As summertime finally arrives, so too does the barbecue season! All sorts of mouth-watering foods will soon be cooked over the coals and enjoyed alongside summer salads. Yet, when it comes to barbecuing your favourite meats, all sorts of questions arise: Should I buy meat already marinated or reach for the brush myself? Which marinade goes best with which type of meat? How do you make a marinade, anyway? Read on to find out everything you need to know about marinating meat, and discover just how easy it can be…
Like so many things in life, when it comes to barbecuing, tastes can differ wildly: there are those who like to go for pre-marinated meat, those who prefer to marinate their own meat, and those who like to put the meat on the barbecue with nothing more than a little salt and pepper as seasoning – preferring to add a splash of something tasty later on. However, there’s a lot to be said in favour of a good homemade marinade.
To start with, when buying meat, you will only be able to tell if it’s really fresh if it’s unmarinated. Marinades conceal the natural odour of the meat as well as its true colour, both of which are important in determining how fresh meat is. What’s more, when you create your own marinade, you know exactly what it contains.
When preparing a marinade, there is one thing in particular you must bear in mind: not all marinades go with all types of meat. The recipe below is for a delicious marinade that tastes great with veal, chicken or beef. Why not give it a try yourself?
A simple and delicious meat marinade
Ingredients: 30 g rosemary, 1 chilli pepper, 3g Sansho pepper, 6 fresh coriander leaves, 300 ml sunflower oil
Method: Roughly chop the chilli pepper and the rosemary. Then, place all of the ingredients in a tall container and use a hand blender to blend everything to a fine consistency. Spread the oil and herb marinade onto the meat of your choice and leave it in the refrigerator for about 5 hours, ideally using a rimmed plate (like a pasta plate) or a bowl, so that the meat can fully absorb the marinade.
After about 5 hours, the meat will be perfectly marinated and ready for the barbecue. If need be, you can add a little salt and pepper to the meat at this point. Make sure you only add salt just before placing the meat on the barbecue though, and never add it directly to the marinade as it draws out water from the meat and dries it.
If you’re using chicken, make sure you cook it as soon as you have taken it out of the refrigerator to minimise the risk of salmonella infection. When preparing the chicken, always keep it away from other food and immediately wash all kitchen utensils that have come into contact with it. Beef, on the other hand, can be removed from the refrigerator and brought to room temperature before it is barbecued.
Before placing your meat onto the barbecue, dab off any excess marinade to prevent it from dripping down onto the coals, as this could cause the coals flame up producing high levels of heat that would char the herbs/meat.