A Marinade Primer
HOW TO GET FLAVOURFUL, TENDER, AND JUICY MEAT – EVERY TIME!
A marinade is a liquid, typically made of oil, acid, spices, and herbs, in which meat, fish, or other food is soaked before cooking in order to flavour and or tenderize.
If keeping a lean piece of meat juicy (I’m looking at you boneless, skinless chicken breast), is your goal, consider a brine or a marinade brine hybrid.
When I’m organized and pop some beef, chicken or pork into a quick marinade the night before it feels like dinner is half-done the next day.
But sometimes I forget. So here’s what I do:
Slice and dice: Slice meat into smaller pieces, pop into a zip-top bag, and let marinate on the counter 30 minutes while you get the rest of the meal together. Halfway through, give the bag a shake to make sure your marinade penetrates every bit of meat.
Rub-a-dub: A flavourful rub can add zing in seconds. Pre-mixed spices are great for this (e.g. Montreal Steak Spice, Z’attar), but you can play around with herbs, spices and citrus zest.
Fish is your friend: Delicate fish flesh shouldn’t sit in a marinade for more than 30 minutes anyway since the acids will break down the proteins and make them mushy.
Freeze beforehand: This works so well with things like chicken thighs, pork chops and flank steak—before storing meat in the freezer, pop it in a marinade. When you get it out to defrost in the fridge, that marinade is working its magic!