A 4-ingredient marinade for always-tender flank steak

A delicious steak never goes out of season. Neither does our go-to marinade, which requires only a few ingredients

By Ashlie D. Stevens

Food Editor

Published October 14, 2021 6:30AM (EDT)

A steak meal for two. (Getty Images)
A steak meal for two. (Getty Images)

As the days get shorter and the evenings become distinctively crisp, my desire to cook outdoors on the grill tends to dwindle. Autumn, for me, spells the beginning of baking and braising season. A delicious steak, however, never goes out of season.

Broiling a well-marinated steak in a cast-iron skillet yields a pleasantly charred and surprisingly tender cut of beef, especially if you really lean into some of the cozier, more nuanced flavors of fall. My current go-to marinade for flank steak requires only four simple ingredients: chipotle chili powder, molasses, orange zest and a bottle of Guinness Draught Beer

Any dark stout would work here, but Guinness is an excellent choice because of its strong coffee, maltiness and cacao notes. The beer doesn't just provide a flavor boost—it also helps tenderize what is typically a tougher, less expensive (aka the perfect weeknight) cut of steak. 

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The profile is brightened by the zest of an entire orange, which plays off the robust sweetness of the molasses and the deep, smoky spice of the ground chipotle chili powder. The end result is a subtle nod to the layered flavors of Mexican moles. 

Don't forget to save the leftover orange to make a quick citrus vinaigrette. The finished steak pairs very nicely with a simple salad of avocado, bitter greens, pickled red onions and pumpkin seeds.


Recipe: 4-Ingredient Flank Steak Marinade

Serves 3-4 


  • 1 bottle (11.2 ounces) of Guinness Draught Beer
  • Zest of one orange
  • 3 teaspoons of chipotle chili powder 
  • 2 tablespoons of molasses 
  • 1 1-pound flank steak, generously salted 


1. In a large bowl, combine the Guinness, orange zest, chipotle chili powder and molasses. Mix until combined.  

2. Pour the marinade in a bowl with a cover or a large sealable plastic bag, followed by the flank steak. Make sure the steak is completely covered in the marinade, then place it in the refrigerator. Allow the steak to marinate for at least 30 minutes (though overnight is preferable). 

3. When you're ready to cook the steak, remove it from the marinade and place it in a greased cast-iron skillet. Set your oven broiler to "high," then place the skillet in the oven. Cook for 4 to 6 minutes; flip the steak and broil for another 4 to 6 minutes. 

5. The steak is done when the edges are charred and a little crispy. Cut against the grain and serve immediately. 

More easy marinades for easy weeknight dinners:

By Ashlie D. Stevens

Ashlie D. Stevens is Salon's food editor. She is also an award-winning radio producer, editor and features writer — with a special emphasis on food, culture and subculture. Her writing has appeared in and on The Atlantic, National Geographic’s “The Plate,” Eater, VICE, Slate, Salon, The Bitter Southerner and Chicago Magazine, while her audio work has appeared on NPR’s All Things Considered and Here & Now, as well as APM’s Marketplace. She is based in Chicago.

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Beer Dinner Food Guinness Marinade Recipe Steak