Friday, February 1, 2013

Ginger Beer Marinade

        The other day I had my extended family over for a barbecue and decided to grill some ribs  I like the country style ribs as they have a lot of meat on them and I had some that I had previously bought on sale. I love to marinate and for all the obvious reasons. It adds moisture, flavor and helps tenderize the meat. They are also easy to make and use. I have also used ginger beer in a brine. Be sure to check out that post as well. A marinade is pretty much some type of liquid acid with seasonings that you soak the meat in prior to cooking. The acid is often vinegar, wine or lemon juice. So I whipped up a couple of batches of marinade for the ribs  The first one was my go to marinade for barbecue.
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 to 1 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1 teaspoonful liquid smoke - I consider this a must if not using wood or charcoal to cook with
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
        I usually put all this into a gallon zip-top bag and mix by squeezing from the outside and then put about two to three pounds of meat, or just whatever fits. Squeeze out all the air you can and zip the top shut. You can use pretty much any container that seals water tight. This then goes into the refrigerator for about two hours. I've done longer and that has worked great as well, but two hours seems to be sufficient most of the time. A marinade works from the outside in so flip the bag over about every fifteen to twenty minutes to make sure that all sides get to have as much contact with the marinade as possible. When you are ready grill the meat as you usually would. You can also reserve some of the marinade to baste with wile the meat is cooking. If you do that, make sure that you give it plenty of time for the marinade to fully cook. After all, raw meat was in that juice and you don't want to contaminate your food. I then grilled the ribs and brushed on more barbecue sauce about five minutes before I took them off the grill.

        So that's my usual method for grilling barbecue. In addition to the batch of marinated ribs I just mentioned I did a second batch and tried a new marinade. This one with Ginger Beer as part of the liquid. I was first introduced to ginger beer a while ago. It is a popular soda flavor in many parts of the world, just not in the United States. I find ginger beer to be much stronger than ginger ale, at least when it comes to the ginger. As soda is acidic it can potentially make a good marinade. I used a bottle of Reed's Ginger Beer. The Extra Ginger Brew kind. I picked it up a while back at a Fry's (Kroger) grocery store. I've also seen ginger beer at world markets and the soft drink section at Bev Mo. I enjoy ginger beer but this Extra Ginger Brew was too strong even for my taste, so I never got around to drinking this bottle. On to the marinade.
  • 1 bottle of ginger beer - I think any brand will do
  • a splash of lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1 teaspoonful liquid smoke - I consider this a must if not using wood or charcoal to cook with
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
        I just followed the steps mentioned above and it turned out great. I wasn't able to ever get all the air out of my zip-top bag as the carbonation in the ginger beer was constantly releasing gaseous carbon dioxide. I did my best though, and it did turn out great.
        I tried one without adding barbecue sauce on at the end, kind of like a control. It was juicy and had a nice flavor. So I think that this marinade is a good one even without the barbecue sauce. The ribs from this batch turned out great. They were more tender and the ginger flavor was a good addition to the barbecue flavor from the sauce. Both batches were great ribs, with the smokey flavor from the liquid smoke and the barbecue flavor from the sauce both working together to turn out an amazing flavor. The ginger beer marinade was a great enhancement to an already great flavor combination. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.


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