Some cooking methods tend to dehydrate or subjecting the foods at very high temperatures, which could damage their texture or flavor; certain foods, in addition, are quite hard (such as certain cuts of meat), dried, or they need to be deprived of unpleasant aromatic elements (this is the case of game). Marinate foods before cooking is therefore an excellent solution to solve these problems and at the same time to give more flavor to what you are cooking.
The technique of marinade was born in the past with the purpose to avoid that the meat deteriorated. The acid composition of the marinades delayed the bacterial growth and decomposition. Today is the best known technique and in the cooking grilled and in the barbecue is used to treat meat in order to flavour it and make it more tender.
There are many types of marinades for barbecue but basically in all them are present these food categories:
• the acid component: wine, beer, vinegar, mustard, lemon juice or orange, pineapple juice, all liquids that have a sufficient acidity to undermine the proteins of the meat and make it more digestible as well as reduce the carcinogens that the cooking grilled emanates;
• oily component: oil, butter, milk, substances that are meant to act as a vehicle for the flavorings and to keep the meat moist
• the aromatic component: rosemary, thyme, sage, basil, mint, garlic, cumin, chili, pepper, tarragon, fennel seeds or flowers, preferably fresh. All these spices and herbs give that little bit extra that gives more flavor to dishes;
• salt: this element allows to the meat to absorb the flavors of other ingredients and causes the liquids penetrate inside the meat making it softer
You can take a large enough container to hold the marinade and meat. It is possible to use various types of food containers, although it is advisable to use containers of ceramic, glass or porcelain and avoid metal ones, while they can also be used specific plastic bags hermetics for marinades. Always be sure to pour a quantity of marinade sufficient to completely cover the meat and let it marinate for as long as necessary. The marinade must always be carried out at a temperature refrigerator and the container to remain covered or closed. Once the marinade time, you must throw away the mixture and wipe the excess remained by the meat. Do not brush the meat with the remaining marinade because there may be bacterial loads.
The marinade should be performed in the fridge and its duration varies depending on the kind of choice meat, of the degree of acidity of the marinade itself and of the time in which we leave it immersed. It should be remembered that it is always preferable a short marinade to a too long. Being an acidic compound, a too long immersion could bring about release liquids to the meat which then would return to harden.
Some timings depending on the type of food:
• red meat (beef, lamb): 4 to 6 hours
• pork: 2 to 4 hours
• poultrymeat: 2 to 4 hours
• whole fish: 1 or 2 hours
• fish steaks (such as swordfish): from half-hour to an hour
• game: 4-8 hours or even longer, depending on the type of meat.
Before you bring the meat in cooking it is important to make it stand a few minutes at room temperature, making sure to remove all the marinade.