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Go-to marinades: Two variations set up summer of easy grilling

Published: Tuesday, June 3, 2014 9:06 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, June 3, 2014 9:15 p.m. CDT
Caption
(Bill Hogan for the Chicago Tribune)
Sweet and tangy grilled pork tenderloin.

Family vacation food memories typically include hamburger stands and chain restaurants.

Ours, not so much. Instead, we frequented mom and pop grocery stores in search of just the right items to cook on the campfire. Dad tended to pork or chicken bronzing over a perfect pile of embers while the rest of us set the table and assembled a salad. Green vegetables emerged from the aluminum kettle on the camp stove.

My folks still prefer to cook. So do I. These days, I seek quick-cooking meals packed with bold flavor. During the week, a shiny grill proves speedier than a campfire yet still boosts flavor.

Here are some go-to marinades, one tangy and sweet, the other garlicky and spicy, sure to make the summer grilling season memorable.

Sweet and tangy ginger soy marinade

Prep: 10 minutes

Makes: a generous 1⁄2 cup

2 large shallots, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1⁄4 cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons tamarind pulp or 1⁄4 cup fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger or refrigerated ginger puree

2 teaspoons each: ground coriander, sugar

1 teaspoon each: salt, ground cumin

1⁄2 teaspoon cayenne, optional

Mix all ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Refrigerate covered up to 2 weeks.

Spicy garlicky red chili marinade

Prep: 5 minutes

Makes: about 1 cup

6 tablespoons Asian chili paste with garlic

¼ cup sugar

2 tablespoons each: soy sauce, unseasoned rice vinegar, Asian sesame oil

6 cloves garlic, crushed

2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger or refrigerated puree

Mix all ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Refrigerate covered up to 2 weeks.

Sweet and tangy grilled pork tenderloin

Prep: 15 minutes

Marinate: 30 minutes or up to 4 hours

Cook: 20 minutes

Makes: 4 to 6 servings

½ recipe sweet and tangy ginger-soy marinade

2 pieces, about 1 pound each, trimmed pork tenderloin

Cilantro sprigs

1. Put marinade into a plastic food bag or shallow baking dish. Add pork to the marinade; turn to coat. Refrigerate covered at least 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.

2. Prepare a charcoal grill or heat a gas grill to medium heat. Remove pork from marinade; place on grill directly over heat source. Cover grill; cook 10 minutes. Turn tenderloin; move to a cooler section of the grill. Continue grilling until an instant-read thermometer registers 135 degrees in the thickest portion, usually 10-15 minutes more.

3. Remove to a cutting board; let rest 10 minutes. Serve thinly sliced and garnished with cilantro.

Red chili chicken

Prep: 15 minutes

Cook: 15 minutes

Makes: 4 to 6 servings

2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts, or thin pork chops

½ recipe spicy garlicky red chili marinade

Chopped fresh green onions

Sesame seeds

1. Put chicken into a shallow baking dish. Smear marinade over all sides to coat it well. Refrigerate for 30 minutes if desired.

2. Prepare a charcoal grill or heat a gas grill to medium-high heat. Place chicken on grill, directly over heat source. Cover grill; cook 7 minutes. Flip meat; continue grilling until meat feels almost firm when pressed, 5-8 minutes more. Serve sprinkled with green onions and sesame seeds.

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