Best Go-to Marinade Recipe

A typical marinade is made up of three essential components: an acid (such as vinegar, wine, or citrus), an oil (such as olive oil or sesame oil), and a flavoring agent (such as herbs and spices). These elements work together to transform the taste and texture of your dish in different ways. This marinade hits all the checkmarks and more! There are a few variations to the recipe to hit your flavor profile. This is a recipe to print and use anytime you need to marinade meat or fish. From our family to yours! Enjoy!

Dad’s Secret Sauce

Ground BREAKING NEWS! The secret is out! My dad final revealed his secret marinade that he uses on most grilled meat. Trust me, this is a BIG deal. He actually typed the marinade recipe for me. You can use it on tri-tip, flank steak, chicken thighs, and more. Really, you can use it on any cut of meat or fish!

Variations to the Marinade Recipe

The variations on the basic marinade are endless. For example; substitute the oregano with 1 tablespoon minced ginger and 1 tablespoon of roasted sesame oil for more of an Asian flavor, or substitute the ketchup with a smokey BBQ sauce to give the meat more of a rustic campfire flavor.

Anatomy of a Marinade

(Courtesy of Spruce Eats)

Fat

Fat is an important component in marinades because it helps transfer fat soluble flavors into the meat. A fat component will also help the meat retain moisture as it is cooked. Fats help ground flavor profiles and keep sharp or acidic flavors from overwhelming the experience. Examples of fat components in a marinade can include: olive oil, canola oil, coconut milk, full fat yogurt, or other vegetable oils.

Acid


Acids work in multiple ways to help flavor penetrate meat. Acids help break down the connective tissue in meat, which can slightly tenderize the meat and allow deeper penetration. An acidic flavor component is also important for balancing a flavor profile. A tangy top note provided by an acid ingredient will help add zing and freshness to an otherwise heavy flavor. Acids also act as antioxidants, which can counteract the free radicals that are produced when meat is cooked at high temperatures, as with grilling. Examples of acid components include: citrus juices, vinegar, wine, yogurt, or buttermilk.

Seasonings
Seasonings are where marinades really come to life.

There are endless possibilities, but a good place to start is with aromatics. Aromatics like garlic, onion, or shallots provide a deep flavor base on which other flavors can be built. Herbs and spices, either dried or fresh, can be added to the marinade for extra layers of flavor.

Salt is also an important part of the seasoning process. Salt helps magnify the other flavors added to the marinade. Sea salt is an excellent choice as it contains minerals that provide extra flavor. Soy sauce is also a common ingredient used as the salt component in a marinade.

Chili peppers are a common ingredient in marinades because they add a uniquely spicy kick that can enhance many flavor profiles. Chile peppers, either dried or fresh, can be added to marinades.

Aromatics and chili peppers should be minced or cut into very small pieces when used in a marinade to increase the surface area and contact with the meat.

Citrus zest is a great way to add citrus flavor without adding extra acid to a marinade. The essential oils contained in the zest provide an exceptional amount of flavor, but contain no acid.

Sugars, such as honey, brown sugar, molasses, or agave nectar, are sometimes added to marinades to balance the acidic component. When used in lower heat cooking methods, such as roasting, the sugar will caramelize and add extra depth. When used with higher heat cooking methods, like grilling, the sugar may burn and cause an off flavor.

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Dad’s Secret Meat Marinade

  • Author: Elena Davis
  • Prep Time: 5 min
  • Cook Time: N/A
  • Total Time: 53 minute
  • Category: Savory
  • Method: American
  • Cuisine: American

Description

A typical marinade is made up of three essential components: an acid (such as vinegar, wine, or citrus), an oil (such as olive oil or sesame oil), and a flavoring agent (such as herbs and spices). These elements work together to transform the taste and texture of your dish in different ways. This marinade hits all the checkmarks and more! There are a few variations to the recipe to make it hit your flavor profile. This is a recipe to print and use anytime you need to marinade meat or fish. From our family to yours, enjoy! 


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar or honey (optional the ketchup adds sweetness)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning (oregano / thyme / rosemary)
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 chopped green onions

Instructions

  1. Mix all the ingredients in a medium bowl. Place the meat in a resealable gallon sized zip bag and pour the marinade into the bag. Expel the air from bag and close. Marinate meat refrigerated for 3-8 hours.
  2. The variations on the basic marinade are endless. For example; substitute the oregano with 1 tablespoon minced ginger and 1 tablespoon of roasted sesame oil for more of an Asian flavor, or substitute the ketchup with a smokey BBQ sauce to give the meat more of a rustic campfire flavor.