Is anyone else looking for a recipe to grill up something savory and delicious for Father’s Day next weekend!? I was inspired by a new product at Trader Joes that uses rosemary, balsamic vinegar, and beef tri tip. Unfortunately, TJ’s didn’t make it gluten-free, so it won’t work for our family, but the list of ingredients gave me a place to start. To enhance the smoky-grill flavor, I substituted smoked salt for regular salt, and added in a dash of Spanish smoked paprika for a Mediterranean flair. Then I added a healthy spoonful of ground green tea, to boost the umami up over the top, and increase the health benefits of the marinade. I used top round and marinated for 36 hours – and it was pretty tasty! I think this would work really well with flank steak, tri tip, or any ‘good for marinating’ cut of beef.
Marinades are great for making a leaner and less-expensive cut of meat taste amazing, but in addition to being delicious, many studies have suggested that marinades can effectively reduce the carcinogen effects of grilling. We all love the beautiful markings and umami flavor imparted by the ‘Maillard reaction’* (the color and flavor that appears when amino acids and sugars in foods are exposed to high heat), but unfortunately, high-heat cooking may also increase cancer-causing compounds in meats.
The good news is that, according to this article in the Natural Medicine Journal**, there is strong evidence that certain marinade ingredients (including olive oil, vinegar, fruit juices, garlic and onions) can reduce the formation of cancer-causing HCA (heterocyclic amine) during grilling. And antioxidant-rich green tea is among a group of foods that has been shown in lab tests to neutralize the impact of HCA. You’ll notice I chose several of these beneficial ingredients, and then doubled-down by adding in green tea!
How to Make Antioxidant-rich Homemade BBQ Marinade
- ¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tb coarsely chopped garlic
- 1 Tb chopped fresh rosemary (or 1 tsp dried)
- ½ tsp Smoked Salt
- ½ tsp Spanish smoked paprika
- ½ tsp fresh cracked black pepper
- ½ tsp Sencha green tea powder
Mix the ingredients well, then massage into your choice of meat. Allow to marinate at least one hour, up to 36 hours.
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*Wikipedia “Maillard Reaction”
**Natural Medicine Journal “Marinades Reduce Heterocyclic Amines from Primitive Food Prepration Techniques” by Jacob Schor, ND, FABNO