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What better way to make the most of the warmer weather than outside in the sunshine, in the company of good friends and family, enjoying the smoky delights of the humble barbecue? It's time to dust off the grill, get out the tongs and start preparing some marvellous marinades to impress your guests this summer.
Marinating is the best way to make your choice of protein mouth-wateringly tasty. Originally, marinating involved the treatment of food with brine or coarse salt in order to tenderise meats. Over time, this process evolved to include a wider variety of ingredients such as an oil, herbs, spices and often an acidic element that worked to not only tenderise the meat, but also add depth and flavour. Now, the marinating process can take anywhere from one hour to several days depending on the protein and is used across a plethora of cuisines.
Check out some of our favourite marinades below:
Chicken is one of the most versatile proteins and pairs well with a variety of flavour combinations. We've gone for a citrussy twist, giving two different options for a lemon chicken marinade. Chicken should be marinated for 5-6 hours for best results - avoid leaving chicken for much longer than this (particularly if your marinade contains an acidic element such as lemon juice) as this could result in your chicken becoming stringy and dry.
Whilst white fish can be easily overpowered by strong flavour profiles, oily fish such as salmon or tuna marinades well and can carry stronger spices without losing their own delicious taste. However, white fish can still be marinaded in light spices and flavours - just aim to be a little more delicate! Fish can safely be left to marinate overnight in the fridge.
Pork is a meat that greatly benefits from a strong marinade as it is a much tougher cut than other options such as chicken - for best results, allow pork to marinate for 5-6 hours to allow time for the marinade to work its way into the connective tissues. Much like chicken, avoid leaving pork to marinate for too long as this can result in dry meat and a mushy texture.
Both lamb and beef can also prove to be much tougher proteins and benefit from a marinade to help break down the meat. Marinades also introduce extra moisture that can prevent the cut from drying out during cooking. Red meats can be left to marinate for up to 24 hours in the fridge.
Whilst we've suggested with which meat (or fish) each of these marinades could be used, you can easily mix and match these according to your preferences. You could also use these across vegan or vegetarian options such as tofu or tempeh to give your dish an extra-large helping of flavour!
To make your marinades, simply mix all the ingredients listed above together in a small dish or bowl and then apply to your protein choice.
Once allowed to marinate for the recommended length of time, your meat or fish is ready for the BBQ! Either place directly onto the grill (we love the slightly charred effect for a smoky finish), cut into cubes and place on a skewer to make kebabs, or wrap in foil before cooking and then place on the BBQ. For chicken, pork or most types of fish, ensure that the meat is cooked thoroughly all the way through before eating. Both beef and lamb can be cooked to your preference.
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