Using Marinades to Season and Tenderize Meat

Food & Cooking Cooking Tips Using Marinades to Season and Tenderize Meat

A marinade is a combination of oil, acid and seasonings that will tenderize and flavor any cut of meat. The acid, usually wine, vinegar or a citrus juice breaks down the tough fibers in the meat, making it more tender. The oil absorbs flavor from the seasonings, melds them, and carries the flavoring into the meat. It also helps to keep the meat moist and juicy.

A good marinade will help you create that truly special dish, but marinades do not have to be complex. One of my first marinades was a bottle of Italian dressing. (Add one part Worcestershire sauce to 4 parts Italian dressing for an incredible spicy chicken marinade.)

Secrets of marinating-

  1. The larger the surface area of the meat, the more effective the marinade will be. If your meat is compact without a large surface area you can inject marinade into the meat, or simply poke holes or slits in the meat with a knife and massage marinade into the holes.
  2. Larger pieces of meat need longer marinating times. Small pieces such as kabobs can be marinated for 30 minutes to an hour; a roast may need overnight marinating.
  3. When browning the meat is desirable, remove the meat from the marinade; dry it, and then brown.
  4. Marinate your meat in a non-reactive container. A glass bowl or baking dish works well, but I prefer to use a Ziploc bag for easier cleanup.
  5. Marinate the meat in the refrigerator. Turn the meat at least once and preferably several times during the marinating.
  6. Never reuse the marinade. If you desire to use some as a dipping sauce, reserve a portion before marinating the meat.

Try these marinade recipes to get you started. They are good with chicken or meat.

Balsamic Vinegar Marinade

1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon fresh thyme

Asian Marinade

1/4 cup light soy sauce
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon ginger, minced
1/2 Tablespoon fresh parsley leaves, minced

Use these recipes to get you started, then experiment with your own flavor combinations.

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Diane Watkins is a traditional southern style cook. She enjoys cooking, teaching, and writing about good food and family. For more information on southern cooking and recipes visit her website at Easy Southern Cooking

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Article By: Diane Watkins

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