I recently discovered the joy of cooking and I have no idea what I'm doing but I've been experimenting.
Recently, I took two beef shoulder steaks, both just under 3/4" thick, both purchased at the same time from the same source. For the first one:
- I made up a goofy marinade with 2 cups whole milk, 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, 1/4 cup extra virgin light olive oil, and various seasonings (but no salt here).
- Marinated the steak for 12 hours in the fridge (pyrex container, covered with plastic wrap).
- Blotted dry then salted, both sides.
- Let sit for 45 minutes.
- Added some more seasoning to both sides.
For the second one:
- Straight out of packaging, no marination.
- Salted, both sides.
- Let sit for 45 minutes.
- Added same seasonings as first steak, plus the same seasoning combo that I put in the first steak's marinade.
Seasonings were a weird combination of chopped garlic, curry powder, freshly ground pepper, parsley flakes. Salting was done with himalayan sea salt and alderwood smoked salt. (Much to my surprise this all turned out OK).
I cooked both in the same way (although not at the same time):
- Small amount of olive oil (extra virgin, light) in cast iron skillet, pre-heated at medium high until oil was watery.
- Seared for 2 minutes on one side.
- Flip every 30 seconds until internal temperature ~140F (about 5-6 flips).
- Removed from heat, sit 5 minutes, enjoy.
However, I found virtually no difference between the two steaks. Both came out good, but had exactly the same texture. The only difference in appearance I noticed was that the unmarinated one leaked noticeably more juice onto the plate afterwards; the juice was brown compared to the smaller amount of redder juiced leaked by the marinated one. The only difference in texture I noticed was that the few thin fat strips in the marinated one were edible, while the strips in the unmarinated one were tougher.
In both steaks the meat itself was equally tender and had the same texture. Also the flavors were basically identical.
I had expected the marinated steak to have a deeper flavor, and to taste slightly more like the marinade ("creamy", acidic), and to have a more "melt in your mouth" texture than the unmarinated one.
My question is, why were both of these steaks virtually identical? What did I miss? Things I can think of are:
- My marinade wasn't effective due to the ingredients (or time, but 12 hours seems good from what I've read?)
- My preparation or cooking process destroyed any effects.
- The differences were just too subtle for me to detect.
- My expectations were too high.
What could the "problem" (if there even was one) have been? I expected two vastly different results.