A Primer on Marinades, Glazes and Rubs

Marinades, glazes and rubs are a great way to flavor an otherwise simple meal. Take a steak or a pork chop or a chicken breast and marinate it in the refrigerator for a few hours or a whole day until it’s time to cook. A rub is even better if you are short on time. A rub is exactly as it sounds: something that you rub on the meat. Glazes are brushed on just prior to cooking and give meat a beautiful appearance.

Marinades
Marinades can pack a good amount of punch, since the flavor is soaked into the meat. This is best used with thin cuts of meat. Marinades can also tenderize meats if they contain an acid like yogurt, vinegar, lemon juice or wine, or a tenderizing enzyme like those found in ginger and pineapple. Easy marinades include teriyaki sauce and Italian dressing.

Marinades are best used for at least an hour, but can go for as long as a day. You can also place meat in a plastic freezer bag with the marinade and freeze it until you are ready to use it. Although meat won’t marinate while frozen, the marinade will work while it defrosts.

Glazes
Glazes can be even bolder since glazes tend to be thicker and stay with the meat. Glazes are applied just prior to cooking and give a nice shiny look to the exterior of the food too. Some glazes are wine based, others involve honey or stock. If you Google “meat glazes recipes,” you will come up with 915,000 hits for glazes including a Jack Daniels glaze.

In my house, glazes make their appearance during the holidays. My maple glazed turkey is always a hit for Thanksgiving. Other glazes my family loves include my apple honey barbecue glaze and a beef stock reduction glaze with teriyaki.

Rubs
Rubs can actually be the lightest of the flavorings, since rubs can cook away leaving hits of taste behind. Rubs are a combination of herbs and spices that are complementary to each other. There are four basic components to rubs: sweet, sour, salty and bitter and good rubs will create a good balance between these.

But don’t be fooled by rubs – they can create strong tastes too. In my house, we use a lot of rubs due to the ease of preparation and application. After a long day of being a fulltime writer and mommy, sometimes I just don’t have the patience to craft an elaborate meal.

Apple Honey Barbecue Glaze
yields enough for 4-6 servings

1/2 cup barbecue sauce
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup apple juice
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp dried thyme

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil stirring constantly, reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a cool bowl.

TO Glaze: Slather generously with a basting brush onto meat of your choice while grilling.

Fish Marinade
yields enough for 2 servings

1/8 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/8 cup tarragon vinegar
1/4 cup apple juice
1 tbsp fresh chopped oregano, or 1 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley, or 1 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp black pepper
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp Tabasco, or hot sauce of your choice

Combine all ingrediants in a mixing bowl and whisk until blended.

To use marinade: Pour over fish filets in a shallow dish and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes (covering would be a good idea too).

Sweet and Spicy Steak Rub
yields enough for 2 servings

1 tbsp course (sea) salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp marjoram
1/4 tsp savory
1/4 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp basil

Combine ingredients in small bowl.

To use rub
: Sprinkle generously on both sides of meat and rub in well.

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