will enhance the flavors of this marinated steak recipe

Bonus Cooking Tips

A very useful cooking tip I’ve learned from my grandmother is you should take the steaks out of the fridge for 30-40 minutes before cooking them.

If the meat is cold, it will take longer to cook. It will toughen up and the juices will not spread.

Also, always be careful when you buy steaks. I like the flat iron steaks; though you of course can buy whichever kind you like.

With this said, always be sure they are marbled. The white lines that go over the meat are fat, which make the steaks taste better.

Season your steaks with salt and pepper to your liking.

Take a pan, dribble some olive oil in it and wait for it to really heat up. We will sear our steaks, so if they don’t sizzle when they touch the pan, you have to wait a little longer.

I like to cook my steaks medium rare so I can better taste the juices. This means you’re cooking for approximately six minutes, flipping the steaks in the pan every minute. I do this to ensure that they cook evenly and get a nice sear — without burning.

A little secret:

You can cut a clove of garlic in half and rub the meat with it.

This will give your steaks a subtle taste that makes a huge difference in the overall picture.

After they are cooked, I let them rest for a couple of minutes, allowing the juices to rise up.

Finally, to ensure your meat is tender, cut the steaks at a 45° angle and against the grain.

As you can see, this recipe is extremely simple; but I promise, it will be incredible.

The meat will have a slightly sweet taste with a hint of garlic and just a little hot undertone to compliment your palate.

As a side dish, I recommend roasted potatoes with bay leaves and sage.

Of course, the perfect drink to accompany this dish is the Californian Zinfandel. I don’t say this because it’s a red wine — as a good red wine can go perfectly even with a chicken dish; but because it has a strong, sweet taste. Combined with the juices of the meat, it creates a lovely combination which will leave everyone who savors it for the first time absolutely speechless.

Don’t forget to experiment with my recipe — grandma’s orders!

Play with it and discover new ways to improve upon it. With this said, I feel like I have made my grandma proud, and I hope that I have made you proud too.

mike reinfeiss temecula wine tours
Mike Reinfeiss

About The Author

Mike Reifeiss is the owner and founder of Aall in Limo & Party Bus, a San Diego company that specializes in bus and limousine rentals. Mike loves his work and he happily plays the role of the chauffeur whenever he has the time to. Mike’s passion for wine also developed due to his job as he often takes clients to wine tasting tours in San Diego and Temecula Valley which are two major interest points for wine connoisseurs. Mike goes to local wineries on a regular basis as he wants to make sure that he always recommends the best tastings and dishes to his clients.


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Looking for great marinated steak recipes? This delicious recipe is unlike any you've seen, with a fun California Zinfandel twist. Yum! #recipes #wine #steak

Jessica Festa

Jessica Festa is the editor of Epicure & Culture as well as Jessie on a Journey. She enjoys getting lost in new cities and having experiences you don’t read about in guidebooks. Some of her favorite travel experiences have been teaching English in Thailand, trekking her way through South America, backpacking Europe solo, road tripping through Australia, agritouring through Tuscany, and volunteering in Ghana.

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