October 6, 2004 11:10 PM   Subscribe

MarinadeFilter: Is there life beyond Teriyaki? What are your favorite meat/fowl/fish/tofu marinades, home-made or (don't be ashamed, we all do it) pre-packaged?

Although I'm interested in all sorts of marinades, I'm really specifically looking for one that I can use on the beef tri-tip that is currently sitting in the refrigerator. Also, of course, chicken breasts.

And hey, while you're in here... How is it that two steaks, which have been seasoned and cooked to (practically) identical standards, can taste so different? e.g, why do some supermarket steaks not taste like anything? Was it the cow's feed? Its level of cortisol pre-slaughter? Secret back-room applications of MSG?
posted by LimePi to Food & Drink (18 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
In Australia you'll often see 'economy' or 'budget' rumps or sirloins that are about half the price of the regular stuff. They tend to come from milking cows that are past their prime, and while they look substantially identical to the regular stuff, and don't tend to taste of much at all.

This is Robert Rodriguez's puerco pibil recipe. The achiote marinade is great on chicken destined for the grill.

Puerco Pibil a la Robert Rodriguez

5 Tbsps. annatto (achiote) seeds
2 tsps. cumin seeds
1 Tbsp. peppercorns
8 allspice berries
½ tsp. whole cloves
2 habanero chiles
½ cup orange juice
½ cup white vinegar
2 Tbsps. salt
8 cloves of garlic
Juice of 5 lemons
Splash of tequila
5 pounds pork butt
Banana leaves or heavy-duty aluminum foil
White or Spanish rice or taco shells for serving

Place the annatto, cumin, peppercorns, allspice and cloves in a spice grinder and process to a fine powder.

Carefully remove the seeds and veins from the chiles and chop coarsely. (Habaneros are very hot; even breathing the fumes may make you cough. Removing the veins and seeds ensures the dish is fiery but not painfully hot. You can also substitute a milder chile.)

Process the orange juice, vinegar, chiles, salt and garlic in a blender or food processor until liquefied. Add the lemon juice and tequila.

Cut the pork into 2-inch chunks. Place in a large, self-sealing plastic bag with the marinade. Seal bag and turn to evenly coat the meat. Refrigerate for 8 to 24 hours, turning occasionally.

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Remove the meat from the marinade and wrap tightly in banana leaves or foil so no steam can escape. Place packet in roasting pan and roast four hours. Open packet carefully; the meat should shred easily with a fork. Serve with rice or shred, moisten with pan juices and use as taco filling. Makes 15 servings.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 12:12 AM on October 7, 2004 [1 favorite]

Lots of things influence the taste of meat. Feed: grass vs grain vs lord-knows-what. Animal stress before slaughter. Length of aging. Fat levels and distribution. Sex. Age. I can't comment on meat buying in the US, but here in NZ I buy from an organic butcher when I can, although supermarket meat can be quite good. Get to know your butcher if you want reliable meat.

My favourite marinades are rather like dressings: some random combination of something acid (wine, lemon juice), something oily (olive oil), something salty and some fresh herbs or spices. Eg my chicken marinade is generally lemon juice + salt + olive oil + fresh oregano; lamb, white wine + rosemary + olive oil; beef, red wine + salt + olive oil + fresh thyme + orange rind. Depends on what's to hand and what's in the herb garden, really.

Word of warning: papaya, pineapple and kiwifruit all have high levels of enzymes that dissolve meat. Marinades containing them will soften the toughest beast in a couple of hours, but overnight will turn meat to mush.

What the hell is a tri-tip?
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 12:30 AM on October 7, 2004

A tri-tip is the bottom, triangular shaped end of the sirloin. Kinda like a small roast.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 12:39 AM on October 7, 2004

I see.

I would have thought marinading sirloin would be overkill. Maybe some kind of rub or coating? Dijon mustard rub...
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 12:43 AM on October 7, 2004

Tamari, sesame oil, garlic & ginger. Hot pepper sauce if you fancy it. Make up to your taste and off you go.
posted by i_cola at 1:21 AM on October 7, 2004

Tandoori-style marinades with a natural yoghurt or coconut-milk base, garlic, ginger & spices are good. Here are some variations on this theme: 1, 2, 3, 4.
posted by misteraitch at 3:31 AM on October 7, 2004

Presently my favorite marinade for beef is garlic salsa. Yep, just a jar of your favorite garlic salsa poured over a cut of beef that is intended for marinating (which, I gotta say, tri-tip is probably not the best choice). Let it sit for 8 hours (or even overnight), then grill.
posted by briank at 6:25 AM on October 7, 2004

Peri-peri is great for chicken and beef. I have no idea if it'd work with the cut you mention though.

Pre-made peri-peri from Nando's is good, but its pretty easy to make. The recipe I use is as follows:

- a couple of fresh hot chili peppers, chopped
- the juice and zest of a lime (or lemon)
- 2 fl oz sunflower oil
- a tablespoon tablespoon of paprika
- a tablespoon of cayenne pepper
- one clove garlic, very finely chopped
- salt to taste

Combine all ingredients and smash into into a smooth paste (I use a pestle/mortar, but if you have a blender, its quicker). Rub marinade into meat and marinate in a bowl for at least 30 minutes (preferably overnight) before cooking.

Et Viola! Voila!
posted by davehat at 6:34 AM on October 7, 2004 [1 favorite]

Fresh squeezed lime juice, Chopped Cilantro, Salt and a few crushed garlic cloves does wonders on some chicken breasts...marinate for two-three hours tops
posted by mmascolino at 7:27 AM on October 7, 2004

There were some truly wonderful suggestions the last time this was Asked.
posted by majick at 7:57 AM on October 7, 2004

We put Mojo Criollo on just about everything. Fantastic for fajitas, chicken, roast pork, etc.
posted by MrMoonPie at 8:07 AM on October 7, 2004

From the bottle, for beef, we really like a Chianti-balsamic marinade by Mario Batali - we've only ever seen it at Trader Joes.
posted by cairnish at 8:09 AM on October 7, 2004

Tri-tip is AWESOME.

For a quick marinade for it:

Lowry's beef marinade +
garlic +
a little red wine +
black pepper +
olive oil

A good marinade for chicken:

Grey Poupon mustard +
honey +
balsamic vinegar

posted by WolfDaddy at 8:14 AM on October 7, 2004

I make a quick and easy beef marinade that has gotten raves from foodie friends.

- Extra Virgin Olive oil
- crushed garlic
- soy sauce
- brown sugar

equal parts soy and evoo, add a clove or two of garlic and a tablespoon or so of sugar. marinate for at least 4 hours.

of course I live in the land of beef (Alberta) so that might have something to do with it too...
posted by sauril at 9:22 AM on October 7, 2004

If you have never tried Korean Barbecue, you are in for a treat. You can by bottled sauces in the Asian markets (look for Bulgogi marinade) or make your own.

I make this frequently because my SO works nights and has to take his dinner to work. Micro waving will kill most beef dishes, but I slice the sirloin paper thin (it helps if the beef is still partially frozen,) marinade in the sauce over night, and pan fry on very high heat for less than 1 minute each side. Serve on rice with some vegetables and you have the perfect take out dinner.

And if you grill outside, I guarantee your salivary glands will be screaming before the meat is done.

Another great rice bowl dinner and/or grilling marinade is

Honey Garlic Chicken

1/2 C Honey
6 TB Soy Sauce
1/4 C finely minced Ginger
6 finely minced Garlic Cloves
6-8 Chicken Thighs (or 3 lbs of pork)

In a small pan warm the marinade ingredients until the honey is melted. Place Thighs in a roasting pan, skin side down and pour on the sauce. Cover with foil and marinade over night.

Bake at 350 for half an hour with foil on. After 30 minutes, remove foil and turn thighs over. Bake another 30 minutes. May be served hot or cold.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 9:35 AM on October 7, 2004 [1 favorite]

For a better teriyaki marinade, try Soy Vey (couldn't find a link, but it's available at Trader Joe's). Salad dressings work well as marinades. I frequently use caesar dressing (plus garlic, seasoned pepper and seasoned salt to taste) for baking chicken that is then cut up and tossed into a salad. Yummm!
posted by deborah at 12:43 PM on October 7, 2004

My latest favorite is a jarred tandoori paste mixed with yogurt. I can make tandoori (ish) chicken in my George Foreman now!
posted by CunningLinguist at 6:47 PM on October 7, 2004

I can't believe no one's said Italian Dressing yet. Not the most gourmet choice, but cheap and very easy for those chicken breasts. We usually have something like grilled chicken breasts with brown rice at least once a week. Just take your chicken breasts and dump a bottle of Italian dressing over them, and put in the icebox the night before you plan on eating them. This will work even if they're frozen - or if you decide not to have them until a day later.
posted by sixdifferentways at 1:48 AM on October 8, 2004

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