To marinate or not?
The 4th of july weekend is around the corner and charred meat, macaroni salad, berry pie and of course beer will be own our porch table. If the meal looks similar in your neck of the woods you might struggle with a question whether to marinade the hunk of meat or not?
Many people still think that marinating is tenderizing meats which is only partly the truth.
Certain fungi, plant enzymes and acids do break down muscle, connective proteins in meats and fish. For example papaya contains papain and pienapple contain bromelain. It is available in powdered, refined form commerically. You can use fresh fruits also but don’t use canned products because they won’t work.
These enzymes have the capapbility to “destroy” the connective tissue of the meat hence it will not hold its natural juices as much anymore, resulting in a mushy, drier piece of meat. Therefore use marinades to give flavor not to tenderize. It is the cooking process which will give meat its texture.
BBQ pork belly with caramelized endive and cherries - first brined then roasted and the last minute brushed with a bbq sauce
A few tricks I recommend
- brine your meat (which is a form of marinating). A rule of thumb is to brine for 1-2 hours per inch of meat. Simply mix 1 cup of Kosher salt with 1 gallon of water. Make sure you refrigerate the meat during brining. This will lock the natural juices in.
- flavor meats with a marinade instantly just a few minutes before it is grilled versus long time marinating. This will require a lower grilling temperature otherwise the meat will be heavely charred before it’s done. If you decide to slow cook your meat the tenderizing enzymes act in a temperature zone of 140°F – 175°F and deactivate at boiling point (212°F)
- do not marinate with raw wine, cognac or others it will “burn” your meats. Bring it to boil for one minute which will burn off the alcohol. Make shure you cool the liquid before adding the meat.
- when marinating with oils, herbs, vegetables or such be sure to wip it off before the meat is grilled othervise it will burn instantly.
- another way of tenderizing is with a Jaccard which is a handheld tool with many little blades with which you break down the connective tissue of meats instantly by puncturing the meat in a controlled way.
- use your marinade just before the meat is ready by brushing it on the meat so to give flavor and heat up but do not burn.
BBQ Bershire pork ribs & Belize shrimp with potato confit and cucumber ribbons
The ribs are brined then cooked for 10 hours, five minutes before serving I brushed the ribs with a bbq sauce.