How to Make a Marinade
Grilling Gals Summer Series is back with all the information you need about how to marinate your beef, chicken, fish and pork before it goes on the grill. Marinading is one of those words that you hear and you think you know what it means, but do you really? We hear all the time to marinade your chicken wings or breast to get the best moisture and tenderness, but what exactly do you need to make a marinade? We have all the answers right here for you!
A marinate is a simple process of combining oil, flavor and acid to create the perfect tenderization that will last through the grilling process. Below we break down each component so you know exactly how to create the perfect flavor bath for your meal! It’s also important to remember that there is no minimum amount of time for your meat to sit in a marinade. Whether you have your chicken soak in a marinade over night or just have it sit for a few hours both are going to bring multiple layers of deliciousness to your grilling.
3 Components of a Marinade:
This category is easy, avocado oil or olive oil are the two healthiest and most common oils for a marinade. The oil helps to transfer flavor into the meat as well as help retain moisture when grilling. No one likes a dried out chicken after it’s been pulled off the grill. Adding the oil will ensure that you have a juicy bite each time.
Herbs, spices & sweetness are what bring your marinade to the next level and really give you the creative outlet you are looking for. Whether you go light with cilantro or bold with a rosemary you cannot go wrong with the plethora of options out there. Don’t forget that simple salt and pepper add to your marinade and help bring balance from each of the components.
This is the part of the marinade that is my favorite, there are so many ingredients that are considered an acid. The acid in the marinade helps break down and tenderize the meat and allow the flavor to penetrate deeply and give you layers of flavor.
- Many kinds of vinegar (apple cider, balsamic, red wine)
- Any citrus (lemon, lime, grapefruit, orange)
- Greek yogurt
A very simple and delicious combination of these is cilantro and lime. Combining these in a blender with oil, and salt and pepper can add such huge flavor to the chicken.
Here are other great flavor combos:
- Oil, thyme, honey, red wine vinegar
- Oil, rosemary, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar
- Oil, mint, lime
- Oil, greek yogurt, lemon, mint, dill, parsley
- Oil, ginger, garlic, lime
- Oil, tajin, lime
- Oil, white wine, lemon juice, garlic, parsley
- Oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, oregano
When thinking about amounts of each component to add to a marinade always keep in mind that you never want to use too much acid. It’s safe to use the 3:1 ratio oil to acid and equal amounts of acid and flavor. Start with your oil and flavor and add acid last along with your salt and pepper, taste as you go to make sure the flavor is just to your liking!
Now that you know how to make a great marinade here are some sides to go with your protein:
Chicken Bacon Ranch Potato Salad
Greek Pasta Salad with Lemon Herb Tahini Dressing
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cilantro lime marinade
- Bunch of cilantro, diced
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- Combine all ingredients in a blender or with an immersion blender to break down the cilantro.
- Pour marinade over 1-2 lbs of chicken in a ziplock bag or in a pyrex dish and then place in the fridge to marinade for at least 1 hour but preferably overnight.