April 25, 2012 10:46:49 AM
With beef on the mind, what better time to think about marinades? A good marinade can infuse steaks with a variety of delicious flavors. It can also tenderize.
Whatever your purpose, it's important to know your cut of beef and remember the key is the length of marinating time, says the National Cattlemen's Association in the 2011 comprehensive guide, "Confident Cooking with Beef."
If the goal is to add flavor to a tender steak like a T-bone or ribeye, you only need to marinate for 15 minutes to two hours.
To tenderize cuts such as top round or skirt steak, plan on six to 24 hours. A tenderizing marinade must contain an acidic ingredient (such as lemon juice, yogurt, flavored vinegar and wine) or a natural tenderizing enzyme (found in papaya, ginger, pineapple and figs).
Keep reading for a few quick marinade tips and recipes from the national association.
n Always marinate in the refrigerator, never at room temperature.
n Allow 1/4 to 1/2 cup of marinade for every pound of beef.
n Marinate in a food-safe plastic bag or in a non-reactive container such as glass or plastic. Turn or stir the beef occasionally to allow even exposure to the marinade.
n Before cooking, remove beef from marinade and pat dry with a paper towel to promote even browning and prevent steaming.
n If marinade is to be used for basting or as a sauce, reserve a portion of it before adding it to the beef. (A marinade that has been in contact with uncooked meat must be brought to a full rolling boil for at least one minutes before it can be used for basting or sauce. Never save and reuse a marinade.)
2/3 cup balsamic vinaigrette
2 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard
ARGENTINEAN STEAK MARINADE
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/3 cup spicy steak sauce
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
1/2 cup red currant jelly, warmed
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup chopped seeded jalapeno peppers
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon salt
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 ground allspice
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon peel
2/3 cup Italian dressing
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon chili powder
Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.