A marinade is generally a combination of several ingredients consisting of an acidic element, oil and spices. They are used to tenderise and enhance or add flavour to meat prior to grilling or barbecuing and the combination of ingredients and recipes is endless! The acid in a marinade helps to break down the meat and is typically comprised of vinegar, wine, beer or fruit juice. The oil helps to keep the meat moist and can be any type; vegetable, peanut or olive, and the spices are used to add flavour, to suit any profile you wish to create. Remember, the smoke from your barbecue will add flavour too but if you are using a gas version, this can still be achieved by using a Mesquite seasoning, which has smokey characteristics.
Look out for….
If you leave your marinade on the meat too long, the acid in it can cause the meat to become too soft and mushy!
Do not use aluminium containers when you marinate; the acids in the marinade can react with the aluminium. Always use a glass dish or a large plastic bag to marinade your meat
Do not reuse any marinade once you have let your meat sit in; always discard any leftover when you are finished
Always keep the meat you are marinating in the fridge until you are ready to cook it
You can store any unused marinade in an air tight container (remember no aluminium) in the refrigerator
If the sugar content in your marinade is quite high, it will have a tendency to burn very easily so begin by cooking it gently
Try using a spice rub after marinating; the marinade will help the dry rub to stick to the meat
What is a Rub?
Rubs, or seasonings, are a combination of herbs and spices mixed with salts and sugars to enhance the flavour of barbecued or grilled meats and are “rubbed” or sprinkled on meat before you cook it. A rub can be either wet or dry; wet rubs tend to be called pastes, and they can help to seal the flavour of the meat, form a tasty crust on the surface of the meat, enhance the colour of cooked meat but in addition, they draw juices from the inside meat, causing meat to marinade itself as it cooks.