I remember not too long ago having this discussion with my brother-in-law – the chef. We were on a family vacation and I was tasked with prepping the chicken for the night’s dinner.
As I cleaned the excess fat off of the chicken, he asked me – why? I was a bit perplexed by this as I asked myself – well, doesn’t everyone do it this way? The answer to that question was clearly – NO!
I have noticed that I rarely see TV Chefs clean or marinate their chicken. Much to my dismay, I have come to the realization that a majority of celebrity chefs just add a bit of salt and pepper and throw their meats onto the grill or into the pot. Growing up, I have always watched my mom take great care to clean and marinate her meats. As a matter of fact, I played a major role in the marinating process. I was always tasked with prepping the seasonings that went into the marinade. Whenever she called me into the kitchen, she would say – preparé éspice la – which meant get the spices ready.
I would quickly grab the – pilon – which is the mortar we used to beat and blend the spices into a paste. Once I achieved her required consistency, the paste would then be added to the chicken during the marinating process. My mother’s go to spices were – whole cloves, garlic, salt, scotch bonnet peppers and parsley. I spoke a little about this in 7 must- have Creole Spices. I always felt that marinating your meat with spices adds flavor to the meat. Similar to the now popular brining concept, letting the meat sit in all of this amazing and tasty liquid helps to add another element to the meat. My mother’s meat was always good down to the bone. Some may find this disgusting, but her chicken was so good that often times we chewed down to the very marrow. I mean it was that good.
I guess growing up with a mom who really cared about cooking tasty food every night has truly impacted my cooking style. I don’t know that me marinating my meat makes my cooking better than anyone else’s, but it is how I was brought up to cook and it works for my family.