Marinades–Types and Recipes

Peppermill-ThumbnailI could write volumes on the virtues of marinades, but I will try to contain myself. The main job of a marinade is to add flavor and to tenderize the product. This is especially helpful when we are using tougher cuts of meats. There are essentially two types of marinades, wet and dry. So let’s tackle them in turn.

DRY MARINADE
Also knows as rubs, its the dry marinade’s job can vary depending on the the product. Usually containing salt, one job can be to actually wick moisture out of the product. Moisture can be fats and water. This is how we cure things, for instance. It can also be used as a crust to protect foods from harsher cooking methods.

Usually a dry marinade consists od herbs, spices, salt, and some aromatics. In some cases we will mix the marinade with oil to form a paste which we can spread on the food, then allow to sit and absorb flavors. These marinades don’t really do much to the food itself like its wet counterpart.

A Dry Marinade for Seafood
Makes 1 1/2 cups

1 cup
1/2 cup
1 tablespoon
1 tablespoon
1 tablespoon
2 teaspoons
1 tablespoon
2 tablespoons
Kosher Salt
Brown Sugar
Onion Powder
Garlic Powder
Cumin
Black Pepper
Coriander
Olive Oil
  1. Mix ingredients together well and spread onto fish.
  2. Marinate for at least 1 hour, scrape off the majority of marinade before cooking

WET MARINADE
The wet marinade is most useful when you need to both tenderize a tough cut, and you want to add some flavor. Typically speaking a wet marinade should have salt, oil and an acid. The salt and acids work together to break down the food, kind of a tug-of-war on the connective tissues. The larger the piece, the longer it should marinate to be most effective.

Wet marinades can also be used as the base for a sauce, and for basting during the cooking process. If you choose to make a sauce with the marinade, you have to be sure to heat the sauce-to-be past 170° for more than 30 seconds to be safe. Typically I do not recommend it because of the cross-contamination risks it poses. Keep it for basting, and leave it at that in my book.

A Brine is another type of marinade with a very specific job to do. We will get into that later!

A Wet Marinade for Flank Steak
Makes 1 1/2 cups

1/2 cup
1/2 cup
1/2 cup
1 teaspoon
1 teaspoon
1 tablespoon
1 tablespoon
French Dressing
Olive Oil
Red Wine Vinegar
Kosher Salt
Black Pepper
Chopped Garlic
Chopped Shallots
  1. Mix ingredients together well and spread onto fish.
  2. Marinate for 2-3 hours in a plastic zip-top bag with air removed
  3. Turn once or twice throughout the process.
  4. Remove from bag, and use the leftover sauce for basting.
  5. Cook as desired. A low and slow grill is my choice!
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