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Throw another steak on the barbie, folks! Summer is approaching! For our summer months we shall be discussing the art of preparing foods for the BBQ. This month we shall talk about marinades. Not only do marinades flavor your meats, but they also tenderize them. Most marinades include some sort of acid (i.e. vinegar, wine, citrus juice etc) which break down the fibers in the meats, making them soft and tender. Add some spices and some oil (needed to keep the meat from drying out over the hot coals) and we're done!
There are basically 3 types of marinades; dry rubs, pastes and the "wet" type. I shall be giving you examples of each, as well as a chart to choose the perfect one for the different types of foods and the timing! (The timing is listed in hours therefore 2-4 would mean 2-4 hours.)
*Shellfish: includes shrimp, scampi. Lobster could be boiled first and then cut in half, spread with a rub then grilled for a minute or so.
*Fish: The "lighter" fleshed fish (snapper, porgy etc) should be grilled on a piece of greased foil to prevent losing them through the BBQ. The firmer fleshed fishes(halibut, swordfish, salmon etc) can be either filleted or chunked into kabobs.
*Chicken: (b) is for breast, (t) is for thigh/drumstick, (w) is for wings.
*Beef: any type of steak, filet, t-bone etc. does nicely, and doesn't need a long marinade time. Marinade a less tender cut for up to 24 hours and you won't believe how soft it can become!
*Lamb: True Spring lamb does not need much marinating. Unfortunately at times we get lamb that is a bit older and is starting to take on that "mutton-y" taste therefore a longer marinating time is required.
*Pork: The loin and the spare ribs lend themselves best to marinating.
Tips on the perfect marinades:
- Pour oil in slowly, and either whisk, blend or shake in a glass bottle to ensure the mixture emulsifies
- The tighter the food tissue the more time it needs to marinade> A filet of sole will never need the same amount of time as a filet mignon.
- Never reuse your marinade!
- If you want to use your marinade to baste, heat it to boiling first. (This will kill any bacteria)
- When dealing with acids, make sure you use a non reactive mixing bowl - otherwise your marinade may come out funny tasting due to the mixture of the metal with the acid.