Sunday, September 1, 2013

Three Bulletproof Marinades

Over the past few years, I've tried dozens and dozens of marinades.  I rarely made the same one twice.  95% of the time, any marinade is better than no marinade.  But is any particular marinade worth the effort?  I've taken all of them out of my repertoire, except these three.

The Good is stupid easy and works on everything.  It violates the spirit of this blog (everything from scratch) but once in a while I cheat. I used it this past weekend as we marinated meats and veggies for kebabs (Mom's birthday).  One container had beef and chicken, one container had shrimp, and one container had red potatoes/bell peppers/vidalia onion/cherry tomatoes/pineapple.  We marinated overnight, and it was incredible.  And this marinade went on everything and made everything taste fantastic.

The Better is almost as easy, although I've only ever used it on chicken.  It's more of a wet rub than a true marinade: it imparts flavor really quickly, and I've never left the meat in for more than an hour or so.  We used it tonight on grilled chicken fettuccine Alfredo (pasta makers are really fun).  We frequently buy a big pack of chicken legs / thighs from Meijer for cheap, give them a quick rub in this, and throw them in the oven on a drying rack/cookie sheet. I bet it would be good on beef, but we so rarely have beef that I’ve not tried it.

The Best is an Odor family legend. It tastes awesome, but I rarely make it because the Good and Better are pretty solid and they're easier. Less measuring, and cheaper ingredients. But if you want to spare no expense of time or budget, try this out.

Good Marinade (Beef, Chicken, Pork, Veggies, anything else)
  • Ingredients: Italian Dressing & A1 Steak Sauce
  • Steps: Put meat in large ziplock bag.  Add Italian Dressing to coat.  Add steak sauce.
  • Hint: I’d guess a 5-to-1 Italian-to-A1 ratio.  Try it a couple of times, you’ll figure it out quickly.
Better Marinade (Chicken and ???)
  • Ingredients: Olive oil, kosher salt, italian seasoning, minced garlic
  • Steps: Put a single piece of chicken in a bowl, coat in olive oil, then liberally cover one side with other three ingredients.  Rub to mix and cover, set aside, add next piece of chicken to bowl, and repeat.  Add more ingredients as needed.
  • Hints: Don't be stingy with the salt, garlic, or herbs.  We usually go pretty easy on salt, but this is a place to use it.  Most will cook off anyway (that's what I tell myself, at least). Hypothetically this should work well with a different spice mix if you don't have Italian, but why mess with perfection?
Best Marinade (Everything)
  • 3/4 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
    1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  1. Mix.
  2. Put meat in marinade.  For large amounts of meat, double or triple recipe.

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