We all love a barbecue on a balmy, sunny day. But when your steak emerges tougher than 50 Cent’s bodyguard and as tasty as a tramp’s trainers, you know you’ve made a simple but common mistake: you forgot to marinate, bozo.
After just a few hours in the fridge, a marinade’s acidic content helps to tenderise the meat, allowing it to absorb flavoursome herbs and spices, and making your steak less like a char-grilled mouse mat.
Time Out slathered five obdurate lumps of rump with five barbecue marinades, and gave them a proper grilling.
A1 Steakhouse Classic
A is for astringent, as this tart, spicy and gum-pummellingly citrussy marinade evidently illustrates. As a result, it lashes the meat into a stupefied state of submission, making it deferentially tender and susceptible to flavour. A rump steak smothered in this stuff practically chews itself, but do you really want your meat to taste like a lemon orchard? It’s far too acidic to be slapped on your plate as a side sauce, unless you really want your lips to recede over the back of your head with the bitterness. It’d make backchat easier, I suppose.
American Garden BBQ Sauce
In terms of smokiness, this marinade is redolent of one of Queen Elizabeth II’s corgi dogs the day Windsor Castle burnt down. The sauce imbues the steak with a subtle and refined barbecue flavour, but it has a lingering sweetness that keeps on giving. Unfortunately, its effectiveness as a tenderising agent appears to have been overlooked, which you will no doubt discover when your teeth have been ground down to the nerve. Take a leaf
out of the British royals’ book and ditch your beefsteak for a nice tender swan fillet instead – the Queen Mother used to swear by it.
HP BBQ Sauce Classic
As everybody knows, traditional HP sauce is
a delicacy more prized than tuber magnatum truffles, beluga caviar and wagyu beef on a solid gold platter floating in a swimming pool full of vintage Dom Pérignon. So this wishy-washy barbecue variant comes as an earth-shattering shock for sauce aficionados. To taste, it’s weak, vaguely smoky, and slightly vinegary, while its tenderising properties are about as effective as a bucket of cement. Quite frankly, it’s a black mark against the esteemed name of HP, and everybody associated with it should be thoroughly disgusted with themselves.
Hunt’s Hickory BBQ Sauce
Tally ho! Hunt’s unleashes the hounds upon a petrified strip of steak with this silky yet substantial sauce-cum-marinade. A pack of charred flavours chases into every nook and cranny of your rump, baying at its very fibres and tearing its stubbornness to shreds. In the aftermath, a raft of mellow scents permeates the meat, lingering deep in its ruddy flesh and glazing its textured hide, rendering it cool, smooth and smoky – a bit like JayZ if he ever ended up in the electric chair.
Mrs Ball’s Smoky BBQ Sauce
If Mrs Ball isn’t a feeble old granny, knitting idly in a wheelchair somewhere while occasionally breaking wind, then she must be dearly departed by now. This might explain why her smoky BBQ sauce is as limp and lame as a gnat’s right hook. The marinade fails monumentally to get a grip of your steak, resulting in a desultorily unfocused piece of meat that offers little in the way of flavour or tenderness. It’s very sweet as a dipping sauce, but so is maple syrup, and you don’t want that slapped all over your sirloin. Sadly, Mrs Ball’s hasn’t got any.