Let us create a 3D eBook for you!
Let us create a 3d Digital eBook for you! DigyCat.com

The Art of the Marinade


It's a sad fact that these days it has become almost essential to marinade most cuts of meat, unless you intend to casserole them.

I'll go into why that is the case a bit later on, but for the time being let's just examine why we use marinades at all.

Principally there are two reasons. One is to add flavor, and the other is to tenderize. Usually, we are trying to do both.

It's worth bearing in mind that marinating is a cooking process, even though heat is rarely applied. The importance of recognizing this is that, like any other cooking process, you can overdo it.

It's not just a case of putting the meat or fish in a sauce and leaving it there until you are ready to use it. Many of the fruit juices we use in marinades, such as lemon and pineapple, contain enzymes that break down proteins. In essence, what they do is digest them.

Leaving meat in them for too long would result in an unpalatable mush. If you want to try this for yourself, leave a piece of pork in fresh pineapple juice overnight and then see what happens when you cook it.

You probably won't like the result.

Why is meat tough?

It's a tragedy that although we are killing our animals at an earlier age in order to satisfy the demand for fresh meat, the end product still tends to be tough.

There are good reasons for this and it is useful to have a working knowledge of them if only to avoid potential disasters.

It is not, as some cooks would have you believe, simply a matter of finding a butcher who will take the trouble to discuss your needs with you, if indeed such a person still exists outside of the more fanciful cookbooks.

Our meat is tough because it started out that way. And here's why (if you are squeamish, skip this section):

When an animal is killed its muscles (protein) go into spasm caused by the injection of the well-known fight or flight chemicals released by the brain.

Under normal conditions, that is to say in the natural world, this would be followed by rigor mortis setting in, followed by a gradual relaxing of the proteins back to their normal state.

However because of the speed at which the slaughter and preparation of carcasses is carried out, this vital, natural step is rarely if ever completed. The animal is killed, cooled and frozen in one continuous process.

The result is toughened proteins.

A butcher who hangs his meat can, to some extent, reverse this effect. If you ever find one, hang on to him for dear life. You have found a rapidly disappearing treasure.

The alternative is to use marinades.

Basic principles

Marinades can be wet or dry and you can add just about any flavor you desire to them.

When a marinade is liquid, the base is usually acidic. As I said earlier, this may be fruit juice, but wine, vinegar or even beer may also be used. As a matter of fact I know of one cook who uses Coca-Cola.

If it marinades meat, just think what it's doing to your insides.

Steeping in the marinade may take anything from a few minutes to several hours, and even overnight in the refrigerator.

The more delicate the proteins, though, the more chance there is of overdoing things. Fish, for example, should rarely be in a marinade for more than 30 minutes, particularly if lemon juice is involved (which it usually is).

Red meat, on the other hand, can sit in the refrigerator all night without coming to any harm. So can pork and chicken, providing there are no enzymes present of the type described above.

In other words, if you are using fresh fruit juice, keep the marinating time to a minimum. That is to say, no more than an hour at the outside.

Come to think of it, if either of those meats needs longer than that to tenderize it, it's definitely time to change your supplier.

Caution

Whatever marinade you use, throw away any uncooked portion once you have finished with it. Do not taste it after the meat has been put in it, and do not use it for anything else.

If you want to heat it through to use it as an accompanying sauce, by all means do so, but ensure that it comes to the boil and that it cooks for at least 10 minutes.

Alternatively, heat it in the microwave, which will achieve the same thing in a shorter space of time.

Marinades are the perfect medium for food poisoning bugs to take their vacations in, and when bugs are on holiday they are happy. And when they are happy, they multiply. A bit like us, really.

If in doubt, throw it away.

Copyright Tingira Publishing 2004 All Rights Reserved

Michael Sheridan is an acknowledged authority and published writer on cooking matters. His website at http://thecoolcook.com contains a wealth of information, hints, tips and recipes for busy home cooks.


MORE RESOURCES:

Cooking Tips - Google News

This RSS feed URL is deprecated

This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news

Eating raw oysters could make you sick. How do you prevent this? - Island Packet


Eating raw oysters could make you sick. How do you prevent this?
Island Packet
Oysters that contain harmful bacteria don't look, smell or taste different than any other oysters and, according to the CDC, the only way to kill the bacteria is by cooking them properly. “I've been doing this all my life and we've never had a case of ...

Food In Brief: 01/20/2018 - Traverse City Record Eagle


Food In Brief: 01/20/2018
Traverse City Record Eagle
Text ColorSwatch/NoneStrokeStyle/$ID/Japanese DotsText ColorSwatch/NoneStrokeStyle/$ID/Solid$ID/NothingText ColorText Color$ID/NothingText ColorText Colorm. Feb. 3 at the Hagerty Center. Enjoy demonstrations, cooking tips and samples. People may select ...

DeClutter Coach: How to cook once and eat for days - The Times Telegram


DeClutter Coach: How to cook once and eat for days
The Times Telegram
What are we having for dinner? If you cringe when you hear those words, today's column is for you! There's nothing more stressful than coming home from a long work day and having no idea what to make for dinner. Planning ahead is the answer. It will ...

and more »

Richburg fire marshal offers some tips for cooking fires ... - Chester News


Richburg fire marshal offers some tips for cooking fires ...
Chester News
The Richburg Fire Department responded to two cooking fires Tuesday night, and those two fires were part of a total of four cooking fires across the county, said Richburg Fire Marshal Mike Ehrmanntraut. In the first fire, the homeowner was warming oil ...

and more »

Meal prep made easy: 6 easy tips to become a batch-cooking pro ... - Today.com


Today.com

Meal prep made easy: 6 easy tips to become a batch-cooking pro ...
Today.com
Whether you're expecting a baby soon and want to stock up on easy-to-reheat freezer dinners for when the little one arrives or you just want to make weeknights easier by having an arsenal of meals ready-to-go, you might want to consider devoting an ...

and more »

Your guide to the best in at-home cooking kits - Shreveport Times - Shreveport Times


Shreveport Times

Your guide to the best in at-home cooking kits - Shreveport Times
Shreveport Times
Maybe you have been wanting to learn to cook. Or maybe you are already a cook but want to dabble in different cuisines or using different ingredients. Or maybe you just have been wondering what to do with kale. If any of these situations apply to you ...

and more »

Now we're cooking: Mpls. chef shares her tips for kitchen rookies - Minnesota Public Radio News


Minnesota Public Radio News

Now we're cooking: Mpls. chef shares her tips for kitchen rookies
Minnesota Public Radio News
Cooking at home can be a healthy and fun pursuit, but that doesn't mean it's easy. Many of us find making dinner — or even thinking about making dinner — a little scary. A Food Network survey showed that 28 percent of American's say they cannot cook ...

Classic recipe: Easy chicken Jerusalem - Madison.com


Classic recipe: Easy chicken Jerusalem
Madison.com
Each week, we're pulling a classic recipe out of the State Journal archives and sharing it here as it was originally printed years ago. Remember, ingredients and cooking techniques change over time so you may want to make some adjustments when trying ...

5 Recipe Hacks That Will Change the Way You Make Soup - Shape Magazine


Shape Magazine

5 Recipe Hacks That Will Change the Way You Make Soup
Shape Magazine
Cooking butternut squash and pumpkin and then blending it all up gives you a silky, bright soup packed with flavor and nutrients. You could also try potatoes or parsnips if you're looking for a lighter color or a milder flavor. For smooth and easy ...

LargeFriends.com - the best dating site for plus-sized singles!
SuccessfulMatchCentral.com - the best dating site for plus-sized singles!

PreLaunchX

DietRight.biz Domain Is For Sale - $8,500 For Enquiries eMail Us

© www.DietRight.biz 2012

home | site map | links