Barbecue is as American as apple pie. It's aroma evokes memories
of baseball games, swimming and family vacations. Mouths water
when the grill is fired up. Preparing meat for the barbecue
is just as important as the cooking itself. Marinating infuses
flavor into the meat, ensuring a delicious family meal that
will not be easily forgotten.
is the process of steeping meat in a mixture of an acid (i.e.
vinegar, lemon juice, or wine) and spices (i.e. salt, pepper,
and herbs.) The acid tenderizes the meat causing it to hold
more liquid, making it juicier and more flavorful. Care must
be taken when making the marinade, as too much acid will toughen
the meat. When marinating poultry, poke holes in the meat
with a fork, or use a needle injector. Removing the skin allows
the marinade to fully penetrate the meat. (Leaving the skin
on compromises the flavor.) Poultry can be refrigerated in
a covered container for up to 2 days in a marinade. (Meat
should always be covered in the refrigerator.) The time for
marinating depends on the size of the pieces as well as the
kind of meat. Chicken breast takes longer than steak because
it is firmer. To reduce the amount of time needed for marinating
cut the meat into smaller pieces. You can also pound chicken
flat to cut time.
are a variety of containers appropriate for marinating. Metal,
plastic, and glass bowls all work. My favorite containers,
however, are plastic bags. When a bag is used a smaller amount
of marinade is needed because the air can be squeezed out.
The meat is covered completely which allows for the flavors
to be infused more quickly and evenly. Plus, the bag can be
tossed when the job is done, making clean-up fast and easy.
are a few safety tips to remember when marinating poultry,
meat and seafood. Raw meat and fish contain juices which may
harbor harmful bacteria. To avoid contamination never reuse
a marinade. Do not reuse containers without carefully washing
them with dish soap. Donít marinate meat past the grocerís
"use-by" date. And finally, always marinate in the refrigerator--never
at room temperature.
Chicken Marinade Place 2 lbs. sliced chicken in a plastic
bag. Add 8 oz. Italian dressing, the juice of 1 fresh lemon,
a few turns of fresh pepper, and a little salt. Marinate a
few hours in the refrigerator. Remove from the bag and place
on a heated grill. During the last few minutes of grill time,
lay thin slices of lemon over the chicken. Serve the grilled
chicken with a small amount of the unused Italian dressing.
Emma Snow is contributing author and publisher to http://www.bbq-shop.net
an online resource that provides you with information, articles
of interest related to barbecues and Gourmet Living http://www.gourmet-living.com