Ever wonder how two cooks can make the same recipe and they come out different? One cook makes the dish and it tastes good. The original cook makes the same dish and for some reason no one wants to explain, it doesn’t just taste good it tastes great. Wonder no more! The secret is simple. The original cook uses certain brands of ingredients and also changes the recipe. A digital cookbook is the perfect place to document such changes. As always I leave the original alone and highlight what changes I’ve made.
I moved away from all olive oil to a mixture of olive and canola oils. The soy sauce I use comes from Thailand and is the Happy Boy Thin variety. While I prefer this brand you may not be able to find it in your local Asian grocery. Also be aware that MSG is listed as an ingredient so avoid if you have any sensitivity to this substance. Both of these changes lighten the marinade. Kikkoman which is found almost everywhere is an example of a dark soy sauce. The amounts of brown sugar and ketchup are a little higher than in the original. Thus, this version is a slight bit sweeter. Finally, garlic powder subs for fresh garlic and I’ve added onion powder to the marinade.
It is summer and it is hot. We’ve had several 100 degree plus days already and when the heat is on I think about grilling. Don’t heat up the kitchen and minimize the mess. Fearing the Rut I began to think about the limes I had in the fridge and thought “I wonder if there are any chili lime marinade recipes on the Internet?”.
There are literally dozens of chili lime recipes on the Internet. So I looked at several and while different they were all basically the same. They all looked like taco seasoning with oil and lime juice tossed in. So for the record, I didn’t steal this rub. But since they’re all very, very similar I’m calling this stuff The Unoriginal Chili Lime Rub.
The recipe makes enough rub for a little over a pound of animal protein. If you are cooking for a crowd doubling or tripling this recipe should work out fine. I made boneless chicken breasts to test the rub and the meat turned out well. Unlike marinades, just rub on the rub and let the protein sit at room temperature for 30-45 minutes. Grill until done. Eat.
Mix all dry ingredients together.
Add the wet ingredients and mix thoroughly. You should have a wet rub with the consistency of a loose paste. If the rub is too thick, add a touch more oil. The hot sauce can be omitted or kicked up to taste.
Slather (like this word?) your animal protein with the rub, making certain the entire surface area is SLATHERED.
Allow the protein to sit at room temperature for 30-45 minutes before hitting the grill.
The rub was so tasty The Boss and I decided it was a keeper. I’m looking forward to using this rub on chicken thighs, beef, and pork. NO FISH. Really, no fish. That could get ugly. TOFU? You try that first and let me know.
The gang was coming over for dinner. I wanted something simple and tasty. The weather was perfect. I had just purchased a full tank of propane. It was time to grill again. For decades our go to marinade has been the Iki Marinade.
My next thought was chicken. But the local store was selling tri tip steaks for $4 a pound. So I bought a package. If you’re familiar with this particular cut you know you typically get irregular pieces of steak in any given package. Butchers are smart. They will flip a piece of meat so that the side facing the buyer looks awesome. You buy, take the package home, and open only to discover one of the pieces is really, really small and someone will get the pipsqueak. When you see a picture of this steak you’ll understand what I’m talking about.
Irregular shaped steaks are a pain in the ass to cook. So I cut each steak in half and pounded the hell out of them until they were about a half inch thick. The flattening helps tenderize the meat and grill more evenly than when left whole.
For Father’s Day I had to fire up the grill but I didn’t want to repeat the Iki Marinade which we use more than frequently. I got online and started searching “Lime Marinade”. Use this search term if you want to get instantly overwhelmed by the number and variety of lime juice based marinades. So I gave up and made my own. I’m sure if you search far and wide enough I’ve probably “stolen” most, if not all, of the ingredient list from some other food blogger trying to make a living stealing recipes from other food websites, changing one ingredient, and calling it an original. So if you feel this marinade is your property I apologize up front. Any resemblance to your recipe is a pure coincidence.
I marinated some petite sirloins and boneless chicken thighs. I think this marinade works better with chicken.
The propane tank ran dry before I finished cooking the meats.
If you have a propane gas grill, keep a stove top grill or griddle around. You can always finish the grilling indoors which is what I had to do. Try fresh cilantro. I used dry because I didn’t have any fresh on hand. If you like your marinade a little sweeter, add another tablespoon of brown sugar.
The good news is the tri tip steak I made a while ago was deemed very good.
The bad news is I didn’t get to have any. The steaks were smaller than I thought so I didn’t get a piece. Same as when I was growing up, Dad would serve dinner family style and let everyone else pick their protein first. Dad got the pieces everyone else didn’t want. The last time I grilled tri tip steaks I got chicken.
I had to buy more. This time I bought the entire roast and carved it into steaks myself. At roughly a pound and a half I saved $1.50.
The triangle pieces are small and the first cut had a pretty thick cap of fat making the “steak” even smaller. I now understand why butchers turned this muscle into stew meat.
Tonight I am marinating the steaks in a lemon soy bath. We’ll see how they turn out.
Update 6:00 PM
The steaks turned out great. I froze the strip steak like pieces and grilled the smaller chunks. I managed to cook the meat until it was medium and it wasn’t tough or chewy. Don’t cook tri tip past medium or you will end up with chewy odd shaped hockey pucks. The marinade turned out decent for a throw together bath.
Turning and turning in the widening gyre | The falcon cannot hear the falconer | Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold | Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world | The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere | The ceremony of innocence is drowned | The best lack all conviction, while the worst | Are full of passionate intensity. -- W.B. Yeats, The Second Coming