COOKING WITH CHEF JESS: Marinated meats make for great grilling

One thing I love about this time of year, other that the fact that the "s-word" is probably out of our forecasts until fall, is that when I get home from work at night, I am able to smell all of the delicious grills fired up in the neighborhood.

White wine and garlic add big flavor to swordfish. (Photo by Accent contributor Jessica Karley Rerick)
White wine and garlic add big flavor to swordfish. (Photo by Accent contributor Jessica Karley Rerick)

One thing I love about this time of year, other that the fact that the "s-word" is probably out of our forecasts until fall, is that when I get home from work at night, I am able to smell all of the delicious grills fired up in the neighborhood.
A great way to add extra flavor to your grilled meats is to let them marinade. A marinade is a sauce made typically of an oil, vinegar or other acidic liquid, spices, and herbs that is used to soak meats, poultry, fish or vegetables.

They are a great way to add flavors into meats and often used as a way to tenderize tougher cuts of meats when you need to stretch your dollar. My favorite part of using marinades is that it's a quick and simple way to be done with dinner before you even get out the door for work in the morning.

One of my favorite marinades I have used for years is one that I learned from my dad, Jim. He learned it from his dad, also Jim, and it couldn't be easier. I don't really have a fancy name for it, so I will just call it Jim's Beef Marinade. (You can of course call it the Soy Sauce Beer Marinade, but I know that my dad would tell you that the first name has a better ring to it.)

To make Jim's Marinade, you will need two things: soy sauce and one can of beer. When you are ready to start your marinating process, place a beef sirloin roast in a pan just deep enough to fit the roast. Pour 12 ounces of beer and 12 ounces of soy sauce over the top.

Use a fork to poke a bunch of holes all the way through the roast. Cover, place the pan in the refrigerator, and let it sit for a couple hours.


Then, after a couple of hours, flip the roast and poke holes into it again. Don't be shy: The more holes, the more tender and flavorful the roast will be.

Repeat the process a few more times, and then the meat is ready for the grill. I also will let you know that this process used to happen on the kitchen counter and the poking and flipping of the meat would just happen every time we walked through the room.
I will admit it was tons of fun to do it that way when I was growing up; however, the food safety professional part of me gets a little leary of a roast that sat on the counter for eight or more hours. I guess that old saying about making us stronger had to have been true.

Chicken drummies

The next marinade has a few more ingredients, but I promise all of these recipes today are simple. 7-Up Chicken Drummies are quite popular in our house. You can also do this with chicken breasts or thighs, but drummies just happened to be in my freezer.

For the 7-Up marinade, I placed one can of 7-Up in a resealable bag with a ½ cup of soy sauce, ⅓ cup canola oil, fresh garlic, ginger and a little bit of cracked black pepper. I whisked that together and then added the chicken drummies.

After removing the excess air from the bag, I placed the bag inside of a large mixing bowl to avoid any refrigerator spills, and let them sit for eight to 10 hours.
When it was time to cook them, I removed them from the marinade and placed them right onto the grill. Once the drummies cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees, about seven to eight minutes on each side, they were done.

Swordfish kabobs

Even though the last two marinades I shared with you would require some planning ahead, fish is something that can and should always be done "quick." Last week, we decided to make swordfish kabobs for dinner.
The boys were really excited to try them because they were most certainly bound to be stronger after eating something with the word "sword" in it. I was excited to eat them because it is a delicious, tender, white fish that is perfect for grilling, and it had been soaked in two of my favorite foods: wine and garlic.
Of course, there were a few other ingredients in the mix, but they don't really matter until actually making the recipe. Our kabobs consisted of the marinated fish, bell peppers and mushrooms. You can, of course, add any other vegetables you like, but it just so happened that I misjudged the age of my onion on the counter and forgot to put the tomatoes on. Oh well. One of the nice parts about kabobs is that you can use whatever vegetables you happen to have around.
They were a hit with everyone, and I will chalk them up as a win.


Jim's Beef Marinade

12 oz. beer

12 oz. soy sauce

2 to 3 lbs. beef sirloin roast or any cut you like

1 tablespoon cracked black pepper

Place the roast in a shallow pan and cover with soy sauce and beer. Using a fork, poke the roast all the way through 20 to 30 times.
Place in the refrigerator for 2 hours. Remove, flip the roast over, poke all the way through 20 to 30 times. Repeat this process 2 more times.
Remove the roast from the marinade, season with cracked pepper, and place on heated grill for 15 minutes. Flip and cook for an additional 10 to 15 or until the internal temperature gets to 135 degrees.
Remove from the grill, cover in foil, and let stand for 15 minutes before slicing thin. I suggest serving this roast on a bun with roasted peppers and your favorite chili mayo.

7-Up Chicken Drummies

1 12-oz. can of 7-Up or any lemon lime soda


½ cup soy sauce

½ cup vegetable or grapeseed oil

1½ Tbsp. fresh grated ginger

2 cloves garlic, fresh minced

1 tsp. cracked black pepper

3 lbs. chicken drummies, skin on

Place the first five ingredients in a resealable plastic bag. Whisk together and add chicken drummies. Remove excess air and seal. Place in a bowl in the refrigerator for eight to 10 hours.
When ready, place chicken drummies on a preheated grill and discard any remaining marinade. Cook on each side for seven to eight minutes. When the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees, remove the drummies from the grill and serve.

White Wine and Garlic Swordfish Kabobs


1 cup dry white wine, I used chardonnay

¼ cup olive oil

4 cloves fresh garlic, minced

2 Tbsp. whole grain mustard

½ tsp. sea salt

½ tsp. cracked black pepper

2 lbs. swordfish, cut into 1½-inch cubes

vegetables for kabobs


In a small bowl, whisk together, wine, oil, garlic, mustard and salt. Add the swordfish and make sure it is all covered and coated in the wine mixture. Let sit for 30 minutes.

Skewer the fish and vegetables, season with cracked black pepper and grill for about 4 minutes on each side. Discard the remaining marinade.

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