Warmer weather is just around the corner, which means it’s time to get ready for grill season. Grilled meat is delicious when seasoned with just salt and pepper, but if you want to take your grilled meat to the next level of flavor try one of our recipes below. A marinade, brine or rub is an easy way to increase the tenderness and flavor of your meat.
Marinades are best suited for tougher cuts of meat, and are mostly used to tenderize and add flavor. Most marinade recipes are a combination of oil, acidic liquids such as citrus juice or vinegar, as well as herbs, condiments and spices. Adding sweet ingredients, such as sugar or honey, will produce a crispy, caramelized coating on grilled meats. To reduce the risk of bacteria growth you should marinate meat in the refrigerator, and discard the marinade mixture after use.
Marinated Grilled Salmon
From The New Basics Cookbook by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins
¼ lb. unsalted butter
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. natural liquid smoke flavoring
3/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 center cut salmon fillet, about 2 lbs., skin on, in one piece
Combine the butter, honey, brown sugar, lemon juice, liquid smoke and red pepper flakes in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until smooth, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat, and allow the mixture to cool to room temperature.
Arrange the salmon fillets in a dish large enough to hold them. Pour the cooled mixture over the salmon and marinate for 30 minutes, turning the fillets once. Cook salmon, skin side up, over medium coals for 5-7 minutes. Then turn it over and cook until the fish flakes easily, another 5-7 minutes.
A brine is essentially a salty solution that helps lean cuts of meat retain moisture, so they stay tender and juicy during grilling. Brining is an especially useful with cuts of meat that have a tendency to dry out during cooking, such as turkey, pork chops and chicken breasts. Meat can soak in brine for a few hours, overnight or several days in the refrigerator. Before grilling, rinse your brined meat to remove any excess salt and dry it with paper towel.
Beer-Brined Grilled Pork Chops
From bon appétit
2 cups water
2 cups dark lager beer
1/4 cup coarse salt
3 Tbsp. (packed) dark brown sugar
3 Tbsp. mild-flavored (light) molasses
1 cup ice cubes
6 1- to 1 1/4-inch-thick center-cut bone-in pork chops
7 large garlic cloves, minced
3 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons dried sage leaves
Combine the water, beer, 1/4 cup coarse salt, sugar, and molasses in a large bowl. Stir until salt and sugar dissolve. Stir in ice. Place the pork chops in large resealable plastic bag. Pour beer brine over pork chops; seal bag. Refrigerate 4 hours, turning bag occasionally.
Prepare the barbecue at medium-high heat. Remove pork chops from beer brine; pat dry. Mix garlic, pepper, 2 teaspoons salt, and sage in small bowl. Rub garlic mixture over both sides of pork chops. Grill pork chops until instant-read thermometer inserted into center of chops registers 145°F to 150°F, about 10 minutes per side, occasionally moving chops to cooler part of rack if burning. Transfer chops to platter; cover with foil, and let stand 5 minutes.
A rub is a mixture of different dry seasonings that is rubbed into meat before grilling. A rub often adds a spicy or smoky flavor to the cooked meat, while enhancing the natural flavor of the meat. Liquids and oils can also be added to spice rubs to make what is called a wet rub. Refrigerating rubbed meats for anywhere from 30 minutes to overnight allows the spices to permeate the meat.
Fajita Dry Rub
From Barbecue! Bible Sauces, Rubs and Marinades by Steven Raichlen
3 Tbsp. paprika
3 Tbsp. coarse salt
2 Tbsp. pure chili powder
2 Tbsp. cracked black pepper
2 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 1/2 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. onion powder
1 Tbsp. dried cilantro
1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix with a fork. Rub mixture into meat, such as skirt steak or chicken breasts. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 2 hours before grilling.
Variation - To make a wet rub, add 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce and 3 tablespoons olive oil to the rub and stir to make a thick paste. Spread this mixture on the meat and marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour before grilling.