If you’re getting ready to fire up your grill for some summertime meals, you might also want to get ready to make yourself some marinades and rubs, too.
Whether you’re craving something that’s a little bit sweet, or a little bit salty, or a little bit spicy — chances are there’s a rub or marinade that can address that desire.
Marinade is typically used to tenderize and add flavor to meat, seafood, vegetables and fruits.
Be sure to marinate meat and seafood separate from fruits and vegetables.
The word marinade comes from the French word, mariner, which means to “pickle in brine.”
Marinade is the liquid used for soaking the foods, and marinate refers to the actual process of soaking the foods.
There are three components to a marinade: acid, flavoring (herbs and spices) and oil.
The most common acids are citrus, tomato juices, and vinegars.
The acid enhances flavors and breaks down the cells of the food, allowing the herbs, spices, and oil to permeate into the food.
The oil moistens the food.
Marinades can tenderize tougher cuts of meat and can add flavor — allowing consumers to stretch food dollars while enjoying meat that can be as flavorful as more expensive cuts of meat.
Some pointers for marinating foods:
- Always be sure to marinate your foods in the refrigerator.
- Tenderizing times vary based on the sizes and cut of the meat (dense meat such as beef, pork or venison can be marinated for up to 24 hours; chicken can be marinated for 2 to 24 hours; seafood, vegetables and fruits need to be marinated from 15 minutes to 60 minutes).
- When food is already tender and you’re just adding flavor, you can marinate it from 15 minutes to 2 hours.
- Do not marinate at room temperature, instead, increase the marinating time in the refrigerator to accomplish the same level of tenderness.
- The general rule of thumb is to use ½ cup of marinade per pound of meat.
- Be sure to marinate your meats, seafood or vegetables in a plastic or glass container or a resealable plastic bag.
Of special note, do not use metal containers to marinate your foods.
The acid can react to the metal and cause toxic metal poisoning or cause the flavor to be off.
What’s rub, here?
Rubs, either wet or dry, also add flavor — but they won’t tenderize food.
Rubs are a blend of herbs, peppers, spices or seasonings that coat the meat’s surface.
Dry rubs have mixtures of several dry herbs and spices and can be salty, savory, herbal, spicy or sweet.
Rubs do not have to be applied in advance, but like marinades they can have an increased effect over time.
It’s up to you. You can apply a rub immediately before cooking, or several hours earlier — refrigerating your food until cooking time.
For food with a dry rub, do not wrap the food in plastic wrap, as that would trap moisture. Instead, use an airtight container in the fridge.
Wet rubs form a paste using some form of a wet ingredient, such as oil, vinegar, beer or other moist ingredients, such as mustard or yogurt.
A web rub is essentially the same thing as a dry rub — with a liquid base.
If you want the dry ingredients to better adhere to the food, use a wet rub.
Be careful when using a sweet-flavored rub because the sugar can easily burn instead of forming that caramelization you want.
For this reason, use low and slow cooking methods for a sweet rub, as sugar can burn above 350 degrees F.
Remember this, too, for the sugars in a wet ingredient like honey or alcohol.
Shari Bresin is the Family & Consumer Science Agent for the University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Cooperative Extension Pasco County.
Marinade Rub Recipes
Courtesy of beefitswhatsfordinner.com:
Simple Southwest Marinade
1/2 cup Italian dressing
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 Tablespoon honey
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Place beef steak(s) and marinade in a food-safe plastic bag; turn steak(s) to coat. Close bag securely and marinate in refrigerator 15 minutes to 2 hours, if steak is tender; 6 hours or overnight for less tender steaks. Turn occasionally.
⅔ cup prepared Italian dressing
2 Tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1 Tablespoon chili powder
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Place beef steaks and marinade in a food-safe plastic bag; turn steaks to coat. Close bag securely and marinate tender steaks in refrigerator for 15 minutes to 2 hours; marinate for 6 hours or overnight for less tender steaks. Turn occasionally.
Smoky Paprika Rub
2 Tablespoons smoked or Spanish paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl; press evenly onto beef steaks.
2 Tablespoons finely ground espresso coffee beans or finely ground regular ground coffee
1 Tablespoon garlic pepper
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon ancho chili powder or regular chili powder
Combine rub ingredients in a small bowl; press generously onto beef steaks.
Published June 21, 2023