The 4 Indispensable Marinades

Marinata Limone

My four universal marinades

I do not think there is more confusion in the barbecue world (and in kitchen world in general, actually) than the one created around the seasoning instruments, that famous work tools contained in the ideological briefcase of the griller, the ones that allow you to boost the values or mask the defects of the raw material, if necessary. We hear terms such as marinade or brine practically all or live and yet I had to see by myself how people who really understand their meaning are very few. Even among the most jaded I still see very few, often confused recipes circulating. Today I want to reveal the recipe for four universal marinades, with which you can cover virtually all your needs in the field of barbecue. Four marinades not particularly invasive, which will adapt to the tastes of most of you but can really make a change to any raw material you’ll  have in your hands.

As first let’s rout the main doubt, the one related to its use. You do not do a marinade to tenderize the meat or to blunt “wild” flavors, these are secondary effects. MarinateThe purpose of the marinade is to add flavor. If you started grilling since at least a quarter of an hour, you know very well that the flavor resides in the fatty parts. Imagine preparing your favorite cake by removing the butter from the ingredients list: change it? Add flavor then essentially means adding fat, typically oil or butter. But if you tried to pour a tablespoon of oil in a glass of water you will have noticed how everything remains on the surface, without mixing. This is because the oil molecules tend to attract each other, which is why you can let the meat marinate for even a week but absolutely nothing will happen: the oil will never pass through the fibers.

So to someone came up in mind that by emulsifying the fat element in an acid, that instead easily penetrates the fibers, it could exploit the latter to convey the first. Great, except that if you happened to emulsify oil in vinegar before seasoning the salad and leave it on the table for a few minutes, you had easily noticed as the oil quickly realize that he had been deceived, returning to separate. The reason is always the same: its molecules attract each other. To make stable the emulsion is needed something able to eliminate, at least temporarily the surface tension that generates the attraction. In the kitchen, the two readily available components that perform this function are the mustard and soy lecithin.


So to sum up, a marinade is an emulsion of a fatty substance in an acid one in the presence of an emulsifier. The proportions between fat and acid can range from 1: 1 to 1: 3. Most meats are heavy duty and resistant to the action of the marinade (ex. game), more cuts are large or more I need to hurry and the more  I have to get up the acid component, more I no longer have these problems (such as fish) and more than I can afford to raise the fat, to make a greater flavor. People tend to take advantage of this step of flavoring through the fibers to add to marinade their customization in terms of spices and aromatic elements.

Clarified the beginning concept and before to reveal the four universal recipes, I report my seven golden rules for making a good marinade:

  1. Best emulsions, the more stable you will get using an immersion blender
  2. The best way to convey the flavor of the spices is to heat (without boiling) one of the ingredients of the acid component, even just a cup and leave them there inside to infuse like a tea, and then add all to the rest
  3. Not salty marinade, will tend in the long term to enable a process of osmosis that dehydrate your flesh
  4. In choosing the acid elements, please note that the measure of its acidity determines the aggressiveness of the marinade. The vinegar will be more invasive than yogurt.
  5. To marinate the meat put it in a double freeze food bag, pour the marinade in and seal by pressing with your hand toward the center so as to let out all the air and create a point of contact with the entire surface to the food. It just needs a glass of marinade instead of being forced to make 2 liters.
  6. Halfway through the marinating time proceed to turn on itself frost bag, so to make sure that all the meat has been in complete immersion
  7. With a home cloth removed the excess of marinade from food before putting it on cooking: causes it flare-ups.

Then we proceed with the recipes of my universal marinades. For each one I specify type of food to which it is destined to, the suggested period of action, the taste profile that I get and the context in which I suggest the use them. Playing on these four factors you should be able to cover the vast majority of occasions when you might need a good marinade.

Fab Four

Marinate Fab FourUsing: Steak, skewers, cow in general but also with Lamb
Time: 2-3 hours
Profile: Attractive, delicious but distinctive and characteristic
Range: Steak dinner with friends, outdoor cooking

1/4 Olive Oil
1/4 Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 Soy Sauce
1/4 Worcestershire Sauce
2 Rosemary Sprigs
1 tea spoons of Thyme
1 tea spoons of Black Pepper
1 tea spoon of mustard

Simple Seafood

Marinata SeafoodUsing: Sword Fish, Crustaceans, fish and delicate meats
Time: 1 hour
Profile: Raffinate, elegant, in prong tip
Range: Elegante summer dinner, special occasions

1/2 Olive Oil
1/4 White wine
1/8 Lemon Juice
1/8 Brandy
1 clove of Garlic without the core
5 Bay leafs
1 tea spoon of Coriander
1 tea spoon of White Pepper
1 tea spoon of Mustard

Pollo Borracho

Marinata PolloUsing: Chicken, Turkey and white meats in general
Time: 2 hours
Profile: Clean, light e mediterranean
Range: Summer lunch, light but without quit with taste

1/3 Peanut Oil
1/3 Lager Beer
1/6 Lemon juice
1/6 Balsamic Vinegar
1 clove of Garlic without the core
2 Rosemary Sprigs
3 Bay leafs
1 tea spoon of Thyme
1 tea spoon of Coriander
1 tea spoon of White Pepper
1 tea spoon of Mustard

King of Roast

Marinata RoastUsing: Roast, Por Loin, Standing Rib Roast, big cuts of meat in general
Time: 6-8 hours
Profile: Important, rich but balanced
Range: Sunday lunch, representative dinners

1/4 Olive Oil
1/4 Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 Whisky
1/4 Mustard
1 spoon of Brown Sugar
1 tea spoon of Thyme
1 tea spoon of Black Pepper

Now you have everything you need to fully the marinades world without excessive headaches but with lots and lots of taste. And do you have a secret marinade of your own?

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