We weren't allowed to drink soda as kids so when coke showed up in the fridge it could mean only one thing - we were going to the lake for the week-end and grilled steak would be on the menu. It was a neat trick that my Momma got from her Momma and now I'm giving it to you: Coke can transform inexpensive cuts of meat into tender affordable steaks ready for the grill. Yea, that 2-liter bottle of coke that you can buy for under $2. Added bonus if you're calorie conscious: a 4 oz serving of skirt steak has about 60 calories less than a 4 oz serving of ribeye. And, if you're watching your wallet as well as your waistline: we're talking about an average of $6 a lb cost difference.
The "science" behind this hack is pretty simple. The soft drink contains acids (CO2+H20=H2CO3) and sugar. The acids tenderize the meat during the marinating process, and the sugars help caramelize the meat under the heat of the cooking process.
I don't like getting "fancy" with my steaks (I save that for desserts) so I don't add any extra spices to the coke marinade. But, you can add any spices you prefer- or even barbecue sauce and it won't change the tenderization process. For my fellow "Keep It Simple" folks, just submerge the meat in a glass bowl or other container filled with coke, allow to marinate in the fridge for a few hours to overnight and transfer to the grill. Then salt and pepper to taste. Easy breezy, the way summer cooking should be - without breaking your budget.