Basics of marinades
- By Tom Jackson
- Dec 7, 2022
Creating flavor isn’t always as simple as sprinkling salt and pepper on a piece of meat and throwing it on the grill. Sometimes you desire extra flavor, and you need it quickly. This is when our experts at ATBBQ will use a marinade to get maximum flavor in minimal time. We have found that marinades are especially effective on thin, flat pieces of meats that easily take on flavor such as thinner beef cuts, poultry, or fish filets.
When you combine an acidic component, oil, and seasonings to a solution to soak meat in, you create a marinade. The acid will create a more tender texture and add a tangy or fruit flavor on the outer portions of the meat and the oil will hold seasonings on the outside as well and add flavor. In the meantime, salt is also penetrating the meat and breaking down proteins and will add moisture through osmosis much like a brine. Because you are using acid to quickly alter the composition of the outside of the meat, you don’t want to use it for longer periods of time like you would a brine, however.
Flavor cannot get into meat as deep because it has no way to penetrate. Instead, it will build up on the outside and shows up in every bite on a thinner cut. This is where a marinade shines and it is great to use when you have limited time and still want to maximize flavor. Marinades often blend many seasonings together creating a more complex flavor profile. Oil is added to hold the seasonings on the meat and the fat in the oil also works to amplify the flavor of your food as well. To get the best results, you will want to adjust your soaking time to match the size and thickness of the meat you are preparing. Thinner cuts may need 15-20 minutes while a thicker piece may require several hours.
Yes! Marinades are a great way to create complex flavors with your meat, so no meal must be boring. There’s also not a lot of effort in marinating, you just create your solution and drop the meat into it and then let it sit while you do other things. We’ll often place our food in the marinade while we are preparing our grills, or for larger pieces of meat, we will prepare the marinade in the morning and soak while we are working and come back to it later in the evening. If there’s little effort and high flavor, we can do that!
3. Cast Iron Pan
You can cook much more than just T-bone steaks and pork chops on a grill. With this 12" Lodge cast iron skillet, you can saute, sear or stir fry, and you can do it anywhere on any kind of grill. If you're new to cast iron, check out our guide to caring for cast iron and our 5 everyday cooking applications.
Our staff is filled with home cooks who use our products every day and would be happy to answer your questions.
Go and marinade that meat!
Some of our favorite marinating accessories