Save Yourself $1-$2 a Pound on your Meats by Marinating Them Yourself.
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If your goal is to tenderize as you marinate, a tenderizing Marinade should be used. Tenderizing Marinades contain a food acid or a tenderizing food enzyme. Food acids include: citrus juice like, lemons or limes, VinegarSalsas, yogurts, wine etc.  Tenderizing enzymes can be found in fresh GingerPineapplePapayaKiwi and Figs.

Less tender meats like those from the ChuckRoundFlankPlate etc., should have at least 6 hours of tenderizing marinating, but no more than 24 hours. Turn marinating items occasionally to allow even exposure to the marinade. Allow ¼ to ½ cup of marinade for each 1 to 2 pounds of beef.

The main problem with Marinades is that they wet the surface of foods about to be cooked and can hamper Enzymatic BrowningCaramelization and crisping. If the Marinade is made with sugar, the sugar can burn, especially if the food is cooked fast over High Heat. Burning sugar is less of a problem with lower heat, slower cooking methods.  For Other Marinating Tips follow the link.


Seasoned or Marinated meats are one of the profit centers of the grocer's meat department, where they can charge $1 or $2 a pound more because the meats "look" oven-ready. That ¢10 (only a dime) of pre-applied seasoning can cost you bucks, especially over time.


 It is best to keep your foods “non-reactive” by using a non-reactive container (plastic bag, glass dish, stainless steel, etc.) and to keep them out of the Food Danger Zone while marinating by refrigerating them.

Culinary Uses

So what is a Marinade? And can we do it ourselves? A Marinade is a seasoned mixture of liquid applied to raw food that adds flavor, and in some instances, tenderizes.

Because they are most often thrown on at the last minute, most of the time, what Marinades do best is percolate into the cracks and crevices on the surface of meats and make flavorful baked-on sauce. If you are not using the 4 Levers of Cooking™ and organizing your cooking, it is safer to think of Marinades, though they can tenderize and flavor, as mostly a version of sauce.

Marinades are frequently used with thinner cuts of meat or vegetables, where they can penetrate into the meat. Even under the best of circumstances, Marinades don’t penetrate beef, mutton or lamb very far, generally ⅛ inch (.3 cm) to ¼ inch (.6 cm) is the most to expect for these denser meats. Chicken, Turkey and Pork loin absorb marinade a bit deeper. Fish soaks up Marinades. Other foods, especially eggplant and mushrooms, drink in marinades quickly. On the other hand, many veggies are impermeable and won’t soak up any.

Time does help the Marinade penetrate to its possible maximum depth. Depending on the Marinade, and your goal, marinating time can be as short as 15 minutes or as long as 24 hours, after which the marinated items can become mushy.