Summer is the time of year to keep the oven off and head outside for some backyard grilling. Marinating lean cuts of meat, such as chicken breast and flank steak is a great way to keep these naturally low fat meats from drying out, while adding extra flavor. While home-made marinades aren't difficult to whip up, the convenience of store-bought is ideal for busy evenings. However, most of these marinades are loaded with the cheapest flavorant possible - salt. Dumping sodium into an otherwise healthy meal seemed counterproductive, so I decided to try Mrs Dash Salt Free Lemon Peppercorn Marinade to see how it would fare flavor-wise.
Following the instructions, I simply put my chicken in a Ziploc bag and poured some marinade over it. This has to be the thickest marinade that I've ever seen - it's about the consistency of Ranch dressing. It was so gloppy that I was tempted to add some water to the bag - I didn't think anything that thick could actually permeate the meat - but I left it alone and just did as the directions dictated. After a brief stay in the fridge, I slapped my chicken on the grill, cooked it, set it on a plate, and sat down to dinner. The result? Sorry, but without salt, the flavor was flat and lackluster.
The next time I tried to use the marinade, I added a modest amount of kosher salt along with some water to thin it out. I then gave it an overnight stay in my refrigerator. The result was the complete opposite of above and resulted in lavorful, juicy, lemony chicken.
One serving (1 tbsp) of Mrs Dash Salt Free Lemon Peppercorn Marinade provides 25 calories from 2 grams of total fat, no sodium, 2 grams of carbohydrates and 1 gram of sugar. It's free of corn syrup, a common ingredient in marinades, and contains mostly natural ingredients with a whole host of spices (more details on this at MrsDash.com).
It may seem silly to buy a salt-free marinade, only to water it down and add salt, though the bottle, which isn't cheap at $2.80 (about twice that of other brands), did last longer. I did like the flavor, and while it took considerably more effort than the bottle directs for decent results, I will probably try the other flavors to see if any of them takes less effort on my part.