Recently, when I attended a meeting of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (the Beef Checkoff people) in Chicago (#LivingWell), I learned some tricks I wish I’d known when I was first learning to cook.
I’ve always had the notion that a marinade or dry rub would compete with the natural flavor of a good piece of meat. Now, having tried some marinades and rubs at home, it turns out, they really augment the flavor of the meat, making it better than it would have been on its own. I’m a convert now. I just wish I’d known about the art of the marinade or rub earlier in my culinary life!
Here are the general marinating rules to live by, including recipes, provided by the Association:
- Always marinate in the refrigerator and never at room temperature.
- Allow ¼ – ½ cup of marinade for every pound of beef.
- Marinade in a food-safe plastic bag or in a non-reactive container such as glass or plastic. Turn or stir the beef occasionally to allow even exposure to the marinade.
- Before cooking, remove the beef from the marinade and pat dry with a paper towel to promote even browning and prevent steaming.
- If a marinade is to be used for basting or as a sauce, reserve a portion of it before adding to the beef. Marinade that has been in contact with uncooked meat must be brought to a full rolling boil for at least one minute before it can be used for basting or as a sauce.
And here are general meat rub rules:
- Dry rubs consist of herbs, spices and other dry seasonings.
- Paste-type rubs, which are perfect for roasts, contain small amounts of web ingredients, such as oil, crushed garlic or mustard.
- Rubs can be applied just before cooking or up to 2 hours in advance and refrigerated until cooking time.
- Combine the rub ingredients and apply evenly to all sides. Cook beef to desired doneness.
When you Need Flavor Only
If you just want to add flavor and have some time (15 minutes-2 hours), use a marinade or rub that are purely about the flavor without the need to tenderize.
½ cup red currant jelly, warmed
½ cup fresh lime juice
¼ cup chopped seeded jalapeno peppers
2 TBS chopped fresh cilantro
1 tsp salt
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ tsp. ground allspice
2 TBS finely ground espresso coffee beans
1 TBS garlic pepper
2 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp ancho chili powder
Apply the rub just before cooking or up to 2 hours ahead, refrigerated until cooking time. Apply the rub evenly to all sides.
If you want wonderful flavor but you also have a tougher piece of meat that needs some help, you have to do a marinade only (not rub) that has the addition of an acidic ingredient (like lemon juice) or natural enzymes (like ginger or pineapple). You’ll also need at least 6 hours. This is not the meal to take on at 5:00pm when you’ve just gotten home and need to make something quick! But it is a great thing to plan ahead for and get started from the night before.
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 TBS fresh lemon juice
2 TBS honey
1 TBS minced garlic
2 tsp minced fresh ginger
1 tsp freshly grated lemon peel
2/3 cup Italian dressing
2 TBS coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1 TBS chili powder
* For the meeting, travel expenses and accommodations were paid for by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. However, Courtney’s opinions and choice of information to present are her own.