For the meat, fish and vegetables, I belive it is all about the preperation before the cooking.
- Brining meat and fish helps to keep it moist, adds flavor, seasons and tenderises. A very similar process (and type) of marinade.
- Dry spice rubs and marinades, to add the extra flavor or heat, even texture.
- Salt curing, this is a big subject with allot of methods. from a light cure to firm the product, remove moisture and season. To a heavy cure over a small time to remove all moisture and get ready for smoking or eating. To a heavy cure over a long time to get products ready for preservation.
Brining– I use a basic brine for my meat, but then (if im not using a dry rub) add herbs and spices dependant on the type of meat, cut of meat or what im cooking with. I often do this as it realy helps improvement of the product in every way. Then the dry rub goes on before i cook if im using one. The way i cook is either brine then dry rub, or just a marinade. You dont want, in my opinion, to do a marinade and a dry rub, as you can add too much flavor, take one flavor away from the other, or loose the taste of your meat entierly. Another method is using a high salt brine for longer, and you can make things like gammon, salt beef and bacon, amongst other things.
Curing– One method is where you use a heavy salt layer over the meat to remove all the moisture, helps preservation, and makes things like pastrami. Another method is a light cure, just to firm the meat, remove some moisture and season ready to be cooked (basicaly seasoning the meat, just for a longer period) making sausages in this way is one use, also chorizo, then you hang the chorizo untill fully dried out.
Curing– A light salt cure on fish is a great way to keep the flesh firm before cooking, whether bbq or hot smoke, just to firm the flash and season. A heavy salt cure or a mix of salt and sugar, is great for removing liquid from the fish, realy firming the product up. I use a mix of salt and sugar on my fish before cold smoking them, or curing for gravlax. Using a heavy salt cure and fully drying the fish out (sort of like the meat process of making pastrami) will preserve the fish, and make products like bacalhau. But these will need to be boiled in water or milk several times before they become edible. Not because they will make you ill (well, maybe), but because they will be HORRIBLY salty.
Brining– Same as meat, fish like monkfish, cod and hake (meaty fish) benifit from a light brine. If you like crispy skin on your fish, this wont help as the skin will end up wet and a tad leathery after you dry it.
Curing– A salt cure on vegetables is the standard procedure for making most pickles or preserves, as you want to remove all/ most the water before you do anything with them. As this will stop the water coming out in the end result and ruining your product. For example, when making piccalilli, you salt all your vegetables and leave for 24 hours to allow all the water to come out. You then make the picallili (leaving the vegetables out) add the water that come from the veg back into it, thicken with flour, then add your veg. That way there is no water to come out the veg after, if you didnt do this process, once it was all made, the salt in your piccalilli will then start drawing the water out, your piccalilli would split, and due to the water, spoil. A slight diferent preservation method, but the same process, is to make things like kimchi and sauerkraut. These you use the water to preserve it, but it preserves by going off in a way. Let me explain, when making a fermented preserve like sauerkraut, you salt the cabbage and you press it and weigh it down. Within 24 hours the water starts to come out, the weight pushing down the cabbage, the water then submerges the cabbage through product displacement (when i no a big word i need to use it) and then the cabbage is covered in its own, basicaly a brine. The cabbage can then sit there for weeks/ months (If prepared and stored in/using clean equiptment) gaining a deeper fuller flavor. And because of the nature of the product, it is amazingly good for you and your gut.
The smithy’s shack dry rub
This is my own blend of herbs and spices i use to rub on certain meats before they get cooked. With this i always leave the dry rub on, and what im cooking out for at least 2 hours before i cook it. Just to allow the meat to infuse and get to room temp.
Honey and garlic
This makes a ready made and infused marinade/ glaze for many foods.
Also i eat 1 tbsp every day on an empty stomach, as it helps your immune system, big health benifits and gives tones of energy.