Marinades…. bringing life to the party!
It’s here! Can you smell it? Grilling season is upon us, at least at my house. As soon as the sunshine starts brightening our days, we fire up the grill. Our grill gets used just about every evening from now until late fall. As long as it’s not raining, that is where at least one of us will be come dinner time. As good as grilled food is, it’s the marinade that makes it great!
One of my favorite ways to add a new twist to our grilled meats is to add punch to the food with tasty marinades. For me, the first rule in making a marinade is to balance the flavor while still bring a lot of kick at the same time.
I have a few favorite ingredients to use in a marinade, regardless of what it will be used on. They are soy sauce, citrus juice (depending on the flavor I’m going for), vinegar, garlic sauce, brown sugar and olive oil. There are endless ingredient options for a good marinade, as long as you put a lot of punch or flavor into it, your meat will come alive.
Knowing how long to let your meat “soak” in this marinade is also key. Seafood needs only 20 minutes, tougher cuts of beef can be left for much longer. Poultry is fun to marinade as it really takes on the flavor and adds a level of juiciness that you might miss out on if the marinade is skipped.
Don’t feel like you have to cook your marinaded meat on the grill, however. Pan frying, sautéing, broiling and baking benefit from a good marinade too!
Veggies like a good marinade as well! We love to take zucchini, peppers, onion, asparagus or whatever we have on hand and let them have a soak as well. Put the veggies in a foil packet or in a grilling basket and throw it on the grill as well. Amazing flavor!
Using a good marinade can liven up even the less desirable cuts of meat. It can tenderize a tough cut and bring a huge amount of flavor to what would ordinarily be a bit boring. Just be cautions when marinading meat. Always refrigerate it and discard the marinade after the meat is removed. If you want to use it to baste the meat while it’s cooking you will need to bring the marinade to a boil after the meat has been removed. Last, but not least, by all means taste your marinade before you add your meat to it. If it doesn’t taste good on it’s own, it’s not going to add much to the meat.
Get bold, play with flavors and ingredients to bring out the most in your grilling season. Marinades can easily be made up ahead of time, days in advance, and then added to your meat before grilling. No need to buy bottled marinades that often contain unwanted ingredients. Make your own and make the flavors you are craving!