The basic premises of preparing a marinade for any piece of meat
centers around three basic parts. The first thing you need is
cooking oil. The next thing you need is an acid such as vinegar.
The third ingredient is spices and/or herbs. That's it!
OK, let's get down to some basic principals so that you can begin
creating some of your own masterpieces.
Rule No. 1 - Make the oil/vinegar proportions equal. Say one cup each or 1/2 cup each. You get the picture.
Rule No. 2 - Don't over power the marinade
with spices. Salt, sugar and garlic are universal flavorings.
Also so are, peppers, basil, oregano, dried mustard, onion and
the list goes on.
Add the vinegar to the bowl first and then with a small/medium
whisk, begin blending in the oil in small quantities until it is
all blended together. If you try to do it all at once, they will
not blend thoroughly and there will be a price to pay. Once the
oil/vinegar mix has been thoroughly blended, then begin adding
your spices and herbs.
Be creative and make the favor of your choice. Try some of the
following in your marinades and keep a record of what you added
to that it can be duplicated and handed down from generation to
generation as "Uncle Tom's" or "Aunt Jane's" secret recipe!
Oils: Olive (Light, Classic), Vegetable Oil, Butter, Canola,
Acids: White Vinegar, Red Wine Vinegar, Lemon Juice, Lime Juice,
Dill Pickle Juice, Grapefruit Juice, Cider Vinegar, Pineapple
Spices/Herbs: Basil, Pepper, Sugar, Salt, Garlic, Dry Mustard,
Onion, Honey, Soy, Molasses, Brown Sugar, Parsley, Rosemary,
Ginger, Celery Seeds, Mint Leaves, Zest, Chicken Stock, Cumin,
If you had a copy of Smoky's new book, you would find on
page 229 his preamble:
"Among many misinformed, myriad malodorous mixtures masquerade as
meaningful marinades. Misuse of marinades, a common waste of time and
resources, comes from a misunderstanding of the real purpose of
marinating. Marinating is to either to tenderize or change the basic
flavor of the marinade"
To that end, he goes on to state that there are two different types
of marinades that can be used in flavorings.
"The first tames a strong flavor. This is for use on old venison and
other gamely meats and fish with a slightly strong odor. These
marinades are built to absorb. They will contain salt, vinegar, milk,
buttermilk or combinations thereof. Milk is especially effective.
Powdered milk works just as well as whole milk. These marinades are
usually discarded while those containing acid may be boiled, then
used as a baste. The latter is what was discussed above."