Friday, July 13, 2012

Steak Kabobs marinated with Maggi: part 1

Tomorrow we're having a cookout, so tonight I'm marinating some beef we got at BJ's.  I've heard that "cookout" is a term that is most common in New England; I remember when I was little we always called it a cookout.  That doesn't mean using the grill to cook outside then eat the food inside at the diner table.  A cookout means the food is prepared and consumed outside, and the participants should have fun.  To "have a cookout" is a social occasion.

Originally the plan was to have it at Houghton's Pond, where there are grills the public can use without advance reservations.  This also means we're at the mercy of how busy it is tomorrow, and some of the grills are closed due to park construction.

Beef Round for Kabobs
The meat I got was 2.5 lbs of "Beef Round for Kabobs" from BJ's.  They had some all natural, grass-fed choices there as well but they can get quite expensive.  At $3.99/lb this meat is made for marinating.  The pieces aren't all exactly the same size but that should give a little variety in how they cook.  When it comes times to skewer them I'll keep like pieces together.

All that's missing is the olive oil
 This recipe doesn't come from any specific website, but I took some of the common ingredients from many of the marinade recipes I found.  My wife loves this seasoning called "Maggi," which is something like soy sauce.  It's very salty and even has monosodium glutamate.  If you've never heard of MSG you should read about it; it's the thing that makes you feel like you've been drugged after you eat Chinese take-out.  It's pretty terrible for you, so use it sparingly.  It's used in some Asian cooking, and it's a popular ingredient in homemade salad dressings in Europe.  This bottle is a product of Mexico.  I'm using reduced sodium soy sauce (460mg sodium / Tbsp), and Maggi has 377mg sodium / 5 tsp (or 1131mg / Tbsp).  Here are the ingredients and quantities:

Maggi from Mexico
1 Tbsp = 15mL and 1tsp = 5mL

2.5 lbs beef round, cut into medallions or kabob size

Kabob Marinade

3 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp Maggi
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
some oregano
some fresh ground rainbow peppercorns
1/2 a small head of garlic, minced

I combined everything but the garlic from above in a small bowl and wisked it all together.  The oregano and peppercorns were in many of the recipes I found, but I wasn't going to include them.  Then I changed my mind at the last minute and threw some in anyway.  It doesn't matter what order you add the ingredients in, just throw them all in and whisk.

Before adding the garlic, oregano, and pepper
I have this OXO garlic press.  It's lasted years and years, but what can really go wrong with a garlic press?  I guess the hinge could break.  But the handles are hollow, so after cleaning it you have to be sure to empty any water that may be in the handles.  Maybe they've fixed this by now.  The handles of the new one (ad below) do look sportier.

I make sure to get every last bit of garlic from the press and get it in the mixture.  I don't understand people who don't like garlic.  They aren't welcome here.  At least for most of the things I cook.  (People who don't like garlic are, in fact, welcome)

My older version of the OXO garlic pres

The meat and marinade in the ziploc bag

Jack checking out the beef and marinade

I made sure to smell the marinade as I was mixing it, and asked my wife what she thought before I called it done.  I put the meat into a big ziploc bag and poured the marinade into the bag.  Because I'm a bit like Phil Hartman's anal-retentive chef character (related video above), I use a spatula to get every last bit of marinade out of the mixing bowl and into the ziploc bag.

Squeeze out the air and distribute the marinade
When everything is in the bag, squeeze out as much of the air from the bag as possible and make sure the marinade is spread around all the meat.  I took the bag and held it upside-down to mush everything around even more.

Spread out for the overnight.
When I felt the marinade was evenly distributed, I spread the meat out in the bag so it's not all bunched up as in the above pictures.  I'll leave it in the refrigerator overnight tonight for about 16 hours before we grill it tomorrow.

We'll see how it goes, check back tomorrow for cookout pics and the results.

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