Grilling Tips: How to Marinate Food
Marinating food before cooking is an interesting method to prevent food from getting too dry after grilling. Find out how the best marinade recipes and our suggestions.
Some cooking methods tend to dehydrate food (especially some cuts of meat), particularly due to very high temperatures which can damage both the texture and flavor; consequently food tend to get rather hard and needs to be deprived of unpleasant aromatic elements (in the case of game).
Marinating food before cooking is an interesting method to sort these problems out and at the same time it gives more flavor to what you are cooking. Preparing marinades and barbecue sauces is a fairly simple process but it requires some precautions and needs to be planned in advance.
What is marinating
An easy marinade (for, beef, chicken, pork or fish) consists of three types of ingredients: acids (such as wine, beer, vinegar, or lemon juice), oils (mainly olive oil) and flavorings (spices and herbs). In some cases you can also add various kinds of sauces (soy sauce, yogurt sauce, Worcester sauce).
Each element has a specific function: the acids break down the proteins present in the food, making them more tender and susceptible to the influence of other flavors, oils retain the natural flavor and water, preventing dehydration both before and while cooking, and the aromas add flavor to foods.
How to marinate meat for grilling
Here is a selection of the best marinades for steak and other cuts of red meat.
Red meat marinade recipes
Mix chopped garlic and rosemary, pepper and salt and lots of red wine. Let the meat marinate for about 2 hours.
Did you know that meat can be marinated in beer too? Mix a clove of garlic, orange zest, sage, pepper and juniper beans and drizzle of light beer. Let the meat marinate for about 2 hours.
Honey meat marinade
Mix 3,5 tbs of honey, pepper and thyme, 2 tbs apple cider vinegar and sprinkle the meat. Leave the meat rest in the marinade for no more than half an hour.
Marinating in balsamic vinegar
Mix balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil in equal parts lemon juice, basil leaves and black pepper, sprinkle the meat and let it marinate for no more than half an hour.
Finally, an idea for the lovers of Eastern flavors: arrange the meat in a container with a clove of garlic, grated fresh ginger, a teaspoon of brown sugar, dry martini and soy sauce. Let the meat marinate for about 1 hour.
Bbq chicken marinade
In a bowl mix a jar of natural yogurt, 1 tablespoon of curry, chopped parsley, lemon juice, pepper and garlic (optional) and pour it over the chicken. Let marinate for about 2 hours.
This the classic marinade for grilled fish: chopped parsley, thyme, garlic and lemon juice.
This Asian marinade for fish is slightly different from the one for meat: mix a clove of chopped garlic, thyme, ginger and and dry white wine.
Tips for healthy marinades
Barbecue marinades are a simple successfull idea for tenderizing steak and other foods before grilling. Yet, it is important to pay attention with them.
Never let foods marinate out of the refrigerator and in any case don't exceed the times indicated above. Since raw meat or fish release organic fluids that can encourage bacterial growth, use the marinade only or for prolonged cooking and at high temperatures however. In case of quick cooking, drain the marinade before cooking and quickly rinse the food under running water.