Hope Wissel

Marinating 101

Grilling season is upon us – does it excite you or intimate you?

Don’t just toss the meat on the grill and hope for the best…..Are you ready to add an amazing layer of flavor to your meal by simply letting food rest in the fridge?  YUP.. it is that simple.  Marinating is a versatile and fun cooking method even you can pull off if you are clueless.  I was there once too!  I actually marinate chicken and beef the most and cook in my air fryer all year long.

Why marinate?

Hey is the “technical explanation”:  Marination uses acid to break down proteins in meat, naturally tenderizing it and allowing it to better absorb the spices and other flavors. The oil seals in moisture and adds a level of protection against heat. If you eat organic grass fed like we do, this is HUGE because the meat becomes tender and juicy. 🛑WARNING: if meat is left in citrus for more than 24 hours, it will begin to “cook,” and we definitely don’t want that to happen!  It will not be good!

Experiment 

The sky is the limit with marinades!  You can let your creativity flow.  It all starts with the 3️⃣: The basic ratio is three parts oil to one part acid. The acid can be vinegar, wine, citrus or yogurt, while the oil could be sesame, canola, olive or even fish sauce. Beef, chicken, veggies and tofu can generally take the same marinades, with the variety stemming more from the flavor profile. In addition to oil and acid, you also need to consider a third component: the flavor! This is the herbs, spices, aromatics and salt.  Here is where you can really get creative!

Two reasons to marinate meat is tenderizing and to add flavor. As for beef, more affordable meats like flank or sirloin will really benefit, especially from tenderization.  No need to spend a fortune on premium cuts of meat to get a better taste, try your hand at marinating.

The key is timing

Marinating might not be ideal when you’re in a time crunch, but it doesn’t take as long as you might think. For beef and chicken, it is recommended two hours can do the job. You don’t want to go over 24 hours or so, as the marinade can toughen the meat. For fish, the general rule is 30 minutes, otherwise the fish can begin to cook. Veggies only need about 30 minutes, as they don’t need to be tenderized.

 

Put TLC into the prep

How can you help the marinade soak into the food. Start by chopping and removing skin when possible. As an added benefit, smaller pieces allow for faster cooking. As you prepare your marinade, calculate portions properly so you’ll have enough: Think a half cup of marinade per pound of meat. Be sure to reserve some sauce before you submerge the meat. Once you’re ready to start, one of the easiest ways to distribute the marinade and help with cleanup is to use a zipper-locked plastic bag (my favorite), but nonmetal covered bowls work, too. Don’t use foil, because a chemical reaction could botch your entire recipe. NEVER marinate at room temperature. Slip your food in the fridge, set a timer and enjoy the anticipation!

Share your favorite marinade with us… Looking for some more ideas, check out the recipes on my website by clicking the link.

Happy grilling and have an epic day!

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