Aug 12, 2012

Rubbing me the right way

Man, I've really got to stop naming my blog posts so that they sound like porno puns.  Gonna wind up getting blocked...or, more likely, beaten by people showing up hoping for some sex talk. Lesson learned: don't mess with people who want to get their freak on.

Anyway, this is kind of an off-the-top-of-my-head post.  It's Sunday afternoon and I'm bored, which is sometimes the perfect mood for blog writing. Yeah, that sounds about right.  So next time you don't see this blog updated for a while, just assume I'm off on an Indiana Jones / James Bond type adventure full of action, intrigue, and (of course) femme fatales.  Even if I'm not, it's the thought that counts.

Anyway, yesterday was a fun day.  A full day or BBQing and swimming.  Well ok, it was a full day of a bunch of other people swimming while I stood over a hot grill, tirelessly churning out burgers, dogs, and other assorted hunks of flesh. (Veggie burgers you ask? Begone from my sight, I reply!). Now hot dogs are easy.  I'm fairly sure even the most inept chefs can grill them up and do no worse than leave their guests with severe intestinal pain.  Burgers are a tad more complicated, but still not exactly rocket science: chop meat, some spices, maybe some chopped onions (for you filthy onion lovers out there), etc. Grill them for a few minutes on each side, add cheese, and you're pretty much home free. 

Steaks and chicken are where things get interesting.  While there's nothing wrong with grilling them up as is, if you're like me...well if you're like me then you have serious issues.  Let's refine that.  If your taste buds are like mine, you like a bit of a adventure to go along with your animal flesh.  What's a person to do when their tongue craves slightly more flavor than that dead carcass can provide?

Rubs (not to be confused with giving someone the Runs) and marinades to the rescue, I say!

I don't claim to be a top chef (although I might be tempted into a chili cook-off with Bobby Flay ;) , so I'll keep this in layman's terms (aka stuff I can understand). 

Marinading is the art (yes I said art!) of drenching your meat in some savory solution for several hours in the hope that said flavor will permeate whatever it is that you're cooking.  Even a complete moron can make a passable marinade.  Don't believe me?  Fine.  Go buy a steak, let's say a London Broil (those are my favorites).  It's ok, I'll wait.  Dum dee, dum dee, dum dum...alright, back yet?  Good.  Now grab a bottle of Italian dressing from the fridge.  You don't have any?  Christ!  Fine, back to the store with you.  Next time learn to read the entire directions before running off half-cocked.

Ok, are you ready now?  Put the steak in a bowl.  Pour the Italian dressing over the steak.  Now take a fork and stab the steak several times.  This will piss off the spirit of the cow in whatever Hell it now resides, thus causing it to rise from the grave for bloody revenge...oh wait, that's the plot of a future book.  Sorry.  No, the forking (back to the porn puns) is to help tenderize the meat as well as let some of that flavor sink in a little deeper.  Do it on both sides (of the steak, not the bowl).  Cover it with some plastic wrap and toss it into your fridge.  After a couple of hours cook it (once again, just the steak).  Voila!  You're marinaded your meat. 

Now as long as you don't burn the ever living shit out of it, when you sit down to eat it you should notice some nice tanginess in each bite.  Pretty awesome eh?  Just think of how that might taste when you get a little more bold with your choices: Spices, BBQ sauces, vinegars, wines, molasses, etc etc.  The sky's the limit...any liquidy goodness will do!*

*Any non-toxic liquid that is.  This blog will not be held responsible for any Drain-o flavored steaks you produce.

Then there are rubs.  There are two kinds of rubs: dry rubs and wet rubs.  I mostly prefer dry rubs, so you can wait for some other blogger to post about the wet ones.  Sorry, I never claimed life was fair.

Dry rubs can be applied either hours before cooking or right before.  They are exactly what they sound like: a mixture of dry spices that you rub all over your meat (steak or chicken...not yourself, pervs) and then cook.  If done well, a rub will seal in moisture resulting in a very juicy meal. It will also impart its flavor both into the meat as well as into the crust it will form when it cooks up.  The end result can be fabulous.

Personally I favor dry rubs because I tend to have a fairly well stocked spice cabinet.  Sometimes I'll just go nuts and throw in a little of everything.  Most often, I'll go for a particular flavor.  An example? Sure! I thought you'd never ask. Try 3 parts Chili powder to 1 part black pepper to one part lemon zest.  It will make an awesome lemon chili rub with a bit of a kick to it.

Pretty easy stuff all in all.  Highly recommended if you're up for some grilling, are at least semi competent at it, and are looking for a little more than a bit of salt and pepper will give you.

Give a try, let me know how it turns out**

**Unless you burn the crap out of it, in which case take a few cooking lessons first...

And if you have any awesome marinades or rubs to share, please do so in the comments.  I for one am always up for a good rubbing (ARGH! There I go again :).


Janie Junebug said...

I don't care much for rubbing, unless it's my back. I have some great marinades. I haven't used them in years because I just cook for moi, but Italian dressing is certainly good and an easy one.


Crazy Life of a Writing Mom said...

I'm sooo hungry right now! That sounds AMAZING--burgers, hot dogs AND chicken ;)

Tammy Bleck said...

Well, you are definitely talking a foreign language here. Grilling is something I leave to my man. Since last time I tried it the fire went all the way to the eve of the house ... well, not pretty. I have no idea what he puts on our food, but I hug and kiss him each time he does it. That, my friend, is the only rub I need to know about. Always enjoy your reads!

Alexia561 said...

Too afraid of causing a massive outbreak of food poisoning by undergrilling chicken, so I'll stick to hot dogs and hamburgers.

Rick G said...

I will admit, chicken is a PiTA on the grill. Worth it if it comes out right, but a headache compared to beef.