Try Marinating Your Meat After Grilling

Barbecue season is on the horizon. Along with blooming flowers and fresh cut grass, spring welcomes countless grills onto family yards and patios after a long winter. Whether you're the king of the backyard barbecue or stepping up to the grill for the first time, make this the summer where you use a reverse marinade.

Common knowledge says that the first step to getting that perfectly tender, richly flavored meat is to let it sit in a marinade — and the longer the better. While some chefs swear by the powers of the marinade for a perfectly charred chicken breast or thigh, it's not the only way to go. MyRecipes says their new favorite approach is to skip the first marinade altogether, and go for a reverse marinade instead. According to Bon Appétit, this method is similar to the escabèche technique, which involves cooking fish and meat before preserving them in an acidic mixture and originated in the Mediterranean region of Europe.

Huffington Post notes that marinating meat before it's cooked may actually cause more problems than it solves. They report that marinades only add minimal flavor because they can only penetrate the outer flesh of the meat. Using a more acidic marinade to penetrate deeper might only create a mushy exterior and tough interior as well. Protein molecules respond to high acidity by packing closer together. This molecular shift then drains moisture from the meat.

The benefits of reverse marinades

To make the most of your marinade, MyRecipes recommends placing your finished meat in a shallow tray with the marinade as soon as it's done cooking, and flipping it every 2 to 3 minutes to allow both sides to soak sufficiently. This will give the meat sufficient rest time before being served — which you should be doing anyways – and actually saves time by letting you marinade at the same time. It also warms the marinade to enhance its flavors and infuses it with some of the juices from the meat.

Using a reverse marinade allows it to be preserved for use as a sauce. Pre-marinades have to be thrown away once they've served their purpose because of their contact with raw meat. Using the reverse marinade, however, means all of those ingredients won't go to waste and can be spooned onto the plate of a hungry guest instead.

Huffington Post also recommends the reverse marinade for bringing out brighter flavors. Much of the flavor of a marinade can be cooked off under the heat of the grill. By adding it to a marinade after the meat's already been cooked, more of the marinade's flavors are preserved, and stay with the meat. It also doesn't require any new recipes. You can still use a tried and true marinade whether it's homemade or store bought.