Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

By Rob Corliss
August 23, 2022

Tropical ingredients can create a pathway to vibrant flavor combinations, appealing to both indulgent and healthful menu preferences of consumers. Here, we dive into two versatile ways to flavor beef, pork and chicken with distinctive tropical flair. Both offer menu developers easy ways to impart trending tropical sweetness, acidity, lightness and aromatics with a signature touch.

Buttered Tropical Indulgence

The comforting and creamy sweetness of butter is an ideal vehicle for carrying bright, floral, tropical flavors that are paired with the savory nuances of meats. Direct applications may include tropical flavored compound butter, slowly melting into a pork chop or foamed, used to baste a pan-seared steak, or whisked into a sauce at the last moment to emulsify with exotic richness, or softened and slid underneath the skin of chicken ensuring juicy tenderness.

  • Calypso Steak: Rum-marinated grilled flank steak + charred pineapple-tamarind compound butter
  • Mango Buttered Skillet Chop: Skillet-cooked bone-in pork chop + mango-candied orange peel-garlic butter
  • Tropical Schnitzel: Pan-fried pork schnitzel + toasted almond-lime-passionfruit butter
  • Butter-Stuffed Chicken: Roast airline chicken breast + caramelized banana-Sriracha butter (under the chicken skin)

Glazed Tropical Healthfulness

Contemporary fruit-based glazes add an enticing layer of craveable concentrated flavor and healthful decadence. Tropical glazes act as a bold flavor carrier for coating meats with deeper complexity, tactile lacquered texture and striking visual cues that heighten appeal. Direct applications may include tropical glazes basting grilled and roasted meats as a finishing flavor play or tossing with succulent chunks of hand-torn meat to transform tastes.

  • Poppin’ Brisket: Smoked brisket slices + charred citrus green peppercorn glaze
  • Hot Savory n’ Sour Carnitas: Carnitas + charred crushed pineapple-sambal glaze
  • Guava Belly Bites: Braised and seared pork belly bites + guava mustard glaze
  • Bone Broth Chicken Thighs: Bone broth-braised roast chicken thighs + lychee-ginger glaze

About The Author

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ROB CORLISS is a three-time James Beard House guest chef with more than 30 years of experience that includes running world-class hotels, launching new concepts, working in top marketing agencies and owning the culinary consultancy ATE (All Things Epicurean) since 2009. Based in Nixa, Mo., ATE has an energizing passion focused on flavor innovation and is dedicated to connecting people to their food, environment and wellness. Rob is also a regular contributor to Flavor & The Menu. [email protected]