Rubs, Marinades, and Brines, oh my!

All home chefs and grill masters have their preferred ways of flavoring meat and other proteins before cooking. We wanted to shed some light on a few favorite methods that will give you delicious flavor using herbs you're probably already growing in your AeroGarden!

Dry Rub

A dry rub is a blend of herbs and spices applied to the protein prior to cooking without the use of liquids. Not only do you get great flavor, but also a bit of crunchy texture on the outside of your grillable. Plus there are fewer calories than if you used an oil-based marinade or heavy sauce. You can use dry rubs on steak, chops, ribs, fish, chicken and even tofu. Just pat the seasoning blend all over the surface of the item you're cooking, making sure it sticks well. You can let the item sit in an airtight container in the fridge overnight, but if you want more of that texture, better to cook right away. You can store any leftover rub in a jar for up to six months in a cool dry place.

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh herbs (rosemary, parsley, sage, basil, tarragon, oregano, cilantro, thyme and dill are all great options depending on the meat)
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Combine all ingredients.

Recipe from www.hgtv.com.

Marinade

Image credit thestayathomechef.com

Using marinades is a great way to flavor meat, and make them even more deliciously tender as the enzymes in the marinade breaks down the fibers in the protein. But you don't have to buy the premade stuff at the store, you can make your own really easily. You'll want to make sure you have these 4 components:

  • Acid for tenderizing - vinegar, citrus or wine will do the trick
  • Flavoring - your favorite AeroGarden-grown spices are perfect
  • Oil - to hold everything together and bring moisture to the meat or fish
  • Salt - to make the protein juicier and enhance the flavor

Make sure to mix your marinade with three parts oil for every one part acid. Then throw in the steak, chicken, fish, pork or whatever you're planning on cooking, seal it up in a glass or plastic container and store it in the fridge for up to 24 hours. Fish should only marinate for 30 minutes or less or the acid will begin to "cook" the protein.

  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt (kosher or sea), or to taste
  • 4 strips of lemon zest
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed with the side of a cleaver or minced
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil, cilantro, dill, oregano, or a mix of all four
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Recipe from www.epicurious.com

 

Brine

Image credit dinneratthezoo.com

Brining poultry is a great way to add moisture AND flavor to your meat before cooking. You may think it's just salt and water, but you can bring another level to that bird by adding some fresh herbs, like rosemary, sage thyme and more. Make sure to get your ratios right, and soak the defrosted turkey or chicken for 1 hour per pound of weight. A plastic bag or large stainless steel cooking pot should be just fine.

  • 2 quarts vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup salt (or 3/4 cup kosher salt)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon dried sage
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 2 quarts cold water

In a large pot, combine the vegetable stock, salt, sugar and all herbs and cook over medium heat. Simmer for about 15 minutes until the salt has dissolved.

Remove from the stove and allow to cool for about 30 minutes or more, then add the cold water. 

Place the turkey or chicken in a plastic bag or other container, pour the rbine over the top, cover and refrigerate 1 hour per pound. Then thoroughly rinse the bird, discarding any leftover brine. Pat the poultry dry with paper towels (don't forget the cavity) and apply any rub or other seasoning if you're using it. Now cook and enjoy!

Recipe from www.thespruceeats.com.

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