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Different Types of Marinades & How to Use Them

When it comes to grilling a piece of meat, the thing that brings out all the flavor of that meat is the marinade. These days there are hundreds of thousands of different marinade recipes, but we're here to give you a crash course on the different types of them, when you should choose them, and how to use each type.

At Cerra's Market, it's our goal to make sure that whatever fresh cut meat you purchase at our Italian deli is properly dressed for the occasion.

Types of Marinades to Consider

-Acidic Marinades. Wine, vinegar, tomato and citrus juice are all considered acidic marinades. The acid in these liquids work to loosen the protein bonds in the meat, making the meat more tender so that these juices can then be absorbed.

-Dairy Marinades. Although you may find this type of marinade unappealing, many chefs and grilling experts believe this is the only proper way to go about marinading meat. The calcium in the dairy works to age the meat by activating it's enzymes, making the meat more tender. Try using buttermilk or yogurt, which are also acidic.

-Enzyme Marinades. Using kiwi, papaya, pineapple and other fruits that contain papain or bromelain are perfect marinades. These proteins break down the meat to make it more tender. Keep in mind that using this type of marinade may make your meat dry and tough if left to marinade too long.

Wet vs Dry Marinating

Wet marinating involves covering the meat with a liquid in order to tenderize it and prevent it from going bad. Wet marinating should only be done for a short period of time and should always be left to marinate in the fridge. Never use salt in a wet marinade as this can end up sucking the natural juices out of the cut of meat you just purchased.

Dry marinades, also known as dry rubs or BBQ spices, are a great opportunity to pack even more flavor. Using dried herbs and a variety of spices, the main ingredient in a dry marinade is salt. The salt in a dry rub works to break down the proteins of the meat so that other flavors can be absorbed. To dry rub a piece of meat, it's important to first coat it with lard, oil or water so that the rub can be pressed onto the surface.

Not a fan of wet marinating or dry rubs? Wet rubs are also an option for those who love to BBQ. Wet rubs are pastes which include Jamaican jerk seasoning and tomato-based rubs. The goal is to completely coat the meat with a mixture of spices and herbs so that it creates a thin layer of flavor before cooking.

If you're looking for the best fresh cut meats in the North Shore as well as some delicious homemade marinades bottled in-store, head to Cerra's Market! Check out our meat menu for a selection.

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