Grilling season is upon us. You can literally smell it in the air as you peruse the neighborhoods of the Capital Region. While these warm days may be fleeting now, we know that higher temperatures are on the way— and so, here we are. To help you prepare for all of your grilling pleasures, we’ve created a guide to creating your own marinade, plus tips on maximizing the flavor— because often times, the marinade makes the meat. You might have a go-to marinade that you prefer to use, whether it be a simple Italian dressing or a mixture you throw together on the fly; but this guide will help you realize just how creative you can get with your marinades and maximize your grilling enjoyment. Have fun!
What You’ll Need:
Some type of acidic liquid, such as vinegar, wine, lemon, lime, or orange juice.
Why? The acidic pH helps to tenderize the meat; and using an acidic component in your marinade can help to reduce the amount of carcinogens that could otherwise be created in the food when cooking over an open flame.
Oil such as olive oil, peanut oil, canola oil, or safflower oil.
Why? Oils help to lock moisture into the meat to prevent it from drying out while it grills, and the healthy fats from EVOO can replace some of the less-healthy animal fat that will leak out during the cooking process.
Spices and herbs such as oregano, black pepper, onion and garlic powder— or whatever your heart desires.
Why? Well, all of the oil and acid is getting into your meat, helping it to cook better and enhance the flavor— the spices will do the same thing, seeping into the cut and giving it a delicious taste. The seasoning aspect of the marinade allows for you to get really creative. You can incorporate whatever spices you’d like, taking care to pair the flavors the way you might in any other dish.
A pinch of salt
Why? A pinch of salt will help to enhance the flavor and bring out more juices in the meat. You don’t need to use a lot of salt— a little will go a long way.
Additional Tips for Marinating:
- Taste your marinade before you pour it over your meat to make sure you like the flavor.
- Pierce the meat with a fork to allow the marinade to soak into the meat.
- Use glass or plastic as your marinating vessel— aluminum may react to the acid in the marinade.
- Cover and let marinate in the fridge, where the meat will not get too warm and form illness-causing bacteria.
- You can use marinades on vegetables and tofu as well, so there’s really no limit to what you can do with your new creations!