For years, scientists believed that the tongue was capable of processing just four basic tastes: sweet, sour, bitter and salty. But in 1985, scientists added a fifth taste called umami. Umami is a Japanese word that means a "pleasant savory taste". Umami induces salivation and causes a "furriness" on the tongue that is very tasty and satisfying.
Foods that are high in umami include mushrooms, cured meats, cheeses, ripe tomatoes and shellfish. In liquid form, there are two products that are virtually pure umami: Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce. These are complex blends that while very high in umami, also contain the other four tastes.
I've never been a huge fan of marinades. They basically just coat the surface and do not penetrate deep into the meat. I saw them as a hassle and just more work in getting my meat on the grill.
Then a couple of years ago I was reading an article on how one of my favorite, high-end steak houses preps and cooks their steaks. Low and behold, they put their steaks in a bath of Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce for 30 minutes before grilling. I tried it and talk about umami heaven....the results were to die for. The umami kick that the two sauces added were extraordinary. It took really good grilled steaks and made them great. So here's a really simple marinade recipe for 4 steaks:
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce (Lea & Perrins recommended)
1/2 cup soy sauce
- Place 4 steaks in a Ziploc bag.
- Add marinade. Seal bag and toss bag to distribute marinade.
- Place bag on counter at room temperature. Make sure four steaks are flat and in contact with marinade.
- After 15 minutes, flip bag over. Marinate for another 15 minutes.
- Remove steaks from bag. Wipe off excess liquid with a paper towel and grill steaks.