Marinade Tips

Here we are, full swing into the grilling season. Seriously one of my favorite times of year. Something about food cooked on a grill, outside, makes the flavor just amazing! With that in mind, I thought I’d share some of marinade tips. There are two reasons to choose marinade: to help add flavor or to tenderize. The difference between adding flavor or tenderizing is the length of marinating time. If you’re just wanting to add flavor, you only need to marinate for 15 minutes to 2 hours. Some flavor enhancing marinades may include fresh herbs, oils, and spices. Some cuts of meat really benefit from a tenderizing marinade. The key to tenderize is time and ingredients. You’ll want to marinade for 6 to 24 hours and the marinade must contain an acidic ingredients (such as lemon juice, vinegar, wine) or a natural tenderizing enzyme (found in papaya, ginger, kiwi, pineapple, and figs).

Whether marinating for flavor or tenderizing, always marinate in the refrigerator, never at room temperature. Marinate in a food-safe plastic bag (my prefered method) or in a non-reactive container like glass or plastic. Turn or stir the meat occasionally to allow even distribution. Before cooking, remove meat from marinade and pat dry with a paper towel to prevent steaming and promote even browning.

Finally, if marinade is to be used as a baste or sauce, reserve a portion of it before adding the meat. Marinade that has been in contact with uncooked meat must be brought to a full rolling boil for at least one minute before it can be used for basting or as a sauce. Never save and reuse a marinade.

Happy Grilling!


*Derived from The Beef Checkoff

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