According to barbecue pro Chris Lilly, "the key to great barceque is sealing in flavor." One of the best ways to seal in that flavor is to use a marinade. Marinades season your meat or vegetables while locking in moisture. Here are a few tips to getting the most out of your marinade.
Prepare the meat
The smaller and thinner the meat, the faster the marinade will be able to penetrate the meat. Cut your larger pieces of meat into smaller pieces to make sure that every piece gets evenly marinated.
Clear plastic containers or plastic bags are some of the best options for soaking the meat in the marinade. Not only does this decrease the mess, but also by sealing out the air, you actually need less marinade on your meat. You want to make sure that your meat is completely submerged in the marinade, which means that you need about two cups of marinade for every two pounds of meat.
Give it time
As a general rule of thumb, you want to leave your meat immersed in the marinade for at least thirty minutes. Generally, the longer you leave the meat in the marinade, the better the flavor. If you are using beef or any tough cuts, it is recommended to leave it in the marinade overnight. This increased amount of time in the marinade will make your beef incredibly tender. However, while beef is better the longer you leave it in the marinade, chicken can actually be over-marinated. Over-marinated chicken becomes extremely tough and hard to eat.
Once you place your meat on the grill, let the marinade do its work. In order to bring out the full flavor of the marinade on your meat, baste your meat with extra marinade in the last 10 minutes of cooking. However, be careful that you baste your meat with a freshly made marinade instead of using the original marinade. Basting the meat with your original marinade that contains raw meat juices can potentially contaminate your cooked meat.
Marinades give you all sorts of flavor potential with your BBQ. We will share several different recipes on this blog over the next few months to help get you started, but feel free to let your culinary imagination run wild whenever you decide to incorporate a marinade into your meat. If the process seems daunting, start with the prepared marinades in your local supermarket. As you discover what flavors you like the best, you can even try creating one of your own.