Merlot Marinade

Contributing Writer
Vicki McGraw

Well friends, let me start this week’s column with a clarification…the recipe in my last column contained a typo! The ingredient list called for 3 CUPS of milk and it should have called for 3 TABLESPOONS of milk. Good Grief, that mistake would make for some really soupy oatmeal! I’m sorry to anyone who may have made it and been disappointed in the results!

Now for some good news, finally, another new season is upon us! We have had our time of bad weather with this most recent cold, dreary and so very wet March and now we are poised to welcome April with all of its renewed glory. I don’t know about you, but I sure am ready to open the windows and let the sweet breezes of spring waft in and freshen up my stale house. I’m also ready to start grilling again!

While this wasn’t a really bad winter, weather-wise, we didn’t uncover the grill as often as I would like to have, so I am more than ready for the sizzle and smell of a thick, juicy steak, cooked to its perfectly rare bliss! That, along with a tender baked sweet potato and perhaps a nice bottle of Cabernet Sauvingon, I say dinner’s ready!

There are a few things I will need to do before grilling season can really commence, though. First off, since we haven’t used the grill in a couple of months, it will need to be cleaned. I will start by removing and soaking the grate in warm soapy water. I like to use a wire brush to scrape off any cooked on bits that my rag can’t quite remove. After it has air dried, I’ll lightly wipe it wipe cooking spray and set it aside while I tackle the grill itself.

The inside of grill itself (both bottom and lid) will need to be scraped to remove any dropped food bits and grease that may have accumulated. I like to use a small metal spatula or (new) putty knife to do this. Simply scrape down the sides and scoop out the debris with a paper towel or rag. I will also remove the burner plates and scrape them off if need be. Once the inside is clean, the cooking grate can be put back in.

Next, I will wipe down the outside of the grill. Finally, and probably most important, I will get the propane tank inspected and filled. I say inspected, because, as I was surprised to learn, tanks actually have a specific life span and are marked with a year of production. Once they have been used for a certain number of years, you will no longer be able to get them refilled, and will have to replace them. I always like to start a grilling season with a full tank on the grill, as well as a full back up tank. If you have ever run out of propane in the middle of a barbeque like I have, you will understand my reasoning for that!!

Once this is done, dear friends, the grilling season can commence! It’s time to stock up on burgers and dogs, chicken and chops, and a few nice steaks…let the party begin!

Merlot Marinade

  • 1 Cup dry red wine (you can substitute a dry white wine if desired)
  • ½ C Olive oil
  • 1 T Kosher Salt
  • ½ T freshly ground pepper
  • 1T fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 T fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 T fresh rosemary leaves, chopped

Mix all ingredients and store in an air-tight bottle for 24 hours before using, to let flavors mingle. Shake well before using. Store in a dark, cool cupboard.

To use marinade with beef, place meat in a zip lock bag and add ½ C marinade per 2 pounds of meat. Squeeze out excess air, seal and allow to rest in refrigerator for up to 24 hrs. When ready to cook, remove meat from bag and discard bag and excess marinade.

When making this marinade for use with chicken or pork, I prefer to use a dry white wine, such as chardonnay, rather than a red wine. White wine will offer a less pronounced flavor (and the red wine will add a purple hue to your meat, which you may not care for!). To marinate chicken or pork, place meat in a zip top bag and add ½ C marinade for every 2 pounds of meat. Squeeze out excess air, seal bag and refrigerate for up to 4 hrs. The longer it rests in the fridge, the more pronounced the flavor will be. When ready to cook, remove meat and discard remaining marinade.

To read more of Vicki McGraw’s commentaries on good cooking, fine recipes and perfect party treats, visit www.jamestowngazette.com and click on Join Me in the Kitchen’s own page. The Jamestown Gazette is proud to present our county’s most creative and original writers for your enjoyment and enlightenment.