Getting the most flavor from your meats

Holland, Mich. (WZZM) - During the winter time, many of us look forward to the days when the sun is shining, the air is warm and we can grill outside.

So, looking ahead to those days, if you need some new ideas to get the most flavor out of the meats you cook outdoors, Chef Len shows you the difference between brines, marinades and rubs.

Click on the video link to watch the segment. The recipes are below.

- What it is: A salt-based solution that adds juiciness to proteins with a tendency to dry out on the grill. Depending on the ingredients, brines can also impart subtle flavors.
- Works best with: Poultry, pork, hearty fish like catfish or salmon

The ultimate basic brine:
1. Boil 2 quarts of water.
2. Add 1 cup of kosher salt and 1 cup of dark brown sugar and dissolve. Add the rest of the water and let cool to room temperature.
3. Add your protein, making sure it is completely covered by the solution, and refrigerate. A smaller piece of meat will brine in 30 minutes; a whole turkey can soak for 12 to 24 hours. Your protein is brined when its looks plump and full. But be careful: Over-brining can cause your meat to be too salty.

- What it is: A mixture of an acid (vinegar, citrus, white wine) and a base (oil, full-fat yogurt, honey) that adds intense flavors. Marinate if you're looking for strong flavors.
- Works best with: Beef, lamb, pork, poultry, shellfish, vegetables

The ultimate basic marinade:
1. In a small bowl combine ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, ¼ cup toasted sesame oil, 1/8 cup unseasoned rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce, 1 tablespoon Thai chili-garlic sauce (Sriracha), ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, the zest of 1 lemon, 3 to 5 cloves of garlic, grated, and 1 small knob of fresh ginger, grated. Mix to combine.
2. The marinade will keep, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Marinate meat for a minimum of 30 minutes to a maximum of overnight for best results. Over-marinated meat will soften become mushy because the acid will break down the fibers of the food.

- What it is: A dry mixture of salt, pepper, dried herbs, and spices that you use to flavor the food before cooking. Use rubs to add flavor and texture-the seasoning helps to form a crispy crust.
- Works best with: Beef, lamb, pork, poultry, shellfish

The ultimate basic marinade:
Take a quarter cup of whole black peppercorns and toast them in a skillet until aromatic, about 3 to 5 minutes over medium-high heat. Grind the peppercorns and combine with a half cup of kosher salt. Season your meat with the rub 15 to 20 minutes before cooking.


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