Bloody Mary Makes a Great Marinade

Bloody Marys, Caesars, and Micheladas are amazing, but they can be confusing. “Is this a drink?” or “Is this cold soup?” and “Where is the line between them?” these are just a few of the questions I sometimes ask myself when consuming any of this family of drinks. It’s not unpleasant – I like a drink that keeps me on my toes. This also means that Bloody Marys and the like can serve a dual function as delicious marinades.

Think about it: all the best flavors are here. We have umami, acid, salt and some sugar. And then there’s alcohol. Alcohol is good not because it softens – thanks to the acid – but because it helps diffuse flavor and aroma. It can bind to both fat and water, allowing you to add a delicious flavor to every part of your meat.

Both tomato juice and Klamato are pretty umami, which goes well with softer meats like chicken and pork, although Bloody Mary beef would probably be pretty darn funny. The rest of the ingredients are at your discretion. Just make a (very large) Bloody or Caesar as you usually do, but reduce the alcohol a bit since you don’t need a ton of vodka (or gin) to reap the benefits. I’m a big fan of the pickled juice made with horseradish and Crystal hot sauce in my Caesars; but lime, Worcestershire sauce, Adobe sauce, and literally anything you want to add to your favorite savory brunch will do.

For the pork chops (there were six in total) I used:

  • 5 1/2 ounces klamato (one can per serving)
  • 4 ounces of pickled juice (Grillo is my favorite right now)
  • 3 ounces vodka
  • About 10 shakes of the Crystal

I would also add hell, but I was not there. I mixed everything up, put the chops in a bag and poured them a drink. I fried a few around the 4 o’clock mark and they were good – tender and juicy, though not insanely flavorful – but after hanging in the refrigerator overnight, the rest were perfect. The umami from Klamato really worked out, and the pickled juice provided a nice acidic flavor and a good amount of garlic. For the rest of Mary Nade, I brought it to a boil for a minute, then whisked two tablespoons of butter with 3/4 cup Bloody to make a sauce that was so good I almost drank it. And all this time my sky was pleasantly embarrassed.


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