Until today, in my diaries you’ve found recipes to create the perfect meal. Today, you will find 1- or rather… 6! – secrets that you can use on your meats before they make their way to the BBQ! These secret tips I’m going to share with you, will make sure all of the flavor will get trapped inside the meat and will also make sure you receive more compliments about your grilling and cooking than ever before! Combine these secrets with the BBQ tips I have for you here and you have the whole grilling process covered from prepping to serving!
They make up the ultimate way to fortify and… seal in all the flavor of your BBQ meats! Each one is unique and made with the perfect combination of ingredients to offer the best flavor possible! Before I reveal these…magical recipes, what do you say I tell you a few things about marinades in general and the way you should marinate your meats? I thought I might present it to you as a game… In the form of Q& A. In a few words, I’m going to try to answer some questions you may have about the whole process – and… well.. if I don’t cover all of them… you know where to find me! ;-) Shall we get started?
1. Why do I have to marinate meat? Can’t I just BBQ it without having to marinate it beforehand?
Of course you can skip the marinating step, if you want to. But, a marinade can really boost the flavor of meat in a phenomenal way! It can supply it with extra moisture and protect it from the fire’s… fury or even from the heat in your oven. For example.. if you have a piece of round steak… It is a lean piece of meat that could really benefit from a good marinade – for the reasons I talked about above. It can also add a much more.. interesting flavor to chicken as well as… character to your souvlaki!
2. Can a marinade really soften a tough piece of meat?
No. A marinade cannot soften a tough piece of meat but it can make a tender piece of meat even more tender. I will include the results of a research conducted on this particular matter from the University of Bristol. According to this research, a marinade can only penetrate a piece of meat, about 0.1 mm in depth. This is a miniscule amount. But, the acidic element that your mixture should have can penetrate the meat’s proteins on the inner layer of connective tissues and make its surface (not the whole piece of meat!) a little more tender. This result seems to make the whole piece softer, something (according to the experts) which in reality is not the case.
3. What should a good marinade contain?
First of all, I need to add, that apart from the traditional liquid marinade, there are two other types of marinades” pastes and dry rubs. The paste is spread directly onto the meat – something which makes the result in taste more intense, while the dry marinade is suggested for a slow cooking process, since the aromatics can burn and give a bitter taste.
Moving on to the more common type of marinade, which is none other than the liquid marinade! This particular marinade should be made up of the following components: 1) Something “fatty” that will help the aromas penetrate the meat (e.g. olive oil), 2) Something acidic, that will soften the meat fibers, (e.g. lemon juice, wine, vinegar etc.) or some sweetening agent that will caramelize the meat (e.g. brown or white sugar, honey etc.), 3) Something aromatic, that will add aroma and flavor to the meat (e.g. garlic, spices or finely chopped herbs etc.). Finally, you should not forget that marinades are not only good for grilling and they are not only meant for meats. They can also be used for a piece of meat you want to roast in the oven but also for fish and vegetables.
4. How long should I marinate the meat?
That all depends on the type of marinade you will be using, as well as the size of the meat you want to marinate. For instance, if a marinade is like a brine (containing a lot of salt), then the meat should not be marinated for a long time, unless it is a large piece of meat. Also a chicken fillet, certain pieces of meat and a whole turkey, all need different amounts of time in order to be marinated correctly. What does this mean? That the time needed to marinate could be anywhere from a few minutes, up to 2 days – or even more if you have a special piece of meat, like lamb or goat. Apart from the size of the meat and the type of marinade, another important factor is: the temperature! Low temperatures slow down the marinade’s “action”, since they “tighten” the meat’s muscular tissue. On the other hand, the environment’s temperature can speed up the process; Even though it is better not to leave meat out of the refrigerator, since there is always the danger of the growth of bacteria. The best thing you can do, is to always marinate meat in the refrigerator even if the process may take longer.
5. How should meat be marinated?
Fill a glass container with the liquid marinade and place the meat in it. Cover with a lid (if it has one), or cover with plastic wrap. You can also use a clear food bag, fill it up with the marinade, add the meat and seal it. If your marinade is not in liquid form but has a thick texture like a paste, you can spread it over the meat, then wrap it in plastic wrap, place it in a glass container and cover with lid or with plastic wrap. Make sure that your marinade coats the meat entirely. If your container is small, make sure to turn it over on all sides so that it is marinated all over. Finally, once you remove the meat from the marinade, do not use it for any other purpose, and just discard.
So now, since we saw the “how” and “why” in detail, let’s take a look at the magical, delicious marinades I’ve created for you! Shall we?
- Greek marinade
- Classic marinade
- Balsamic vinegar marinade
- Spicy marinade
- Thai marinade
- Oriental marinade
Happy Grilling Day!!!