Marinade Information (Liquid)
Marinades have three basic ingredients; acid, oil and seasonings. The acidic portion of a marinade is usually made with wine, vinegar or fruit juices. These are not only tenderizing agents but also give the marinade their unmistakable flavor and usually the marinades name. Traditional oils are peanut, canola, corn, vegetable and my favorite; olive oil. The oil helps blend the seasonings with the acid, and carries the flavors of the marinade. During the grilling process, the oils help seal in the natural juices by searing the outsides of the grilled meat. Seasonings are as diverse as the Chefs imagination. Garlic and onions are traditional seasonings, so are herbs like thyme, oregano, and rosemary. But do not limit yourself to these flavors. Try adding peanut butter, soy sauce, chives, curry, peppers and whatever you desire.
Marinating of meats is a process that will tenderize and add desired flavors to meat. Most meat marinades require 1 to 8 hours to complete their job. More that this time will usually over tenderize and turn the meat to a gritty texture. (See Marinade Time Chart)
You can reduce the amount of marinade required by placing the meat and marinade in a ziplock plastic bag and burping the air out of the bag.
Marinades are often used to tenderize tougher and less expensive cuts of meat.
Remove marinated meat at least (and no more than 3 hours) from the refrigerator before grilling. This will allow the meat to require less cooking time since the internal temperature is in the 60s - 70s rather than the 30s - 40s. The increased initial temperature will allow the fat to drip from the meat more readily, reducing the caloric content and the natural flavor that the dripping on hot coals gives meat. Make sure that the meat is covered with film while exposed to room temperature. This will minimize the exposure to insects and bacteria. Film will also not allow the natural juices of the meat to evaporate.
Vegetables can be marinated also, onions both give the marinade a flavor and receive one from the marinade. Some of the best vegetables to marinade are mushrooms, squash, tomatoes, leeks, bell peppers and water chestnuts.
If you need to reduce the marinade time and also want to increase the flavor of the marinade throughout the meat; try to inject the marinade into the meat with a chefs syringe. A large syringe should be chosen (one that holds at least 2 ounces) and one that has a large nettle opening. (This will allow all of the undisolved solids to flow through the opening.)
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Chef Emile L. Stieffel, Aurora Catering, Inc. email address: ChefEmile@CustomCatering.net
Copyright © 1995 Aurora Catering, Inc. All rights reserved.
Revised: May 27, 2009.