Saturday, August 19, 2023

General-Purpose Grilling Marinade

A general-purpose marinade with a base of oil, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and mustard with additional seasonings, great on chicken, beef, pork, shrimp and even vegetables.
A general-purpose marinade with a base of oil, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and mustard with additional seasonings, great on chicken, beef, pork, shrimp and even vegetables.

General-Purpose Grilling Marinade

It's still summer y'all! 

I'm plugging along with the heat advisories down here on the Gulf Coast, so no pumpkin or apple or fall-themed recipes here quite yet, much as I'm looking forward to it all after this hot, hot summer.

So... let's talk marinades!
Just a quick reminder.... if you aren't interested in the chit chat, info, photos, tips and such on a blog, as always, you'll find the complete recipe text with measurements and instructions, as well as a printable document, a little bit further down the page. Just swipe or scroll down to the bottom of the post!
According to Cook This Not That, a great series of publications by David Zinczenko, the polyphenols in a marinade can help to cut carcinogen deposits from grilled foods, as much as 88%!

Zinczenko also shares there are three basic elements needed for a good marinade.
  • Acid
  • Flavor Enhancers
  • Accents
  1. ACIDS are what breaks down fibers in the meat and tenderizes it, but also provides moisture to those meats. These can include wine, sherry, apple cider, white and other vinegars, Worcestershire sauce, citrus juices, wine, yogurt and if you're a southerner, even coke which means any kind of "cola" like Dr Pepper and root beer too.

  2. FLAVOR ENHANCERS add depth and character to the meat and can include olive oil, avocado oil, cooking oil, mustards, honey, syrups, granulated or brown sugars, ginger, chipotle peppers and the most common enhancer soy sauce. Though it does vary, a fairly standard ratio of oil to acid in marinades is typically 3 parts oil to 1 part acid. While I do love using soy sauce in a marinade, unless I'm looking for an Asian themed marinade or teriyaki style flavor, I feel that most folks who use it tend to overdo it. Just a little bit will add the right amount of flavor and because of the salt, use a lower sodium version. 

  3. ACCENTS are what add flavor and can include aromatics as well as a wide variety of herbs, spices like cayenne and other peppers or curry powders, though go cautious with the salt as it can cause osmosis, pulling precious moisture from your meats.
Other points to remember:
  1. Use a non-reactive container to do your marinade in, meaning glass preferably, plastic otherwise, or even a zippered freezer bag that should be placed into another container as insurance against leaking. Be sure to periodically pass by the fridge to stir or turn occasionally. If you have a vacuum sealer reducing the air pressure inside a bag can also help the marinade work better.

  2. Timewise, don't overdo it! Shrimp doesn't need much time, about 30 minutes or stretch it to 1 to 2 hours at most, chicken a little more depending on the cut or whether bone-in, but can range from 4 to 6 hours or even up to overnight but no longer. Beef can take the longest marinade time, overnight or even up to 24 hours. 
This recipe for general purpose marinade is great for many proteins - beef, chicken, pork and shrimp, even vegetables! It's a little strong for fish, though I'm of the opinion that fish doesn't really benefit much from a marinade anyway, as just a bit of a good olive oil, lemon juice and garlic, with some fresh herbs will do the job.

Here's how to make my General-Purpose Grilling Marinade.

Mix marinade ingredients. I'm using a base of cooking oil, Worcestershire, balsamic vinegar and soy sauce, with some mustard and additional ingredients - full ingredient list is in the printable below. Remove and set aside 1/4 cup of the marinade in the refrigerator for basting. 

Today, I'm using boneless, skinless chicken breasts and they are rather large, each one could easily serve two people. I'm also using a blade tenderizer to infuse some of the marinade into the chicken breast. You can also pound down the thicker past of the breast for more even cooking, especially if you are using a gas or charcoal grill.

Place chicken into a glass bowl or zippered bag, pour marinade over the top. Squish it around, seal and place in the refrigerator at least 30 minutes, better 4 hours or more, even up to overnight. If using a bag, it's best to tuck it into a bowl or other container to ensure against potential leaks.

Stir or turn occasionally.

When ready to cook, drain and discard marinade. Allow meat to come to room temperature, seasoning with salt and pepper as desired, before grilling.

I'm using an indoor grill, which is the way that I grill the most these days. Yes, I know it's not quite the same as an open flame or charcoal, but it's just too darned hot for this old gal to do outside!

Generally speaking, for an indoor tabletop grill, boneless, skinless chicken breasts timing is anywhere from 12 to 15 minutes for a 6-ounce boneless, skinless breast, or up to 25 to 30 minutes for larger breasts, depending on the grill.

Turn halfway and if they are on the larger size like these, I usually turn them at least once more. Total time will depend of course on type of grill used, and if indoor, the wattage, as well as the size and thickness of the breasts, so the best guide is to use an instant read thermometer, aiming for 165 degrees F.

Also great on steaks y'all!

For more of my favorite Sauces, Condiments, Rubs and Marinades check out the collection on my Pinterest page!

Unable to view the printable below on your device? Tap/click here.

Posted by on August 19, 2023
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