MarinadesI love marinades, in fact I collect the magic formulas that create wonderful culinary goodness.

Wikipedia tells us that marination is the process of soaking foods in a seasoned, often acidic, liquid before cooking.  It is commonly used to flavor foods and to tenderize tougher cuts of meat.   The process may last seconds or days. Different marinades are used in different cuisines.

That does not mean you can’t use a marinade on a tender cut of meat.  Keep in mind marinades BOTH tenderize the meat and infuse flavor.  Since the acidic levels in the marination process actually break down the tissue in the meat, the tenderizing part, it’s important to not let tender cuts marinate too long, or they will get mushy and icky.

In today’s post, I tried to share all the information you need to get on the road to becoming a marinade master (or mistress). First I share some tips, then some recipes, and finally a grilling chart to give you an idea how to cook just about anything you might want to marinate. The recipes mention the meats they work best with. The grilling chart shares marination and grilling times for specific meats.

A few tips to help with happy marination:

  • Marinate in a covered nonmetal dish or sealed plastic bag.  I love using those gallon-size Ziploc bags.
  • Turn the meat (or turn the bag) occasionally so all sides are covered with the marinade.
  • Refrigerate the marinating meat for the time specified.  Marinating at room temperature allows bacteria to grow.
  • Baste the meat marinade during grilling to keep the meat moist and add extra flavor.
  • Don’t marinate longer then 24 hours.
  • If you are going to use the leftover marinade for a dipping sauce be sure to bring it to a boil before doing so.  This ensures a safe, bacteria free, dipping sauce – which is a good thing!

The marinade recipes:

Asian Marinade
Delicious marinade for pork chops, fish, or chicken.

1 jar (9.5 oz.) kumquats, drained w/ 2 Tbs. syrup reserved
1 Tbs. grated orange peel
1/3 cup orange juice
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 tsp. ground ginger

Mix reserved kumquat syrup and remaining ingredients except kumquats. Garnish meat with kumquats. Yields 3/4 cup of marinade.

Herb Marinade
A flavorful addition to fish, chicken, pork chops or steak. I LOVE this one.

1/2 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. celery salt
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed
1 med. onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed

Simple mix all ingredients. Yields 1 cup marinade.

Sweet and Sour Marinade
Use with pork chops or steak for wonderful marination induced Nirvana!

1 can (8.25 oz.) crushed pineapple, undrained (that’s UN)
1 medium onion, cut into slices and separated into rings
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup molasses
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. hot sauce (red pepper sauce)

Mix all the ingredients, I like to have Lake of Fire resonating through the kitchen for best results. Yields 2 1/2 cups marinade.

Provocative Lemon Marinade
Works beautifully with chicken, fish and chops.

1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup white or red wine
2 Tbs. grated Parmesan cheese
2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. dried thyme

Shake all ingredients in a tightly covered container or Ziploc bag. Yields 1 1/3 cups marinade.

Need more marinade recipes? Visit: Marinade Magic Revisited

Grilling Chart:

Chicken, boneless breast halves – marinate at least 1 hour. Cover and grill 10 to 20 minutes; turn. Cover and grill an additional 10 to 20 minutes, turning and brushing with marinade until done.

Chicken, broiler-fryer, cut up – marinate at least 1 hour. Cover and grill bone sides down 15 to 30 minutes; turn. Cover and grill 20 to 30 minutes longer, turning and brushing with marinade, until done.

Chicken, thighs and drumsticks – marinate at least 1 hour. Cover and grill bone sides down 15 to 20 minutes; turn. Cover and grill an additional 20 to 30 minutes, turning and brushing with marinade, until done.

Beef steaks – marinate at least 4 hours. Slash outer edges of fat diagonally at 1-inch intervals to prevent curling (do not cut into the lean). Grill 20 to 30 minutes, turning and brushing with marinade 2 or 3 times, until desired doneness.

Pork loin or chops – marinate at least 4 hours. Cover and grill 20 to 30 minutes, turning and brushing with marinade 3 or 4 times, until desired doneness.

Fish, fresh or frozen (thawed) – marinate at least 1 hour. Cover and grill about 10 minutes per inch of thickness, turning once and brushing occasionally with marinade, until fish flakes easily with fork.

Mike’s comments:

With this marination lore you can come up with countless wonderful combinations for the grill. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. Have a favorite marinade? I’d love to hear about it.

Need even more marinade recipes? Visit: Marinade Magic Revisited

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