Marinades can be made in more ways than we can count. Just about any liquid mixture used to soak meats and vegetables falls into the category. Marinating is a great idea for reasons beyond boosting flavor. Acidic ingredients like vinegar can also help tenderize meat by breaking down tissue. And depending on the ingredients, some marinades can reduce the carcinogens that grilling and other high-temperature cooking methods may create. But, the best part is the great taste. So, when you’re planning your next cookout or even a weeknight dinner …
Don’t Wait, Marinate!
The best steak you ever made could be your next steak. Or, maybe you could kick your grilled chicken up a notch. By following the marinade tips and recipes below and mixing a few simple ingredients, you can bring more amazing flavor to your cooking.
At their most basic, marinades are made with three main types of ingredients: an acid, an oil and herbs or spices. Acidic ingredients like vinegar or apple juice break proteins down, oil helps the meat retain moisture while it cooks, and herbs and spices like salt, pepper, and garlic powder add flavor.
How Long to Marinate
Different meats and veggies require different lengths of time.
Seafood: 15-30 minutes
Chicken: up to two hours
Beef and Pork: 30 minutes up to overnight
Vegetables: about 30 minutes
Soaking any longer than the recommended time could turn your meat mushy, so try to stick to the lower end of the above ranges. No matter how long to marinate what you're making, always refrigerate to prevent bacteria from growing.
How Much to Make
In general, we recommend using one cup of marinade for every pound of meat or veggies.
First Time’s The Charm
We know that the marinade you made is delicious, but don’t use it more than once. Throw all marinades out after one use because they’re in contact with raw ingredients.
Don’t Meddle with Metal
Use only plastic or glass containers. Some acidic ingredients used in marinades react with metal and cause a change in flavor. You can’t beat a zippable plastic bag for convenience and keeping your meat well coated.
Can You Freeze It?
You can freeze marinade in an airtight bag or container for up to three months, but never freeze it with the meat in it. You’ll end up with a meal that’s more mush than meat.
Stick to Thin Cuts
Contrary to what some cooks believe, marinades don’t fully soak into thicker meats. Most of their work is done near the surface, so they’re not too effective on thick cuts.
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