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Cromer’s steak marinade is the secret sauce to skirt steak you’ll want to eat any time of day. (Photo credit: Doug Young)

Cromer’s Market on Noyac Road in Sag Harbor has been a local staple since 1990, offering everything from the quintessential Long Island egg sandwich to fried chicken and pulled pork. 

Ray Samot has been Cromer’s main butcher for nearly 20 years. (Photo credit: Doug Young)

Just past the small and bustling grocery department, you’ll find an award-winning prime meats counter staffed with legitimate butchers who are more than willing to provide expert advice and cut your meat selections how you like them, which may be why Cromer’s supplies prime meats to a great many of East End restaurants.

On any given day, you will find a line of hungry patrons at the sandwich counter, including laborers, locals, travelers, fishermen and full-on families. Listen to what people are ordering. You will most likely hear one particular menu item repeated more than once: Cromer’s marinated steak hero, piled high with grilled onions and mozzarella.

The secret to its fame? The marinade. A just-right blend of molasses, garlic, teriyaki and Worcestershire sauce that kicks the flavor of the grilled steak up quite a few notches. 

Marinate your meat no less than 2 hours and up to 24. (Photo credit: Doug Young)

“This is a blend that they were doing before I even got here,” says 18-year veteran Cromer’s butcher Ray Samot of the signature marinade. “The sweetness of the molasses is the key to its popularity with our customers, who are always asking if they can purchase it.”

Samot’s journey to becoming a well-respected community butcher began as a teenager when he started working at Dreesen’s Excelsior Market in East Hampton Village. “I worked part-time after school and in the summer, first in the kitchen and then up front with the customers,” he explains. His lessons created the foundation for his career parsing out protein, learning how to clean legs of lamb at first, and then breaking down primal cuts of beef (short loins, sirloins, chuck, high-round, top-round, flank, etc.) and separating out the desired cuts (porterhouse, myriad roasts, tri-tips, tenderloin, strip, skirt, and flank steaks, etc.).

Allow your meat to come to room temperature prior to grilling or searing in a cast iron pan. (Photo credit: Doug Young)

Now, Samot is an expert trimmer of cuts, evident in how he quickly slices (“Everything is about speed and efficiency,” he notes) through skirt steak for the famous, often ordered sandwich. “It’s a great cut that you could overcook and still not hurt it because of its fat content,” advises Samot.

Once marinated in the refrigerator (for no less than two and up to 24 hours), Cromer’s Market recommends bringing the steak to room temperature before grilling, which will help enhance the depth of flavor. “It’s a terrific marinade for a New York strip or sirloin, but works especially well with the skirt,” reiterates Samot, “and for fajitas, it’s delicious.”

We’ll take his word for it, but why not use the marinated steak for breakfast atop a tortilla with scrambled eggs and tomatillo sauce or a protein-packed power lunch a la classic steak Caesar? The meaty possibilities provide day-long inspiration.

Let the marinating begin!

Cromer’s Market steak marinade

Prep Time 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup Kikoman teriyaki sauce
  • 1/3 cup A1 steak sauce
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp garlic, chopped
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp Gravy Master

Directions

  • In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and whisk to incorporate. 
  • Add your choice of steak to the bowl. Turn the steak over to make sure all sides are coated. 
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours before cooking. 
  • About 1 hour before you’re going to cook the steak, remove the bowl from the refrigerator and transfer the steak from the bowl to a plate. Cover the plate with plastic wrap and allow it to come to room temperature until you’re ready to cook it, about 1 hour. Discard the remaining marinade.
  • Cook the steak in a pan or on the grill until it reaches your preferred temperature. We recommend cooking the steak to an internal temperature of 130° F, then allow the meat to rest for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.
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