I’m not a chef and I’m not even the primary cook in my family. Honestly, I think my family keeps me around just for the spare kidney and my grilling/smoking skills. My primary cooking function is to take the workload off my wife. So I do it for fun and I have a lot of freedom to mess around. While my wife has to worry about making a balanced meal for the kids with vegetables, meat, fruit etc… I focus my energies on things like making a good marinade.
When John started this site, this was the first food item I thought of. Problem is I don’t really know how to make it. My marinade is usually made the day before I smoke or grill. Usually this occurs on a Friday evening when I’ve had a few beers and I’ve forgotten to make the marinade. I have attempted to recreate this beer recipe inspired and created by beer. There are no measurements and the ingredients change every time, because again – I’ve had a few beers.
Why use marinade?
Marinade infuses the meat with great flavor but also tenderizes the meat. This is especially true for the rougher cuts that are prized for the ‘low & slow’ cooking method used while smoking. The acids in the marinade make the meat tender, the salt pulls in the moisture and the spices add flavor.
My base ingredients are apple cider vinegar, mustard and salt. Everything else is added to make it unique or fun, or because I’ve had a few beers.
– Apple Cider Vinegar
– Mustard (nothing fancy required)
Here’s how I have fun making my “Drunken Marinade”
Grab a bowl and add the cider
2. Add the mustard and salt. Easy chief, you’re tipsy so go heavy on that cheap mustard not so much on the salt.
Additional Additions – Beer is my Inspiration
This is the fun part. Beer, wine, liquor removes inhibitions so I tend to explore and find new marinade flavors I otherwise would never consider. One sobering word of caution: If it doesn’t taste good by itself it will not taste good as a marinade. I used a bad beer once and the meat tasted like stale bad beer, not good.
I’m drinking a spicy IPA and I’m drawn to the label on a bottle in my fridge. Turns out lemon juice tastes great in marinade and helps to tenderize the meat.
Uh, well now I’m drinking some fine wine but I’m immediately bored with it. I’m a beer guy so this is going in.
This is where things can get stupid. I like sriracha sauce, it has a funky chicken on the bottle. I add it but it’s a big gamble (turns out ok). Soy sauce is added for flavor and salt and I’m drunk.
Marinade – it’s not pretty
Add the meat since that’s why I’m making this marinade. Yes, I bought some “clearance meat”, leave me alone.
The bag of meat goes into my 30 degree winter garage over night.
Tomorrow we grill…..
Food is just like anything else in life, in order to really enjoy it there are rules. Granted, enjoying food isn’t really the most challenging task in the world, but these rules are designed to help you achieve a more in depth love of your culinary delicacies.
- First thing’s first, NO FAST FOOD! I know I know, this is a view point that is controversial and many of us prefer our quick fix solution for a “meal” but this stuff is just gross. In fact many times I’m not even 100% sure that this food can really be considered food. If you have to eat on the go try to hit somewhere with more local ties. Not only will the food taste better but you’re also helping your community. Win win.
2. Easy on the condiments. There’s a time and a place for condiments but in reality their use is massively over killed in our society. Ranch on pizza…. GET OUT! In fact let’s just get rid of Ranch dressing all together. Condiments are fine when used in moderation, but at no point should they be used to mask the flavor of the vessel they’re going on. A sausage requires mustard, a chicken wing requires blue cheese (NOT RANCH) and there’s a wide variety of applications for hot sauce. There’s no need to cover a perfectly good steak with some random goop found in the salad dressing aisle at Walmart.
3. Embrace the weird! When it comes to eating don’t be scared off by something that looks like it might be weird. There’s no shortage of weird looking items in your produce aisle and all those bizarre fruits and veggies might open your eyes to a truly blissful food experience. Have a friend that is offering you durian encrusted fried chicken? Fear not! Eat that bird right up, it might be amazing! Remember, when you eat it should be the food that’s afraid of you!
4. Food and Booze are friends! Whether you’re using a wine to deglaze a pan or marinating some chicken in a summer wheat ale the applications for booze in cooking are almost limitless. Plus whatever you don’t use for cooking you can drink, a definite benefit!
5. Cook for yourself! You don’t have to cook every night, or even every day. But you should have a few, or a bunch, of dishes that you can whip up for yourself. Maybe your forte is smoking meat in the middle of winter, or maybe it’s whipping up a pot of chili to graze on over the course of a weekend. Cooking for yourself will make you appreciate food in restaurants more and you’ll figure out little nuances that make each meal your own. Sure, the cleaning up after part kind of sucks, but the end result of a well cooked meal is an extremely rewarding simple pleasure in life.
My name is John Fahrner, I’m the editor of the site Sommbeer. Over the last few years David (the founder of Sommbeer) and myself have been working to build a community dedicated to sharing our love for craft beer. Sommbeer isn’t going anywhere, but as we’ve continued to work on Sommbeer we’ve noticed one reoccurring subject that keeps coming up in our writings, travels, and social interactions. Simply stated we love food. Cooking food, smoking meats, ordering take out, or pairing food with a craft beer. With this in mind we decided it was time to launch a new project, and thus Sommeats was born!
We’re planning to create a community based around food, just like we did with Sommbeer. Also just like Sommbeer we will always be looking for writers to contribute and express their passion for food. Recipes, techniques, reviews, recommendations, or even just food wisdom and debate is welcome on Sommeats. If you’re interested in contributing please check out our writers page on Sommbeer and send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can get you set up.
Also just like Sommbeer let’s remember Sommeats is about fun. Our motto on Sommbeer has always been that we don’t take serious beer too seriously. Like beer, food is meant to be enjoyed, not stressed out over or blown up into something bigger than it is. Have fun, sit back, grab a beer and a taco and Welcome to Sommeats!