How to Use a Marinade When Grilling

What is a Marinade?

Anyone who knows even a small amount about cooking and food has heard of marinades. A marinade is a liquid that is made of spices, herbs, and an acid. They are meant to add flavor to your meat, as well as tenderize it. The acid in the marinade breaks down the connective tissues in the meat and makes it more tender in this way. You have a variety of options when it comes to marinades; there are so many flavor combinations that you can employ in marinades to bring out the natural flavors of the meats that you are cooking. Marinades are especially good for foods that are somewhat lean or bland in flavor, such as pork chops, chicken breasts, or even vegetables.

Easy Marinade Recipes

A marinade should include an acidic ingredient, such as wine or vinegar; a type of oil; and seasonings, such as spices and herbs. In some cases, citrus fruit juices can be used in place of the wine or vinegar in order to provide the necessary acidic ingredient. In order for the marinade to be as effective as possible, the meat should be immersed in it. You should always marinate meat in the refrigerator as well, as it can be risky to leave meat at room temperature for too long. Keep in mind that because there is an acidic ingredient in the marinade, you should not use metal bowls or other containers that can actually react with the acid. You should use either a plastic or glass bowl or a plastic bag that you can seal. Generally, you should use about 1/4 cup of marinade for each pound of meat. You should also keep in mind that using a marinade will mean that the cooking time will be less. Just how much the marinating process will shorten the cooking time will depend on the type of meat, the length of time marinating, and other factors.

Watch this video for a highly-rated Steak Marinade recipe:

How to Make the Best Steak Marinade

Watch how to make a simple, top-rated marinade that really stands up to its name.

How to Use a Marinade

Because marinades tenderize, you should make sure that you do not leave meats in marinades for too long. If you are cooking a meat that is already tender, such as a chicken breast or fish, you should only marinate briefly, for two hours at the very most. If you are marinating a tougher meat, you can marinate it for a time between 4 hours and overnight. The specific amount of time depends on the specific type of meat. However, in any case, you should not marinate your meat for longer than overnight or else it will end up turning into mush. Additionally, you should make sure not to marinate your meat at room temperature for longer than 40 minutes, because meat left at room temperature for too long can cause food poisoning. You should also not use the marinade as a sauce after you have cooked the meat, because the marinade has been contaminated by the raw meat. However, you can potentially reuse it if you boil it thoroughly for at least three minutes beforehand or put it on the meat while it is grilling and still has a considerable amount of time to go (more than three minutes).

What is the Difference between a Marinade, a Brine, and a Rub?

Meat Brine

Marinades are not your only options when it comes to flavoring food before cooking. You can also use a brine or a rub. What you should use depends largely on what you are trying to accomplish in your final product. A brine is a salty solution that will help a lean meat hold its moisture, so that it stays tender and juicy during the grilling process. It is often used for the preparation of poultry, as well as other lean meats that tend to lose moisture when they are grilling. Other flavoring ingredients, such as spices, herbs, and even sugars, are occasionally added to these liquids also. Before the grilling process, the meat will be rinsed in order to remove any excess salt and then dried with paper towels.

Meat Rub

A rub is a seasoning mixture that is rubbed on meats before they are grilled in order to add smoky or spicy flavors. Rubs are usually dry, but if oil or another wet substance is added, it is called a wet rub. In some cases, a little bit of moisture will help the rub stick to the meat. Rubs will generally form a crust that flavors each bite; marinades can sometimes do the same, but in a more subtle way. Sometimes, you can use more than one of these with the same dish, but make sure that you are not masking the flavor of the food itself.

As you can see, there is a lot that you should keep in mind when you are marinating food. You should make sure to do it safely and in the way that will best enhance your cooking. You can also combine it with a brine or a rub if that is what you wish to do.

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