Other Marinating Tips
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The best Marinades normally contain four working components: Salt, Oil, Flavoring, and a food Acid. They can easily be remembered with by the acronym SOFA.

S.alt enhances flavor and uses osmosis to penetrate foods and bring along the other flavoring agents.

O.il helps fat-soluble flavorings, like green herbs, release their Volatile Oils and aroma. Also, surface oils can help browning and crisping during cooking. Consider your oils, some like Olive Oil solidify in the refrigerator, others like Walnut Oil can be overpowering. Canola Oil or Peanut Oil are good choices.

F.lavorings flavorings include Fine HerbsSpices such as OreganoThymeCuminPaprikaGarlic, etc., vegetables such as Onion or Bell Peppers, and chilies like Jalapeño Peppers or Ancho Peppers and umami tastes like Soy Sauce, or Mushrooms. It is also good to experiment with tastes you prefer.

A.cid. Acid can slightly break down proteins. Fruit Juices and Vinegars are the typical food acids used for Marinades, though any food acid, including soft drinks can be used if you like the results.

Always marinate in a food-safe plastic bag, non-reactive glass vessel or stainless steel container.Try to remove any excess air so that the marinade gets good coverage.

Never save and reuse a Marinade that has been in contact with raw meat. Reserve a portion of the marinade, before adding in the raw meat, if you will want to use it for later basting, or to serve it as a sauce. Raw meat contains bacteria and spores that can lead to food poisoning. Marinade that has been in contact with uncooked meat must be brought to a full rolling boil before it might be used for basting or as a sauce. Never save and reuse a marinade.

If a Marinade is very salty it is most likely actually a Brine.

Turn your marinating food over periodically to cover it all with marinade.

Allow ¼ to ½ cup of marinade for each 1 to 2 pounds of beef.

Be careful with Sugar in your Marinade. Gooey sugar crystals thicken the liquid and clog the meat pores so that the other flavors cannot penetrate. Also sugar is flammable and can burn your dish.

De-Glaze your alcohol, if any, before adding it to your marinade. Alcohol doesn't tenderize product it just “cooks” the exterior of the product hindering its ability to absorb flavors. De-Glazing keeps the flavor but neutralizes the caustic properties of alcohol.

Reactive Container are bad for your Marinade. AluminumCopper and Cast Iron can react poorly to acids in a marinade, especially a tenderizing marinade. Use Stainless SteelGlass, or food grade zip-lock plastic bags (in a zip-lock any excess air can be squeezed out).

Don’t Marinate the Skin. Poultry skin is almost all impenetrable fat. Consider losing the skin if you are  marinating. The skinless poultry is healthier and the naked meat will absorb more flavor from the Marinade. The same concept applies to a lesser degree to all skin.

Economize. Expensive barbecue sauce is too thick to penetrate small pores. Choose another, less expensive, deeper penetrating method.

Be Efficient. If you are short on time and want to avoid making a Marinade from scratch, use Oil & Vinegar.


Keep marinating meats in the refrigerator cooler than the Food Danger Zone.