ON COOKING: Creating flavour when cooking meat

Chef Dez shares some ideas for preparing with marinades

Chef Dez offers tips to marinate and sear meat for optimum taste. (Black Press Media files)

by Chef Dez/Special to Black Press Media

For many of us, meat is an important part of our daily diet. Whether it be beef, lamb, pork or chicken, it is important to know the basics of creating the most flavour possible.

Marinades seem to be first and foremost in people’s minds when it comes to creating flavour in cooked meats.

Although they do create flavour, they are also important in making a cut of meat more tender.

The best marinades are made up from the simplest of ingredients that you have in your home already.

Please don’t rely on the packages of powder you find at the supermarkets.

Marinades are made up from a base, an acid, flavourful ingredients, and salt.

The base of a marinade is usually oil, as this will aid in the cooking process.

An acid such as vinegar, wine, or lemon juice is added to breakdown the tougher proteins found in the meat.

Red meats, depending on the cuts, are the toughest and are better to marinate from one hour up to 24 hours.

Chicken and pork proteins are much more delicate and are more preferably marinated for no longer than four to six hours. Over marinated chicken will actually start to become tough.

RECENT COLUMN – ON COOKING: Berry good ideas from Chef Dez

The flavour combinations that can be added to a marinade are literally endless.

Crushed garlic, herbs, spices, and condiments, are just a few.

Be creative! Don’t forget the salt as it is crucial to assist in the marinade penetrating the meat thoroughly.

Flavour creation does not only exist by marinating.

Searing meats, marinated or not, is very important. There is usually no cooking method that should exempt one from searing meat first.

This develops a crust that will carry flavour all the way through to the finished dish one is preparing. Stew, for example, has a more developed beef flavour when the stew meat pieces are browned prior to the addition of other ingredients.

Many presume searing seals juices inside the meat. This, however, is incorrect as no amount of searing can prevent the loss of moisture.

The flavour in crust development can be enhanced even further by the addition of seasoning.

You may want to add salt and pepper to the meat prior to searing.

This simple seasoning will then become part of the meat’s outer shell.

Applying dry rubs, consisting of a mixture of many different spices, prior to searing is popular for adding a complexity of flavours.

Searing should be done at a high temperature with a small amount of oil that is suitable for high temperatures, such as avocado oil, grape seed oil, rice bran oil, or even canola or vegetable oil in a pinch.

Do not crowd the pan or surface area, as this will decrease the temperature and cause the meat to simmer in its juices rather than caramelize.

Searing also creates “browned bits” (called fond) on the bottom of a pan. Fond will also add depth in flavour to a sauce being created.

To achieve this, add a liquid, such as wine or stock, to the pan and loosen these bits with a wooden spoon – just make sure the pan is not too hot and there is very little residual oil left in the pan. Use this liquid as a part of the sauce or reduce it further it to become a sauce of its own – I will always add a splash of whipping cream for better colour and consistency.

The reduction process of these liquids will cause water to evaporate thus concentrating the flavours and creating a desired sauce consistency. Taste and adjust the sauce as necessary prior to serving.

OTHER SUGGESTIONS: Chef Dez says brine meat before they hit the grill

Furthermore, I cannot end this column without mentioning the benefit of cooking over charcoal.

Lump charcoal is one of the oldest known forms of cooking fuel to mankind. I am not talking about manmade square briquettes here, just natural lump charcoal (basically chunks of wood that are heated in a silo with very little or no oxygen).

The flavour complexity lump charcoal adds to meat, vegetables, and other foods is unparalleled to anything else and simply switching to lump charcoal from your usual choice of gas or propane as your grilling fuel will bring your food to a new level.

Happy cooking!

.

– Chef Dez is a food columnist and culinary instructor in the Fraser Valley. Visit him at www.chefdez.com. Send questions to dez@chefdez.com or to P.O. Box 2674, Abbotsford, B.C. V2T 6R4

________________________________

• Got a news tip. Email us at editor@langleyadvancetimes.com. We look forward to hearing from you. In the meantime, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

Ask a Chefcooking

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

BC Green Party announces candidate for Abbotsford South

Former provincial and municipal candidate Aird Flavelle seeks election

CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of Sept. 27

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

ELECTION: Libertarian Alex Joehl to run in Langley East

Second provincial run by Murrayville resident

Aldergrove farm invites artists for life drawing sessions

Art in the Country happens this Saturday, Oct. 3, at 26864 16th Ave

Langley Township’s Adastra Lab breaks local cannabis mold with extraction development

CEO Andrew Hale said changing market is leading to larger demand for distillate products

105 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death as health officials urge B.C. to remember safety protocols

There are currently 1268 active cases, with 3,337 people under public health monitoring

U.S. Presidential Debate Takeaways: An acrid tone from the opening minute

Here are key takeaways from the first of three scheduled presidential debates before Election Day on Nov. 3

Another death as COVID-19 outbreak at Delta Hospital climbs to 18 cases

Total of 12 patients and six staff in one unit have tested positive for COVID-19: Fraser Health

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. nurses report rise in depression, anxiety, exhaustion due to pandemic

A new UBC study looks into how the COVID-19 response has impacted frontline nurses

National child-care plan could help Canada rebound from COVID-induced economic crisis: prof

A $2 billion investment this year could help parents during second wave of pandemic

Search suspended for Indigenous elder last seen mushroom picking in northwest B.C.

Mushroom picker Thomas (Tommy) Dennis has been missing since Sept. 16

16 MLAs retiring from B.C. politics add up to $20M in pensions: Taxpayers Federation

Taxpayers pay $4 for every dollar MLAs contribute to their pensions

Most Read