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Author Topic: Marinades  (Read 1588 times)

Norfolk Newby

  • Joined Aug 2009
  • West Norfolk, UK
« on: June 14, 2011, 09:54:44 am »
I am not sure if this should come under recipes or food processing but here goes.

If you want to improve a piece of meat, try putting it in a bowl of flavoured liquid called a marinade. The meat can then stay there - in the fridge - for a few days.

Done well, this has the effect of tenderising the meat and adding new flavours. Now your meat may not need this treatment but a piece of supermarket pork from an animal which has grown quickly and has little fat can seem like chewing tasteless rubber when eaten.

So, what goes into a marinade?

You start with a liquid. I have used beer, cider, cold tea (no milk) or Coca Cola. The alcohol content of the beer etc. should be low so dilute it with water to about twice the original volume. The reason is that strong alcohol draws water from the meat and can make it tough. The same thing applies to salt. It might seem wrong but no salt is best.

After that add flavours such as herbs and spices. I like using rosemary, bay leaves, Chinese five spice, cardamom and/or chilli flakes but be selective. You can mix these flavours but don't go overboard and add too many flavours or the result can be a muddy taste.  You can add sugar, molasses, or any unrefined dark sugar but a small warning. The sugar can burn to give a bad taste if the meat is cooked at too high a temperature. Moderate the temperature and length of cooking if you have added sugar to the marinade.

Using these ingredients and letting meat soak for 1 to 2 days gives it a taste more like game (venison or pheasant) when cooked. It will not be the same as game but more of a game taste. I like to do this with supermarket meat such as pork or beef but other meats can be used. However, try to think ahead about the result. Lamb already has a distinctive flavour which would be spoilt if you used other strong flavours in the marinade.

If you put the meat in a freezer bag and place the meat and bag in a bowl, you need less liquid than if the meat was placed directly in a bowl. Turn the meat several times during the time it is in the marinade to ensure all of it is treated to the same extent.

I haven't tried marinading fish but can't see why this wouldn't work. However, white fish has a very delicate flavour which would probably be lost. Fish like mackerel and herring with a stronger flavour would probably work better. I wouldn't leave the fish in the marinade for more than a few hours as a first try.

I hope this story is interesting. I would like to know how you get on and what you find works best as a marinade.

Novice - growing fruit, trees and weeds


  • Joined Sep 2009
  • Wales
Re: Marinades
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2011, 10:43:43 am »
If you marinade fish in lemon juice or vinrgar based marinade then it actually has a cooking effect on the flesh

Fowgill Farm

  • Joined Feb 2009
Re: Marinades
« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2011, 11:49:21 am »
My bestest marinade is for lamb.

Butterfly a leg of lamb, remove any bone, excess sinew and fat.
Marinade for minimum 2hrs but long as you can upto 24hrs is better. (usually do mine for about 6 or 7 hrs)
Use 8 tablepsoons balsamic vinegar, 2 mushed cloves of garlic, grind of black pepper, 8 tablespoons of sunflower oil, couple strips mint shredded, 2 tablespoons brown sugar. Mix these altogether in a tupperware or bowl big enough to take the lamb whole, plonk in the lamb & cover. Turn every couple of hours. Smells delish!
To cook we do ours on the BBQ (could do it in Hot oven), 30 mins each side this makes it well done and we baste with left marinade as we go, the balsamic and sugar make it go all sticky and crusty, watch out for flames from lamb fat (hence it being trimmed at start), we serve it with new pots and green salad and a good bottle of red wine. Enjoy. Cheers.
Mandy  :pig:


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