Palomilla-Inspired Steak Marinade

Bistec de Palomilla is one of my favorite Cuban dishes. It’s usually a thinner cut of steak pan fried with lots of onions that wilt into sweetness, but this time we grilled the situation and added red bell peppers to the mix, and it was delicious.

This recipe is just for the marinade, and I recommend at least an hour of marination before cooking.

Also, as always, meat cooks better at room temp, so you’ll want to take it out of the fridge and lay it out in a single layer a good 30 to 45 minutes or so before cooking depending on thickness.


  1. 2.5 pounds steak
  2. 1 onion, either cut into 1/4"strips if cooking in pan or in 1/2" thick disks cut horizontally for grilling
  3. For the marinade:
  4. 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  5. 2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
  6. 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  7. 1 teaspoon grated garlic
  8. 1 teaspoon oregano
  9. 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  10. 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  11. optional: 1 teaspoon sugar if orange juiced isn't that sweet


  1. Combine all marinade ingredient except olive oil, stir or whisk until all salt (and optional sugar) are dissolved. Give it a taste and adjust seasoning if needed, then stir in oil.

  2. Pour half the marinade over your steaks, then flip and repeat with the other half. (Or, as you might already know, Ziplocs with the air sucked out of them once you put the steak and marinade in are a great way to get the marinade to take more quickly and effectively.)

    Since these were roughly 1-inch thick steaks and I was going to grill them shortly, I let them marinate on the counter for an hour before grilling, flipping a couple of times in the process.

  3. Cook as desired and remember to let the steak rest for 5 to 10 minutes depending on thickness before slicing/serving.


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