This better be my most popular blog post! the single most ask question on my YouTube channel is “How do I season the meat?” The answer is quiet simple: it’s up to you! Once you know and understand you spices, you can develop your own “seasoning mix”. I not only advice to season your meat but I recommend to actually marinate it for 4h at room temperature, 24 h in the fridge… Hell, 4 days in the freezer!!!
At the Originally, the marinade was used to remove bacteria from meat. Today it serves primarily to add flavors to the meat. The principle of the marinade is to coat the meat with a mixture of seasoning. The marinade will on the one hand, affect the taste of the meat and on the other hand, tenderize the meat. The oil is often based marinade, it prevents the meat from drying out.
This is my everyday Mix
5 tbsp Garlic
1 tbsp Onion
2 tbsp Ginger
2 tbsp Black Pepper
salt to taste
I use dry spice because it make my life easier. I use to puree my fresh spice and conserve it in the freezer, when I need it I have to unfreeze it bla bla bla. Dry spice just makes my life easier. And I have more varieties and I can adjust it according to what I want that day.
This are some add options: Garlic, Onion, Ginger, Parsley, Black Pepper, Basil, Bay Leaf, Cayenne, Cumin, Curry Powder, Dry Mustard Powder, Green Pepper, Oregano, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme, Fennel, Lemon Zest, Mint, Cilantro, Cinnamon, Tarragon, Anise
I actually boil my meat and then add it to the soup. I don’t fry it like we usually do in Africa, that add flavor and unneeded calories. I put it in the oven instead. Do you know why you did that? I don’t know if you noticed but some meat break-apart when you put it trough the boiling and frying. – the heat basically, tenderize the meat. There are other way to tenderize – mostly by using acidic food
Tea: Contains tannins which are a natural tenderizer. Make a cup or two of strong black tea, allow it to cool and then use to marinate.
Wine, Citrus Juices, Vinegar: These are acidic liquids that soften muscle fibers (and add flavor too). For citrus juice, try lemon, lime or pineapple. Vinegar can be apple cider, balsamic or regular household vinegar. Red wine is a good choice since it also contains tannins.
Tomato Based Sauces: Tomatoes are acidic which is why you’ll find many barbecue sauces made from them (it’s not just for their great flavor and tantalizing color). They also typically include vinegar which helps increase the acidity level.
Beer: Great for adding flavor but beer also contains alpha acids and tannins so it’s a workhorse when it comes to tenderizing meats. Marinate for at least an hour before grilling.
Cola: Marinate steak in Coke (not diet) for a minimum of 30 minutes and up to 24 hours. Why does it work? The acid content.
Ginger: You’ll often find ginger listed as an ingredient in marinades, did you know it’s not just for its flavor? Ginger contains a proteolytic enzyme that naturally breaks down protein.
Coffee: A natural tenderizer that also adds flavor. To use, brew a strong pot of coffee, chill and then marinate meat for up to 24 hours before grilling.
Buttermilk & Yogurt: These contain some acidity but they are also dairy items with calcium content, this activates enzymes within the meat that also that helps break down protein.
Figs, Pineapple, Kiwis, Papaya: These contain vegetable enzymes that dissolve protein and connective tissues. Apply a fruit mash or slices over the meat and leave for a few hours. These work best on thin cuts.
Baking Soda: Just like salt, baking soda will break down proteins as the meat draws it in. Two different ways to do this: Sprinkle baking soda all over, rub it in a bit and then let sit (refrigerated) for several hours. You could also make a baking soda/water paste and slather it over the meat. Let it marinate for several hours. Rinse well before cooking to remove all the baking soda.