The secret to adding flavours to chicken, pork, beef or fish is marination. Marinades have the power to turn a bland meatloaf into a melt-in-your-mouth dish. They enhance the taste of the meat, make it juicier and tenderer. But, marination is a task that requires skill as you need to know the right proportion and combination of ingredients to prepare the marinade. You must know the right process to treat the meat so that it absorbs all flavours.
Do you want to master the art of marinating meat like the pros of famous catering companies in Toronto? Then here’s a complete guide to marinating meat to make it flavourful, juicy and tender.
Consider the Ratio
The most important trick to ensure great tasting meat is the ratio of the marinade. If the proportion is not perfect, it will affect its consistency. It should be thin enough to penetrate the meat and spread the flavour in every bite you take. Professionals prefer using half a cup of marinade for one pound of meat.
Perfect the Marinade Recipe
There are three basic ingredients to every marinade, oils, acids and seasonings. The combination of oil and acid should be accurate for the best results and the seasoning of fresh herbs is a must to prepare an excellent marinade. Oil is the base of your marinade and sets the tone of your desired flavour whereas acid is a crucial element that can spoil the food if overused. Therefore, use 3 parts oil to 1-part acid, i.e., 3:1. When it comes to herbs, fresh ones are recommended. However, if you’re using dried herbs, then crush them with your fingers before adding them to the marinade so as to release the aromatic flavours.
Marinating Time is Crucial
The marinating time depends on the type of meat, its cut and the type of marinade used. For example, a marinade containing acid, salt or alcohol should not be kept for more than 4 hours as it will chemically cook the food if kept for a long duration. If you’re using a marinade containing citrus juices like lime or lemon, then the ideal time for marination is 2 hours. Marinating the meat for more than 2 hours can change the colour and texture of the meat. However, if you’re marinating without salt, alcohol or acid, then you can leave the meat overnight.
When it comes to the type of meat, the approximate marinating time for fish and shrimp is 15 to 30 minutes, for scallops it is 5 minutes, for chicken it is 2 hours to overnight (boneless, skinless) and 4 to 6 hours (whole roast) and for pork, lamb and beef it is 2 to 4 hours (steaks and chops), 4 to 6 hours (whole roast) and 24 hours (brisket).
Avoid Metal Containers for Marinating
Never use metal containers for marinating the meat as the acid present in the marinade will react with the metal and spoil your food. Always use glass containers, plastic containers or resealable plastic bags for marination. The best choice is a resealable plastic bag as it allows you to coat the marinade evenly on all sides of the meat and keep the air sealed out.
Meat marination is more of an art. No matter how perfectly you cook the meat, if you have not marinated it right, you’ll never get the full taste. Follow this guide whenever you plan to cook beef, pork, chicken or any other meat and ensure a delicious, juicy piece of meat on your plate.