by Nancy Sweet, culinary operations manager, Lincoln Land Community College
Father’s Day is fast approaching on June 21, and what better way to have a nice afternoon with dad than making something delicious from the grill? Yes, grilling on Father’s Day might seem like the easy go-to answer, but with the right techniques and recipes, this can really be a great experience. With a little planning, incorporating from scratch marinades and sauces when grilling can really enhance your food.
A marinade is a seasoned liquid that meat is soaked in to impart flavor and tenderize it. Oftentimes, a marinade is fairly simple – just some herbs or seasonings, possibly some acidity, and fat, but it can be more complicated with cooked vegetables, exotic spices and various alcohols. Adding anything that has sugar in it is great for marinating and adding a nice caramelized exterior when cooking, but too much sugar can cause your protein to burn. The marinade can lend certain flavors to the meat, and the acids in it can work to break down connective tissues in the meat and help tenderize it, which results in a juicer piece of cooked meat. However, if the meat stays in the marinade too long, the acid in the liquid can actually over-marinate the meat causing the texture to become mushy or tough. This is especially true for more delicate proteins such as seafood, fish and chicken. For beef, pork, lamb and game, a longer time soaking in marinade is beneficial.
An easy way to marinate is to use re-sealable plastic bags with any extra air squeezed out. This makes for quick clean up and allows for the marinating liquid to completely surround the meat. For portions, a good rule of thumb is about ½ cup of marinade per pound of meat.
- So how long should you marinate meat? Below is a general guide:
- Shellfish, like shrimp and scallops: 15 minutes or less
- Fish: 15 – 30 minutes (closer to 30 for thicker pieces)
- Boneless chicken: 1 – 4 hours
- Bone-in or whole chicken: 2 hours to overnight
- Leaner cuts of lamb, beef or pork (like chops or tenderloin): 1 – 4 hours
- Tougher cuts of lamb, beef, or pork (like flank steak and roasts): 4 hours to overnight
When marinating raw meats, some harmful bacteria can be transferred from the meat to the marinating liquid. For proper food safety, always marinate your food in the refrigerator. Do not use the used marinade liquid to baste the meat as it cooks or to make a sauce. Reserve some of the original unused marinade and use that for basting meat during cooking or to reduce down to make a sauce.
Another great way to enhance flavor when grilling meats is the use of rubs or pastes. A rub is a mixture of fresh or dried herbs and spices and salts that when rubbed all over the meat will create a flavorful crust when grilled. The addition of oil, lemon juice, mustard or some other liquid or moisture turns the rub into a paste. Just slather the rub or paste all over the meat and make sure it adheres. Based on the above guidelines, you can have it “marinate” from 30 minutes to overnight.
Finally, making your own sauce to finish off your masterpiece of grilled meat is great to do. The options are endless from traditional BBQ to a more exotic BBQ sauce to something fruit based or herb infused. If adding your sauce while the meat is still on the grill, apply it once the meat is almost done, just long enough to heat the sauce through but not burn it.
4 sprigs rosemary
4 garlic cloves
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
Mix all ingredients together. Add to plastic resealable bag with meat. Mix around to coat, squeeze out extra air, and allow to marinate for appropriate amount of time. Scrape off marinade before grilling meat.
1 small nub of fresh ginger (about the 2 inches long), skin peeled off and roughly chopped
2 clove garlic
1/4 cup cilantro, stems removed
Juice of 1 lime
1 tablespoon sambal oelek or other Asian chile sauce
2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 can unsweetened coconut milk
In a food processor, combine ginger through brown sugar until just pureed. In a bowl, whisk together ginger mixture with coconut milk. Add to plastic resealable bag with meat. Mix around to coat, squeeze out extra air, and allow to marinate for appropriate amount of time. Scrape off marinade before grilling meat.
All Purpose Dry Rub
Servings vary based on amount of meat used
1/3 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup paprika
1 tablespoon fresh ground pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 tablespoon cayenne pepper
In a small bowl, mix together all ingredients with your fingers to break up any lumps. To use thoroughly apply mixture to meat. Store any unused portion in an airtight container for later use.
To use the All Purpose Rub as a paste, mix in 1 tablespoon salad oil per oil 1 tablespoon of rub. Mix and thoroughly apply to meat.
Balsamic BBQ Sauce
Makes about 2 cups
1 tablespoon salad oil
1/2 red onion, diced (about 1 cup)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1 can crushed tomatoes
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
Heat sauce pan on medium heat with oil. Add onions and cook about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook about another minute. Add tomato paste and fully mix into the onions and garlic. Let cook about 3 minutes, but do not burn. Add balsamic vinegar and let reduce by half, about 4 -5 minutes. Add tomatoes, brown sugar, Dijon mustard, spicy brown mustard, Worcestershire, and salt and pepper. Cook about 15 minutes to let all flavors come together and reduce down, stirring occasionally.
Using an immersion blender or regular blender, blend up BBQ sauce until fairly smooth.
Peach Bourbon BBQ Sauce
Makes about 2 cups
3 tablespoons salad oil
1 large Vidalia onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
4 cups peaches, peeled and sliced (use frozen if not in season)
1/2 cup bourbon
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon chili powder
In a medium sized sauce pan, heat oil on medium low heat, add onions and cook for about 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook for about 1 minute. Turn heat to medium, add peaches and let cook about 5 minutes. Add bourbon and let cook about 1 minute to cook off alcohol. Add remaining ingredients and let simmer about 30 minutes, until thickened. Taste for seasoning for salt and pepper. Using an immersion blender or regular blender, puree until smooth.
Marinated Pork Kebabs with Chimichurri Sauce
2 tablespoons Honey
3 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
Juice of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 orange
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
½ tablespoon salt
½ tablespoon fresh cracked pepper
¾ cup salad oil
2# pork shoulder, cut into cubes
2 large bunches flat leaf parsley, stems removed
3 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup red wine vinegar
Juice of 1 lemon
1 shallot, roughly chopped
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon coarse salt
½ teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
1 cup olive oil
Whisk together first 8 ingredients, honey through pepper. Whisk in oil to emulsify. Toss with cubed pork and coat well. Marinate 4 hours or overnight. Thread onto skewers. Grill over medium heat until cooked through, about 4 minutes per side.
For sauce, add parsley, garlic, vinegar, lemon juice, shallot, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper to a food processor. Process until almost smooth paste. Slowly drizzle in oil while processor is running to emulsify. Season to taste to see if any more salt or pepper needs added. Serve sauce with kebabs.
Want to know more?
Lincoln Land Community College offers associate degree programs in Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management and academic credit certificates in Culinary Arts and Baking/Pastry. For more information call 786-4613 or visit www.llcc.edu/hospitality-culinary-arts.
Cooking or food questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org