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Cooking with Kyle: The perfect marinades for steak, chicken

OKLAHOMA CITY – What could be better than grilling out with your dad for Father’s Day?

First, for steaks such as filet, ribeye and T-bone, I suggest not using a marinade. Frankly, I am happy with salt and pepper – maybe a hint of garlic. The trick is to generously coat the steaks with salt and pepper, plus garlic if desired, 30-45 minutes before grilling. Allow the steaks to drop to room temperature after coating and while waiting for the 30-45 minutes.

If using a thinner, more economical cut such as tri-tip, skirt or sirloin steak, the marinade will help tenderize the meat and add flavor. This being said, do not use oil in a beef marinade. Beef is actually 75% water and water/oil don`t mix. The oil doesn’t help. Also, the rule of ‘the longer the marinade time, the more tender the steak’ is a myth. Marinades do not penetrate the entire steak – only the outer part. The acid in the marinade (citrus, vinegar, wine) will tenderize the outer portion, but will never penetrate the entire cut of meat. I suggest no more than 4 hours in any marinade. The result will be a nice, brown color and flavorful outside – plus a more tender product!

For chicken, a nice marinade gives a great flavor and color to the exterior. Because of the different chemistry between beef and chicken, oil is a positive addition to a chicken marinade, and chicken may sit in a marinade longer.
All marinades share three components: salt, flavoring and acid. Flavorings are various herbs – which should be selected by the assertiveness of the protein. Thyme compliments chicken, but is lost between the char flavor and assertiveness of beef. Beef requires garlic, rosemary, cayenne or other stronger flavors. Acids include citrus, various vinegars and wine.

Here are two, easy and similar marinades I use – one for beef and one for chicken.

Chicken Marinade:
4 boneless, skinless breasts
1/4 C balsamic vinegar
Juice of two small or medium limes
2 T Dijon mustard
2 T brown sugar
1 T Worcestershire
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 t dried thyme (or few sprigs fresh)
1/2 t dried oregano (or few leaves fresh)
1 t kosher or sea salt
1/2-1 t cracked pepper
Whisk together ingredients. Pour over chicken breasts in Ziplock bag and refrigerate between 4 and 8 hours, turning bag occasionally. Charcoal over medium heat until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.

Beef Marinade for Sirloin, Tri-tip or Skirt. (I also use for Strip)
1/2 C (soy sauce, balsamic vinegar or red wine)
1/3 C fresh lemon or lime juice
1 heaping T brown sugar
1/4 C Worcestershire sauce
2 T garlic powder OR 4 cloves minced garlic
3 T dried basil or few sprigs fresh
1 t ground pepper
1 t crushed red pepper
Whisk together all ingredients. Pour over 4 steaks in Ziplock and refrigerate for at least one hour, but no more than 4 hours. Remove steaks from bag, place on platter and generously sprinkle with salt. Grill over medium-medium high heat until cooked to desired temperature. Allow steaks to rest 5-10 minutes before cutting.