Honey Marinade for Barbecue and Off-Grid

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

Thinner Cuts For Summer Grilling

Since summer is mostly upon us in the Southwest, I want to mention that one good way to spend less time at the grill is to focus on thinner cuts of meat. They have less cooking time. For beef, flank steak or skirt steak are one option. If you like chicken, boneless-skinless chicken thighs are nice because they cook quickly, saving time spent by the heat generating grill. (And save money for gas if you are really thrifty.) Bone-in cuts of chicken (thighs, drumsticks) take longer to cook, because the bone resists heating and stays cool for a long time.


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.


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 with digestion issues, I often leave the chiltepene out, but go for it if you like it hot.

Okay, these are chili de arbol – but they work well too.

Pot Selection for Making Marinade

Indoors, I prefer to cook over gas and in cast iron. For this marinade sauce, I like a deep sided cast iron skillet that has a snug fitting lid. Since the rule in our house is that the cook has to clean up, I try to use as few dishes as possible. I should say that the spouse generally helps with clean-up, and clean-up time is also often catch-up time, but this house rule of ours did away with a great deal of hard feelings about “messy” cooks.

Savorist Monica King keeps us well supplied with products of her busy bees!

Honey Barbecue Marinade

1 medium onion, minced finely
2 cloves garlic, minced finely
1/2 cup high temperature cooking oil, like avocado
1/2 cup honey, 1/2 cup
1 6 ounce can tomato paste, or a half pint jar of home-made
1 cup filtered water (chlorine is not tasty in food)
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce, can substitute more lemon juice
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon salt
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 refrigerate this sauce right away or you are going to get sixteen kinds of food poisoning and die. We just use it that day.


Using 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 us that 24 hours is a tad too long to soak chicken with this marinade.

Haven’t tried this yet – but I bet this marinade would taste great on grilled potatoes.

Off Grid Cooking

Living off grid means we 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 we 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 the Facebook page.

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Cover Image: Flank steak – thinner – cooks nice and quick.

More fun with honey in: Using Honey in New & Savory Ways (Tierra del Sol Institute Press). Only $7 online – or buy from Monica or Jacqueline in person. This link is to Amazon and if you buy the book there the Horticulture Therapy non-profit Tierra del Sol Institute will get a few pennies at no additional cost to you.

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