What is a marinade?
A marinade can be described as “a savoury sauce, (usually acidic) typically made of oil, vinegar, spices, and herbs, in which meat, fish, or vegetables are soaked before cooking in order to flavour or soften it. Now, marinade or marinate? Technically one is a noun and the other is a verb. You make a ‘marinade’ to ‘marinate’ your meat, see? Though not to worry, the two words have recently been used more interchangeably depending on where you are from. To help you on your way, we have put together this no-fail list of the Top 5 Perfect Marinades for Beef.
Ingredients commonly used for marinades include fish sauce, lime juice, palm sugar, rosemary, lemon, thyme, chile, orange juice, pink peppercorns, rice wine vinegar, cilantro stems, apple cider vinegar, onions, cumin, smoked paprika, ginger, garlic, scallion, soy sauce and many more!
In most cases, you can use a standard ratio when creating your marinade. Similar to a simple dressing, start with three parts of oil mixed in for everyone part acid used. Add in your choice of flavourings and salt to taste. Easy and delicious!
Why marinate meat?
Steep, soak, souse, and infuse. All great words for describing the intent of a marinade – Getting as much flavour as possible into what you are about to cook. But why do it? By covering the meat in an aromatic and flavourful mixture, you allow the meat to soften, become tender, and soak up the goodness before cooking.
There are some conflicting opinions when it comes to what should be marinated, by which ingredients, and for how long. However, it really is up to the cook! It is good to be aware that while marinades do impart flavour, it is only on the exposed surface. Meat which is cut up smaller will have a larger surface area, therefore, take up more of the saucy magic you have concocted.
It is prudent to note that marinating works best on tougher cuts of beef such as kebab skewers, chuck, a variety of steak cuts such as a skirt, flank, sirloin tip side steak, as well as bottom round, top round, and eye of round steaks.
Using acid in marinades may also slow the growth of bacteria such as listeria. Many vegetables, types of meat and fish have a pH above 4.6 already making them low-acid foods. This pH value can be lowered even more when adding ingredients such as lemon juice or vinegar. This can slow down the growth of spoilage and disease-causing bacteria.
Marinade recipes inspired from around the world
For the recipes below, combine the listed ingredients and pour the mixture over the prepared meat. Allow to marinate for at least 1hr, covered, in the refrigerator.
Spicy Sweet Thai Beef Marinade
- 2 tablespoons coriander seeds, coarsely cracked
- 1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pinch ground ginger
- 1 1/2 pounds flank steak
Korean Bulgogi Beef Marinade
- 4 Tbsp Korean soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp sesame oil
- 3 Tbsp brown sugar (don’t substitute with honey as it burns easily)
- 8 cloves garlic (8 cloves = 4 tsp)
- ½ Grated Asian pear (half pear = 4 Tbsp)
- Freshly ground black pepper
Yam Nua Yang Beef Marinade
- 3 clove garlic, minced
- 2 Thai chiles, minced (add more or less depending on the heat desired)
- 2 Tbsp lemongrass, thinly sliced
- 1.5 tsp palm suger
- 2 Tbsp fish sauce
- 2.5 Tbsp lime juice
Mediterranean Skewer Marinade
- 1kg. beef sirloin, cut into cubes
- 3 garlic cloves, minced15 ml. fresh lemon zest
- 15 ml. fresh parsley, minced
- 10 ml. fresh thyme, minced
- 10 ml. fresh rosemary, minced
- 10 ml. dried oregano
- 60 ml. olive oil
- 30 ml. fresh lemon juice
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
BBQ beef rib marinade
- 2 Tbsp canola oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground mustard
- 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Meat can be prepared in many different ways. Braised, stewed, grilled, roasted, fried. The list goes on! Ensuring the end product is tender, well seasoned and flavourful can take skill and precision. Utilizing the following marinade recipes will help in your quest for the perfect meal!