The Tastes of Summer: Grill Some Meat

Put down the knife, get out the blender and do your marinades right.

A long soak in a simple marinade can transform a dry, bland piece of meat into a flavor-packed meal. We asked Jim Tarantino, Merion Station resident and author of Marinades, Rubs, Brines, Cures, and Glazes (Ten Speed Press; $19.95), for pointers on how to do it right.

Get out the blender. The solid ingredients in a marinade, such as garlic, ginger and onions, hold a lot of tasty liquid inside, and chopping doesn’t maximize their potential. To release the full flavor, puree the marinade.

Give it some time. Most cooks throw the meat in as soon as the marinade is prepared, but its flavors don’t really begin to meld for about six hours. Combine your marinade components — minus any citrus ingredients, which are volatile — up to a day before you’re grilling. Add the meat and citrus simultaneously, and let sit in the refrigerator, turning regularly, preferably for six hours.

Keep away from sharp objects. Some backyard chefs like to poke, score or otherwise hack up their meat before marinating, with the theory that the marinade will better permeate the flesh. All this actually does is open the floodgates when the meat is placed on the grill.