Marinated Meat Marvels

The range of meats now on the market is truly astonishing. We’ve gone from a world where your choice was just chicken, lamb, and beef to a world where you can now get things like crocodile, quail, and ostrich - if you know where to look. But it’s not just new meats that are making meat lovers lives better. It’s also the incredible range of marinades that are now available.

One of the reasons that marinades are becoming so popular has to do with the sheer quantity of meat being eaten in some quarters. It’s not usual for people following an ancient or Paleo diet to get through a couple of pounds of meat a day  - usually more. As a result, they’re looking for ways to make meat more palatable and to break down more easily during digestion.

Marinades are essentially a mixture of three essential ingredients: fat, acid, and flavor. Each part of the marinade has a purpose, but perhaps the most important component is the acid. Acid can be provided by anything in your kitchen cupboard that is acidic, like vinegar or citrus fruits. If left in contact with the meat for long enough, it supposedly breaks down some of the tough bonds between the cells in the animal, making it more tender and easier to digest. The marinade can also help to make tough bits of meat more palatable, by breaking down connective tissue.

So what types of marinades are popular at the moment?

Greek-Style Garlic Lamb

Flickr

Unless it’s cooked perfectly, lamb can be a bit of a disappointing meat. But if you get the marinade right, it can be incredible. Make sure you’ve got a good knife, like a Kamikoto, and slice the meat into thin strips. Next whip up a marinade using garlic, oregano, parsley the zest of half a lemon as well as the juice of a whole lemon and extra virgin olive oil. Then put the meat and the marinade in a plastic bag and shake, leaving in the fridge for at least 24 hours to soak in.

French Chicken Marinade

Chicken is one of those notoriously dull meats. But it can soon be spiced up by a quick marinade. To make a French-style chicken marinade, grab some Dijon mustard, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, the zest of an orange, the juice of an orange, some chili powder and some sea salt and pepper to taste. You want about half a cup of olive oil and a quarter cup of balsamic vinegar. The amount of mustard you choose depends on how strong a flavor you want, but a tablespoon should probably suffice. Some chefs recommend marinating the entire bird whole. This helps to seal in the juices and the flavor, but it means that you’ll have to marinate the meat for a good 24 hours at least if you want to experience the maximum benefits.

Thai Marinated Pork

Finally, you can make pork chops delicious with a marinade of half a cup of dry white wine, a tablespoon of ginger, garlic and honey, a chili and a quarter cup of lime juice, seasoned with salt and pepper.


 

Krysten Wasik