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Barbecue season essentials and meats and ingredients for the same

Barbecue Season | How to Marinate Meats & Sea Food

Written by: Aditi Gupta



Time to read 5 min

 Winter to spring transitions are perefct for barbecues. The palate is craving rich food and succulent bites and smoky flavors. The teetotallers are sipping on their ‘garam chai’ or ‘hot kaapi’ and those who drink have the perfect excuse for pouring one by a fireside or a grill. 

“ It has a certain nostalgic quality to it, setting up a tandoor and sitting around it with family and friends.” says Kanta Gupta, an octogenarian from Delhi. “.The typical North Indian family used to be extensive in earlier times, and while a large number of people within these families used to be vegetarian, the men folk loved their hunting games.Since we couldn’t cook meat in the kitchen, they would set up a fire, a small bonfire/ angithi and we would roast or just dry heat food on the fire.” Spices were locally sourced and since North India and pockets of the Deccan region is majorly influenced by Mughal & Nawabi cuisine the marinates were more or less the same.

So this barbecue season we bring you some of our favourite marinades and tips from professional chefs and barbecue enthusiasts to grill to perfection.

Barbecue Season | Then & Now

Times have changed, and we replaced the ‘angithis’ and tandoors with more sophisticated paraphernalia. With some people swear by their electrical grills,  who are we kidding, can we ever replace the smoky flavors of the charcoal fuelled grill ever? 
However not every barbecue tastes the same? Does it ? If you are left wondering why is it that your kebabs and tikkas are not tasting as good as the neighbourhood dhaba or why is it that your meats are tasting undercooked yet dry, read on to know a well kept secret of making the best grilled food

Marinating & Seasoning : The first and the most Important Step of Grilling.

The most intricate part of grilling is not cooking the meats but preparing them.You can grill almost anything : fruits, vegetables, meats, seafood and as it is with cooking what flavors the meat brings out the real taste of the same. The tendering of meats with yogurt` or the more acidic lemon juice and vinegar and the right blend of spices to the meats. 
The reason ‘Salt Bae’ became a rage was not just in the theatrics of how he seasoned his meats but also the careful prepping of every variety of meat on the menu. All meats - red, white, sea food have a different texture to them. You cannot prepare the same blend of marination for all of them.

Preparing white meats for the barbecue season 

Chicken is one of the most popular meats in the world. Every culture has its own recipes and flavors to add to the white meat. Marinating different parts of a chicken is a culinary art that allows for the infusion of flavors, tenderness, and juiciness into various cuts. Each part of the chicken offers a distinct texture and taste, making thoughtful marination crucial for a well-rounded dining experience. For chicken breasts, a shorter marination time is often recommended to prevent the meat from becoming overly tenderized. A simple combination of citrus, herbs, and olive oil can enhance the natural flavors without overpowering. Thighs and drumsticks, being more robust and flavorful, benefit from longer marination periods. A marinade with soy sauce, garlic, and ginger can add depth and richness to these cuts. Wings, with their unique skin-to-meat ratio, are perfect for bold and spicy marinades lnIndia we prefer the classical tandoori blend of yogurt and added spices like cilantro, red chillies and cinnamon . 
Additionally, marinating whole chickens, whether roasted or grilled, allows for the flavors to permeate the entire bird, creating a delicious and harmonious taste throughout the dish. The key is to tailor the marinade to complement the characteristics of each chicken part, resulting in a well-balanced and delectable culinary masterpiece.

Seasoning & Marinating Red Meats 

Marinating goat and lamb meat involves a strategic approach to enhance their natural flavors and tenderness. When seasoning goat meat, particularly tougher cuts like the shoulder or shank, an extended marinating time is crucial to break down connective tissues and impart rich flavors. A robust marinade with a blend of aromatic spices, yogurt, and acidic elements like lemon juice can elevate the taste of goat meat, creating a succulent and well-seasoned dish. On the other hand, lamb, known for its tender texture, benefits from shorter marination periods. A flavorful mix of garlic, rosemary, and olive oil can complement the inherent sweetness of lamb without overwhelming its delicate taste. Whether grilling chops, roasting leg of lamb, or stewing goat curry, a thoughtful marinating process ensures a harmonious fusion of spices, creating a delightful culinary experience that celebrates the unique qualities of goat and lamb meat.

  • Dry Rubs:Create a dry rub with a mixture of spices like garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper.Apply the rub generously to the seafood before cooking.
  • Butter and Garlic:Baste seafood with a garlic-infused butter during grilling or baking for added richness.Fresh Herbs:Sprinkle freshly chopped herbs like parsley, cilantro, or dill on seafood just before serving for a burst of freshness.
  • Citrus Zest:Grate the zest of citrus fruits (lemon, lime, orange) over the cooked seafood for a bright and zesty flavor. Sauces and Condiments:Serve with complimentary sauces such as a lemon-butter sauce, aioli, or a light vinaigrette.
  • Experiment:Don't be afraid to experiment with different seasonings and flavors to find combinations you enjoy.

basa fish on a firey grill

In the spirit of experimentation we discovered the most amazing paste that will taste like nothing you have ever had before on the grills. Discover marinating with the Recheado paste. Recheado means stuffed in portuguese. But if you have ever been to Goa then you know that a Fish Recheado is more than a stuffed pomfret. It has a delicious texture and a wonderful tropical flavor. As Chef Crescentia Fernandes points out , lots of people have said that a fish coated in Recheado masala is amazing, though I always prepared the dish by slitting the fish from the vein and adding a generous amount of masala and then lightly coating it with semolina and a little bit of the paste. But I think the traditional paste would make an amazing marinade as well.
Recheado is packed with a variety of spices, including cumin, coriander, red chilies, and more. This combination creates a complex and robust flavor that can elevate the taste of your meat or seafood. The acidic component in recheado, often from vinegar or tamarind, can help tenderize meats, making them more succulent and enjoyable. Recheado is versatile and can be used with various proteins, including fish, chicken, lamb, or pork. It adds a unique and delicious twist to different dishes. If you enjoy spicy food, Recheado provides a good amount of heat. If you're looking to create dishes with an authentic Goan or coastal Indian flavor, using Recheado aligns with traditional culinary practices

A few more tips to make your barbecue the ultimate culinary experience -

  • Temperature Matters:
    Bring the meat to room temperature before cooking. Cold meat can take longer to cook and may not achieve the desired flavor profile.
  • Add Umami:
    Consider adding ingredients with natural umami, such as soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, or fish sauce. These can contribute savory depth to the marinade.

  • Customize to Preference:
    Adapt your marinade to suit your taste preferences. Don't hesitate to experiment with different herbs, spices, and liquids until you find your perfect combination.

  • Presentation:
    Present the seasoned meat in an aesthetically pleasing way. While Salt Bae's signature move may not be practical for everyone, taking care in how you present the dish can enhance the dining experience.  

  • Serve Side Dishes :
    Create some flavorful salads or finger foods that can give an interlude between the meats.
    Marination Time: Marinate the meat for at least a few hours, or preferably overnight. This allows the flavors to penetrate the protein thoroughly.

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