Currently viewing the tag: "marinade"

by Ava Morlier, Culinary Arts Writer

Tired of the basic BBQ sauce to flavor your cut of meat? Dry rubs drying out your food? Try making today’s recipe: a marinade! Though it is an extra step to flavoring your preferred cut of meat, marinades are useful for more than just flavoring meat. Marinades act as great tenderizers, cut down on cooking time, and ensure the cut of meat is juicy. How do marinades work? Well, a basic marinade consists of three parts: acid/enzymes, oil, and seasonings. Acids and enzymes do most of the heavy lifting when it comes to breaking down your meat so that it’s tender. Acids cause the proteins within the meat to unwind, causing the meat to become more tender. However, acid is very strong, so when making a marinade with an acid (like the one in the recipe below), make sure to marinate the meat for less time (or use an oil to slow down the process). You can use citrus juices, vinegars, and even alcohol to get the job done.

Unlike acids, enzymes break down the proteins in meat to tenderize. This means that it takes less time to tenderize the meat. Just be careful about how long you let your meat tenderize in an enzyme-based reaction: it can turn your meat into jelly!

Where can you find such enzymes? The main enzyme, protease, can be found in a variety of fruits (mainly raw pineapple, honeydew melon, kiwi, figs, and papaya). You can also use yogurt or buttermilk to break down your cut of meat. The combination of low acidity, enzymes, and fat make a fantastic element to any marinade (with the low acidity meaning the marinade isn’t as harsh, and the natural incorporation of fat giving the meat flavor).

Now, for the second part: oil/fat. Fat gives the marinade flavor and prevents it from sticking to a cooking surface. Any type can be used: canola, olive, or peanut; or use other sources of fat: mayonnaise, margarine (like today’s recipe), or buttermilk.

Finally, the seasonings. Though the fat does provide some flavor, seasonings finish off the marinade with spice. Use any dry spice or herb desired. Need to incorporate salt? Use a salt-infused liquid, like Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce. Using liquid allows the meat to become juicer; the use of dry salt will dry out your cut of meat. You can also incorporate an element of sweetness into the meat with the use of honey, maple syrup, or molasses.

Want to make your own marinade? Keep in mind to use one part acid or enzymes to three parts oil, plus seasonings.

How should you marinate your meat? Primarily, use one cup of marinade to one pound of meat. Make sure to completely submerge the meat in the marinade, and let marinate in the refrigerator in a non-reactive sealable container (such as a plastic container or zip-top bag). Want to make sure the marinade penetrates every inch of the meat? Pound the meat with a meat tenderizer or meat mallet so that it is nice and thin. The thin meat means more surface area to penetrate.

Not all meat is equal! Marinade times differ depending on the meat. Fish requires about 30 minutes to marinate (thanks to its thin shape), while pork and chicken can take anywhere from 2 hours (for acid based marinades) to 12 hours, and beef and lamb can take anywhere from 3-24 hours. Confusing? Feel free to use a recipe to marinate your preferred cut of meat; it will provide guidance for the best time to marinate based on ingredients and meat used.

Don’t just stop at meat to use marinades. Marinate vegetables for a flavor pick-me-up! Today’s marinade recipe utilizes vinegar for acid (as well as a delicious tangy flavor), margarine for fat, and a combination of spices for flavor (hot sauce for a kick of spiciness, Worcestershire for salt, and black pepper and garlic salt for spice-based flavor). Enjoy the tangy and spicy flavors of this marinade (or have fun making your own)!

Hot & Tangy Chicken Marinade


⅔ cup water

⅔ cup white wine vinegar

1 tbsp. black pepper

2 tbsp. garlic salt

2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 tbsp. hot sauce

3 tbsp. margarine or butter, melted

4 (10 ounce) bone-in chicken breast halves

Tools Needed

Dry and liquid measuring utensils, spoon, large zip-top plastic bag or plastic sealable container.


Combine water, vinegar, pepper, salt, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and butter in a zip-top plastic bag or plastic sealable container. Shake to mix well.

Add chicken, seal well, and place on the bottom-most compartment of the refrigerator for 4 hours.

Take out and set aside. Discard liquid. Grill, bake or saute until the middle is no longer pink and serve!

*With credit to Marinade information credit to the articles “How to Marinate Meat, Chicken, Seafood and Vegetables” by Carl Hanson and the allrecipes editors on and “The Science of Marinades” by Catherine Hu on; recipe credit to Wendy Shirley’s Vinegar Grilled Chicken recipe on

by Buck Reed

Vegetables On The Grill

Summertime means it is time to get out of the kitchen and start cooking outdoors, that is get out of the kitchen once you prep all the food for the grill. Steaks, ribs, burgers, and leg of lamb are easily the stars of the glorious stage that is flame, but don’t overlook the supporting cast of side dishes. Now is the time to think about vegetables on the grill.

Right off, grilling vegetables is a fantastic method of preparing them. The heat from a grill will give them an enriched flavor that other cooking methods cannot duplicate. The higher heat will also quickly caramelize the natural sugars in veggies giving them a pleasing flavor. It is not uncommon for someone who turns their noses up to eggplant or zucchini to appreciate them when served off the grill.

First, we have the easy vegetables, corn on the cob and potatoes are the more common vegetables you will find at a cookout. Corn is an easy preparation, just pull back the husk remove the silk tie it back up in the husk and soak in water over night. Potatoes you need to scrub them clean poke with a fork in a few places and wrap in foil. You can do make this work with a baking potato or go wild and work it the same way with a sweet potato. It will also help if you have a fancy but simple compound butter to serve it with. Like most cooking the experience is in the details.

Another great vegetable that screams summer freshness is spring or green onions. Like most vegetables, this dish can be propelled to culinary greatness by a marinade. “Propelled to culinary greatness”…..I am such a hack! Just mix some olive oil with some lemon juice, salt and pepper, garlic, and some herbs. Place the marinade over the vegetable, cover and refrigerate at least overnight.

Then there are the smaller vegetables, sliced peppers, mushrooms, yellow squash, and zucchini. Most people will try to thread these on a skewer, but I prefer a grill basket. Just drain the marinade off and toss them around in the heated basket till they are done. This also works well with shrimp and such. If you are going to use skewers it is better to thread them on two skewers. You will be able to turn them easier and you may have fewer pieces falling off in a sacrifice to the grill gods.

Preparing extra vegetables for the grill is never a bad idea either. You can plan whole meals around these morsels. They can be added to pasta or salad dishes, or you can build a soup out of them.

But my all-time favorite is eggplant. Once marinated and grilled it is a whole new flavor for your plate that most will find very pleasing. I always grill extra to make caponata, a Sicilian dish made with red wine vinegar, olive oil, peppers, capers, garlic, and herbs. Recook them quickly with those ingredients and keep in a covered jar in your refrigerator.

Pull them out and add them to any Italian style cold sandwich you are making. It is a game changer for any antipasti plate you might want to make down the road.

By all means, put more than a little effort into your steak or other proteins you plan to serve but do not think of the vegetables as a throw away dish. As with most things a little bit of attention here could make you the neighborhood grill master or mistress.