Marinades The purpose of a marinade is to add flavor and in some cases, tenderize meat. The word marinade dates back to the 1600's when meat was cured in brine to preserve them. Marinating is a great way to experiment with new flavors.

Marinades vary from recipe to recipe, but they generally contain three basic components, oils, seasoning and food acids or tenderizing enzymes.

The oil content in a marinade locks in the natural flavor of the food and prevents it drying out. Some oils can also add flavor, good oils include olive, sesame and peanut.

Seasoning provide different and unique flavors. Try different recipes using herbs, spices and sweetener, such as sugar or honey.
Food acids or enzymes tenderize meat by unraveling its proteins, this softens the surface and allows flavors to be absorbed. Tough cuts of meat will benefit from acidic ingredients, however they only penetrate about 1/4 inch per side into the meat, therefore thinner cuts of meat are best suited.

Acid ingredients include vinegar, wine, sherry, citrus juice, yogurt, buttermilk and Italian dressing.

You can find tenderizing enzymes in fresh garlic, pineapple, papaya, kiwi and figs.


Marinating Tips

  • Best to marinade in resealable plastic food bag, a bag will help to cut down on clean up and allow you to turn, to evenly distribute the marinade.
  • You can marinade in plastic, glass, or stainless steel containers, covered with lid.
  • Don't marinade in aluminum containers or foil, a chemical reaction could spoil the meat.
  • Don't reuse leftover marinade for other food.
  • Don't use marinade from raw meat unless its boiled first for several minutes.
  • Always marinade in the refrigerator, never at room temperature.
  • Tenderizing marinades penetrate about 1/4 inch into the surface of the meat.

Marinade Recipes