Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Beer Marinade

Last night, I cooked dinner for about 15. It was sort of a surprise thing--I knew that I was cooking for 6 plus two munchkins, but on Sunday night we discovered that Justin's grandpa was coming into town, and would only be here Monday and Tuesday. Of course, our Monday and Tuesday were already jam-packed, and we wouldn't have likely been able to see them. After much talking, J and I decided yesterday to invite his Grandpa and Margaret over to see our new house and have dinner along with the band, since most of the band is J's family anyway. I was hopeful that we'd still be able to accomplish some band business, after dinner, but due to several different things (i.e. Justin taking a full HOUR to sign our new insurance papers...I still have no idea why, it only took me five minutes that morning), we didn't eat as soon as I was hoping we would, which then didn't leave us as much time to discuss things as I was hoping it would. Then, when we DID start meeting, it was just too many cooks in the kitchen--there were 15 people to give their opinions rather than 6, and things just took much longer than normal. But hey, that's life. I was glad to have everyone over--it was a blessing, even if it wasn't the most productive band practice in the world.

But on to the important things--the marinade for the butt-load of steaks that I made for dinner turned out quite well, and so I thought I'd share. First of all, the key to any marinade is having the 4-5 S's- Salt, Sweet, Sour, Savory, and (optional) Spicy. A little bit of oil is also ideal, but I forget that 9 times out of 10. For this particular marinade I used:

Salt: Fresh ground sea salt (about 10 clicks of the grinder per 4-5 steaks)
Sweet: Brown Sugar (about 1/4 Cup per 4-5 steaks)
Sour: Black Butte Porter Beer (1 bottle per 4-5 steaks)
Savory: Worcestershire Sauce and Garlic (3-4 shakes Wor. and a spoonful of minced garlic)
Spicy: Chili Powder (4-5 shakes)

Now, the "Sour" category is really more acid than anything else. Lemon, lime, coffee, or even soda would also work (though if you use soda, you probably wouldn't need to add much from the sweet category). Keep in mind that marinades are really pretty flexible--add the spices and flavors that you and your family like. There's no particular amount of each item to add, it's just a little bit of trial and error.

For this particular marinade, I only left the meat in from 9am to 5pm. I find that it starts to get a bit mealy overnight. I typically discard the marinade, but you could also bring it to a hard boil, and then serve it as a dipping sauce.


  1. Bummer on the hoopla, but that marinade sounds fabulous!

  2. "Last night, I cooked dinner for about 15. It was sort of a surprise thing" umm hello? You are amazing!!

    Plus- thanks for the tips about marinades. I had no idea.


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