There are a lot of things that make a slice of meat taste just right. The cut, the chef’s techniques and the ingredients used in the recipe. One thing that we may overlook is the marinating process. It can take your meat from just basic to restaurant level good.
However, are you doing it the right way? Cross these mistakes out of your routine and you will likely see a change in the taste of your meat.
1. Marinating and then freezing
Whether you are marinating meat for Shawarma or a nice steak, be sure to keep it from freezing. The acid in a marinade, whether from lemon juice or vinegar or wine works to be breakdown tissue.
This allows for more moisture to be absorbed and gives you a juicier, tender end product. However, if you marinate the meat and then freeze it, the acid will turn the outer liar mushy and leave you with a poor piece of meat to work with.
2. Too much acid
Acid is the super star in many marinades. But too much of a good thing can be bad. If your marinade contains too much acid, it will break down the meat whether it is frozen or not.
Marinades can also be made using ingredients such as pineapple, ginger or pawpaw. While some of them may not be acidic, they do contain enzymes that help to break down meat so you shouldn’t let your meat sit in them too long either.
3. Too much salt
No salt can render food almost inedible, too much salt and you have the same result. In a marinade, it is better to err on the side of little to no salt. Salt pulls moisture out of flesh so you could wind up with a tough and dry piece of meat. Add salt while cooking instead.
4. Too little flavour
If you go with just one garlic clove and just a sprinkling of black pepper, you may not end up where you wanted to be with the flavour. The point of the marinade is to tenderise the meat but also to give it a flavour that will make it taste delicious.
If you are following a recipe, use the ingredients in the quantities directed. And if you are experimenting, start off with a small batch for a smaller quantity of meat and adjust from there. It would be a pity to marinate your dish for 24 hours only for it to come out tasting bland.
Which brings us to time.
5. You’re getting the timing wrong
Some chefs prefer to marinate their meats for as long as 24 hours in the refrigerator. Some will do it for a maximum of 1 hour and others for 30 minutes. No matter what you are cooking, it is important to give the marinade enough time to transform your meat into a delicious dish you and those you are cooking for will enjoy.