Let’s face it, folks, sometimes your food just needs a little more TLC before it’s ready for the grill or smoker. Marinades, Brines, and Rubs are the perfect picker-upper and let’s chat with each one and why it does so much for these types of foods.
Marinades are at their essence flavor-infused liquids. We often add herbs, condiments, spices, and oils. Great Marinades typically include some sort of acid like lime juice, wine or vinegar. When you add sweet components (cola, brown sugar), this can help to form a more caramelized, crispy coating that we are accustomed to seeing on grilled meats.
It is always recommended to refrigerate while marinating. If you are wanting a sauce, reserve some of the marinades before adding the meat. That way when if you like to baste the meat while grilling, you don’t contaminate the food. Always, remember do not baste or coat grilled meats with anything until the last three minutes of cooking so you can prevent burning.
Brines are a salty solution that you immerse proteins in that helps leaner meats retain their moisture so they can stay moist during the cooking process.
Poultry is the most popular protein in the brine game, other lean meats like pork that tend to go dry on high heat cooking methods like grilling are perfect for this application. You can add the flavor by adding sugar, spices, and herbs.
When you are brining it is important to choose a container that is large enough to submerge the protein completely without having it float in the solution. Always brine in the refrigerator.
Before you grill, rinse the meat so you can remove any excess salt and pat it down with paper towels.
Rubs are highly flavored seasoning mixtures that are rubbed on meats before grilling and smoking that help delivery a spicy or a smoky flavor. The rubs that we love enhance the flavor of the meat without overtaking the actual taste of the protein. Ideally, these rubs are made from a blend of strong and mild spices and herbs.
You can incorporate oil or another wet ingredient and that transforms a dry rub into a wet rub. This will help the spice mixture adhere to the meat.
Using rubs is an easy way infuse your grilled proteins with new and exciting ethnic flavors, such as Indian, Cajun, Korean etc.
For best results rub the meat and allow the rub to sit for at least 30 minutes to overnight for maximum penetration.