December 15, 2015
The Great Marinade Debate: It's All About the Application
from Chef Kevin Wassler
Tough call on this one, I could play both sides of the fence. In my opinion it really depends on the cut used and application.
The marinade effect is ideal for certain cuts of meat based upon their size and overall tenderness, or lack thereof. A sauerbraten marinated for 5-7 days tenderizes the cut of meat chosen as well as imparts the vinegar/wine/pepper/bay leaf/allspice flavor that you’d want from that dish. Over-marinating a specific cut of steak can ruin the exterior surface, causing a mushy texture. Grilling a steak, chop, etc. when it is “wet” just causes a flare-up without that great charred smell and flavor we all like in a steak. In my opinion, marinades for steaks are great as a finish to brush on just as they are about to come off the grill.
I agree with Chef Eric on the dry rub application. I love rubs because they form a great crust on the meat and seal in the juices. Obviously with briskets and ribs these rubs are great for slow-cooking, but applying a rub to steaks and chops an hour or so before grilling also packs some heavy flavor and [guarantees] a tasty, juicy crust. In some cases, depending on the cut of meat, the flavors from the rub can permeate throughout.
Experimentation is key. With so many spices and flavors to play with, most people just need to get away from the old bottle of Italian dressing used on their signature backyard BBQ dish.