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Old 08-29-2007, 03:15 AM   #1
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What are the basics to put in a marinade?

Does it always require oil, or can you just put in seasonings and some sort of acid like vinegar? I'm not sure what is always supposed to go in a marinade. I was thinking it should have oil, acid, seasonings.

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Old 08-29-2007, 06:34 AM   #2
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I don't always use oil when I use, soy , rice wine vinegar, garlic and sugar. I have been marinating, lately in Itl. dressing, soy sauce, garlic, and sugar, very good and simple.
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Old 08-29-2007, 08:55 AM   #3
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One standard is oil, acid and flavorings. e.g. olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, rosemary. black pepper.

Another is dairy based marinade using yogurt or buttermilk with seasonings.

Bottom line - do what you like.
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Old 09-28-2007, 12:06 PM   #4
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You don't have to have oil, but it helps to penetrate the meat with your flavorings and tenderizers. For Mexican style marinaded flank steak, I combine lime juice, chopped fresh cilantro and garlic. It works great.
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Old 09-28-2007, 12:15 PM   #5
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I try to use strong flavors. Smashed cloves of garlic, wine, fresh thyme sprigs, salt, pepper...etc.
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Old 09-28-2007, 12:17 PM   #6
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I use strong flavours as well, but usually yse orange juice as the base.
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Old 09-28-2007, 01:05 PM   #7
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Here is an interesting article explaining why marinating usually flavors, but does not tenderize meat.

Marinades Add Flavor but Don't Always Tenderize - Fine Cooking Article
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Old 09-28-2007, 02:38 PM   #8
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I use yogurt to marinate chicken, beef, lamb and even fish. I leave the meat in the yogurt depending on it's toughness. So a fish will be marinated in a yogurt and spice marinade for an hour before I cook it. Chicken for 6-8 hours and Red meat overnight.

I make beef tikkas on the grill and they use the follwing marinade

1 cup of plain yogurt (thick greek or middle eastern is best)
2 tsp of ginger - ginger has an enzyme just like papaya that breaks away the tough protein so if you add too much the meat will be a mush
Beef - I use an entire round of beef and get it cut into cubes at the butcher
Lots of chilli powder - We like it spicy. You can adjust to your liking
Salt to taste
Freshly chopped cilantro

Make the marinade with yogurt, ginger, salt and chili powder. Taste everything and adjust to your taste. Add a handful of freshly chopped cilantro and pour it over the beef cubes.

Let it marinate overnight (no worries they will not turn into mush, the texture will be perfect).

Skewer and grill and serve with a garlic, cilantro and mint sauce. It's really good
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Old 09-28-2007, 04:37 PM   #9
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IMHO A large majority of marinades are much more effective as flavorers than as tenderizers. Acids that are present in vinegar, citrus juices, wine, whiskey, beer, milk etc. etc etc, have somewhat limited tenderizing effect. The real success in rendering meat tender depends more upon selection, proper cooking methods, and temperatures.
They do work well however to change or disguise the flavor of meat. In other words, if you don't like the taste of what you have, marinate it. If you do, then don't. Just season and baste (if needed) during the cooking process. They do work well on gamey meats, fowl , and fish. Personally, I very seldom find a need to marinate.


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Old 09-28-2007, 05:34 PM   #10
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I love many marinades but particularly Asian ones. These usually include soy, some sesame (or other oil) but it can be excluded, ginger, maybe some vinegar or wine (including mirin), a bit of sugar perhaps, and some cut up scallions.
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