The Art of Marinating Meat: Simple Tips for Optimum Flavor and Texture
I’d like to talk to you today about marinade. I know it doesn’t sound real sexy and exciting but it can change your life. Trust me this marinade is awesome. If you’re someone like me you just want things to be simple and straightforward with cooking. I don’t like the actual flavor of plain meat. I don’t like when things get all chewy and tough. Marinades are the solution!
So this is something we use quite a bit at our house and it’s really simple. I used to think you had to marinate stuff overnight, which takes a lot of planning and prep. This is a 60 minute marinade and it’s really simple.
I’m going to use chicken as an example, but you could pick other meats if you’d like.
The Basics of Marinating Meat
Marinades are a combination of oils, acids, and spices that are used to infuse meat with flavor and to tenderize it by breaking down its proteins. A simple and effective marinade can be made in just 60 minutes using apple cider vinegar, Celtic or Himalayan salt, coconut aminos, and black pepper or smoked paprika. After filleting the meat and trimming off any unwanted bits, the marinade is added to a bag and massaged into the meat.
I use a quarter to a third of a cup of apple cider vinegar. Now, we’re also going to throw in here some Celtic or Himalayan Salt. Salt, as you probably know, is going to help enhance the flavor of everything but what salt does is it brings hydration, right? It brings fluids into those meat tissues. So they actually resist the heat when you cook- it’s going to retain a lot of moisture throughout the cooking process. It’s awesome. So we got the apple cider vinegar in there. We got some salt in there again, I’m just throwing that stuff in there. I’m not going to measure it honestly. I use maybe half a teaspoon in there for a gallon baggie.
I’m also going to throw in there a good two to three to four tablespoons of coconut aminos. I don’t know if you ever heard of these before. They are yummy though. They’re a nice kind of like a soy sauce but a little bit more savory plus a sweet combined, so pretty yummy. I’m going to throw those in that bag as well. And then finally I’m going to go with some black pepper. Or you can even do a little bit more exotic. Do some smoked paprika. You’re going to experiment with different flavors, by the way, but I would definitely make it a base with the apple cider vinegar, this salt and then your coconut aminos. That’s just kind of the base I would use and you can exchange in different herbs. And we’re going to seal that up real good. And we’ve actually done two or three baggies. For you can you can do a whole grill full, a whole oven, and you’re going to kind of massage it around, you know mix that up nicely.
It’s important to not put the bag back in the fridge but instead let it sit out at room temperature for an hour and flip the bag every 15 minutes to ensure the marinade soaks evenly.
A big key as though is to not put it back in the fridge. Public health folks would be like wait, man, you can’t leave me out. Yes, you can restaurants do it all the time. You have vinegar in there. You have salt in there and nothing’s going to grow in there while you’re letting it sit for an hour. You’ve got protection because again, that thing is saturated with anti-microbials and other bonuses, right? So we’re going to let that sit out on the counter. Purposely start to raise that chilly temperature up toward room temperature again restaurants do this all the time. You may not know that. After an hour goes by throw that meat on the grill.
Preheating the grill to a high temperature and searing the meat before cooking at lower temperature helps to retain moisture and flavor. This initial searing process creates a crust that locks in juices and flavor.
Preheating is important. You don’t want to let the meat slowly heat up, you want that thing to be hot, I’d say you know, maybe four to 500 degrees or so. Sear the meat. After searing lift the lid of the grill and keep it open. Continue cooking the meat there one thing you don’t want to flip it constantly kind of let it cook for two or three minutes per side. What I found is when the lid is down on the grill, you’re over cooking and it ends up getting to 600 degrees and it just it just dries the crap out of it and gets a rubbery and gross.
How to Test Meat for Doneness
One of the keys to getting the perfect cooked meat is to test it for doneness. While many people rely on timers and thermometers to determine when their meat is cooked, there is another technique that uses the thumb and finger muscles. Simply press together the fleshy area between your thumb and forefinger; this is what a rare steak feels like. Now touch your thumb to your index finger; this is what a medium-rare steak feels like. Thumb to middle finger is medium, thumb to fourth finger is medium-well, and thumb to pinky finger is well done.
Marinating meat can turn a bland and tough piece of meat into a delicious and tender meal. By using these simple tips and tricks, you can become an expert in marinating meat and create a wide range of dishes that will be enjoyed by family and friends alike. So why not give it a try today and see the difference it can make for yourself?