Spice Rubs and Marinades
What are rubs, brines and marinades and how are they used?
Answer: Spice rubs, marinades and brines are some of my favourite cooking practices using everyday. It’s the opportunity where any cook can be creative in manipulating the texture,
tenderness and most importantly, flavour of meat. They can also help transform tougher cuts of meat into a melt-in-your-mouth meal, plus they are easy to make.
So, let’s start with brines and marinades. Basic brine is a saltwater solution, usually 3% salt to water weight (the brine should taste like sea water).
Its sole purpose is to help retain moisture in a product. It also helps evenly distribute your other seasonings, so that your meat has a consistent flavour throughout. You can add flavours to your brine like maple syrup, honey, crushed garlic or herbs as well. For example, I make a brine for pork chops using salt, half water-half apple juice, some crushed garlic and chopped rosemary. I let the chops sit in the brine for no longer than 12 hours with amazing results. Brines are best applied when using poultry, pork and fish (only brine fish for a maximum of 30 minutes).
A marinade is similar in the sense that most marinades contain salt, but also boast an acidic component, which helps break down meat proteins, making for tender meats. These acidic bases can be a mixture of lemon and oil, red wine and herbs, or tomato juice.
In some cases, the use of bacteria found in yogurt and buttermilk, like in tandoori chicken, is used to tenderize as well, giving a unique flavour to your product. Marinating a breast of chicken in buttermilk with herbs and a little bit of cider vinegar, a day before grilling -delicious.
Spice rubs are completely different. Most commonly used for BBQ, a rub is all about intense flavour. Use a good rub for cuts like pork shoulder, back ribs and brisket. These cuts tenderize due to the collagen in meat breaking down over long cooking periods, so this allows
the meat to absorb those wonderful spice combinations. As for what goes into a good rub, there are thousands of great spice combinations. If you are not interested in making your own, the Silk Road Spice Merchant in Inglewood has some great pre-made spice rubs.
Don’t hesitate to look up recipes for brines, marinades and rubs, becoming
confident in how these techniques are used will raise the bar in your protein cookery.
All Fitness __ Spice Rubs and Marinades
By chef JP Pedhirney
Chef JP Pedhirney is a Red Seal Certified Chef. He led
the kitchen at Rouge Restaurant as Chef de Cuisine
and is now the Executive Chef of Muse Restaurant in