“Uncle Smokey” here this week to share a marinade sauce I created and have been refining for barbequing beef or chicken. I use it before cooking, as a marinade, and during cooking, to help infuse flavor.

I confess, I have not written much yet on this site, mostly because it’s summertime in the Southwest. During the summer months it’s too blazing hot at dinner time to go outside and stand anywhere near a hot grill, let alone hover nearby any sort of fire as meat cooks. Since I also don’t want to heat the house up by cooking inside, I have been eating many salads. Granted, they are chef’s salads, loaded with protein, and topped with a luscious dressing (see here) but still, sometimes a person gets a hankering for a real serving of meat.

Chicken breasts can be bland, but this marinade perks ’em right up.
Thinner Cuts For Summer Grilling

To lessen cooking time, thinner cuts of meat work well. For beef, flank steak or skirt steak are one option. If you like chicken, boneless-skinless chicken thighs are worth the extra price because they cook quickly, saving time spent by the heat-generating grill. And money for gas if you are really thrifty. Bone-in cuts of chicken (thighs, drumsticks) take longer to cook through, because the bone stays cool for a long time.

Thinner cuts of meat cook fast. Don’t overcook!
Tenderize Your Meat

Thinner cuts of beef tend to be tougher and thus benefit from some tenderizing. Tenderizing can be done mechanically – by beating on it with one of those meat mallets. The other way sounds off-putting, but hear me out. Tenderizing can also be done chemically – using chemical compounds that help break down meat proteins. Bet you have those chemical compounds in your kitchen and I’m not talking under the sink! Lemon juice, lime juice, vinegar, and to a degree Worcestershire sauce all help tenderize meat. Indeed, Ceviche shrimp is not truly raw, it is “cooked” with lemon and lime juice.

One of those old time ways of tenderizing meat. I like to let the lemon juice in the marinade do the hard work.
Marinade to Tenderize

This marinade recipe uses both lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce to help tenderize the meat. I made it first for chicken and found that it also works well with beef. Due to a spouse-type person with digestion issues, I often leave the chiltepene out, but go for it if you like it hot.

So many chilis – you pick the amount of heat you like.
Pot Selection for Making Marinade

Indoors, I prefer to cook over gas and in cast iron or stainless steel. For this marinade sauce, I like a deep sided cast iron skillet that has a snug fitting lid. Since I have to do the clean up, I try to use as few dishes as possible.  There are lots of places to learn more about cast iron cooking and cookware. Like from the makers – Lodge.

Honey Barbecue Marinade

[[[ Editors note – about this ingredient list – google gets all upset if more than one “sentence” in a row begins with the same word (in this case “1”), so we list ingredients first, then the amount.]]]

medium onion, minced finely
garlic, 2 cloves minced finely
high temperature cooking oil, like avocado, 1/2 cup
honey, 1/2 cup
tomato paste, one 6 ounce can
water, 1 cup
Worcestershire sauce, 1/2cup
lemon juice, 1/2 cup
salt, 1 tablespoon
optional – dried whole chiltepenes, 6 to 10

Tip – measure the oil first, then use the same 1/2 cup for the honey. It won’t stick so much due to the oily residue.

Prepare the Marinade

Saute onion and garlic in oil until transparent.
Add remaining ingredients and simmer on low for 15 minutes to an hour to blend the flavors.
I’m supposed to tell you to refridgerate this sauce right away or you are going to get sixteen kinds of food poisoning and die. I simply use it that day.

You can easily saute more onions than you need and serve them as a side dish.
Use the Marinade

When you use your marinade, be sure the meat is entirely coated with the sauce, and leave it set a minimum of 45 minutes. All day works too.  A friend with a working refrigerator tells me that 24 hours is a tad too long to soak chicken with this marinade.

Off Grid Cooking

Living off grid means I do things in a somewhat old fashioned way. I cook the marinade in the morning, turn the heat off, dump the meat into marinade, stir well to coat the meat entirely, and leave it sit for the day. But – life happens. Sometimes the meat is cooked late at night by head lamp, but I have never dared not cook it after it has sat out for the day.

Enjoy! And do let me know if you like it. I also welcome any refinements you might try, you can post them on our Facebook page – Savor the Southwest (SavortheSW).

More cooking with honey tips on our blog – here.

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