It's the beginning of grilling season and that means marinated meats and veggies. The question is what kind of marinades work well with them? Will a simple oil and spice one work for all or just one particular kind of meat? What about barbecue sauce? Or rubs -are they considered a kind of marinade.Beginner grillers will have all sorts of questions regarding this.
A marinade in simplest terms is oil, an acid and some kind of flavoring - sort of like a vinaigrette dressing.The marinade acts as both a tenderizer and flavoring.The tough fibers that make up the meat are broken down thanks to the acid in the vinegar, creating a tender melt in your mouth cut. Since beef is a bit tougher than chicken , it pays to have a strong acid in marinade such as wine vinegar or red wine itself.This kind of bath is perfect for a brisket, a thick cut that is often grilled. A great marinade for it is one that has both wine and red wine vinegar. Lemon juice can also be added for more tenderizing. As for flavoring, try robust spices such as cayenne pepper and dried mustard. Steak , another barbecue favorite also gets a hearty marinade in the form of red wine vinegar mixed with Worcestershire sauce tempered with olive oil.Oregano and thyme are the herbs used for flavor. Barbecue sauce can also be used for red meat too.It's sweeter, but still has the same effect thanks to the addition of apple cider vinegar which also acts as a tenderizer.A rub isn't considered a marinade because it's not liquid .It can be added to a barbecue sauce however as an ingredient to a marinade.
Remember that what works for a steak and brisket may not work for chicken. Those robust baths of wine and red wine vinegar may turn poultry into mush. Stick with lighter acids such as lemon, lime or even orange juice. Rosemary can be used as the flavoring along with oregano. Many people love the flavor of lemon pepper chicken and it can be replicated in a marinade. Use freshly cracked peppercorns along with a third of a cup of lemon juice. Since this produces a delicate flavor use a delicate herb such as dill to round it out. Fowl can work well with any fruit so think about a pineapple marinade that also includes honey and soy salt for a kick of savory. Orange juice based marinades can also liven up a barbecued chicken. Use freshly squeezed mixed with olive oil and hot sauce for a real kicky marinade. It can work with fish and pork too. What about veggies? Should they be marinated? Absolutely!Even veggies such as mushrooms can be tenderized for delicious chewiness.Start with balsamic vinegar mixed with olive oil and then throw in fresh ground pepper and basil for flavor.It's usually a three to four hour soak before grilling You can also
sub in fresh rosemary or parsley for the basil for an entirely different taste.
A good marinade makes for a good barbecue. Just remember that the heartier ones are more for red meat while the lighter ones will suit poultry just fine. It'll make for a delicious grilling season , full of tender, delicious cuts.