Marinating

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Photo by Dplanet::Creative Commons License.

Marination is the process of soaking foods in a seasoned, often acidic, liquid before cooking. It is commonly used to flavor foods and to tenderize tougher cuts of meat. The process may last seconds or days (Wikipedia, nd).

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Difficulty to learn: Medium

Ideas For Ingredients To Use:

Most people have had a marinated steak or chicken sometime in their life. Odds are, you are probably attempting to marinate your own cut of meat today! Typical foods to marinate include steak, lamb, chicken, or salmon. However, really almost any food can be marinated. The list ranges from all meats to seafood to vegetables. Usually, marinating a food keeps it moist and locks in whatever flavors you included in the marinade, so keep that in mind when creating your own recipes.

What You Will Need:

(Keep in mind that all marinades are different, this is just a general idea).

  • An acidic component, such as vinegar or lemon juice
  • An oil, such as canola oil
  • Seasonings and aromatics
  • A salty component such as soy sauce or regular salt
  • Sugar (to taste, it enhances eventual browning)
  • Your food to be marinated
  • A large plastic bag. This will be holding ALL your meat and marinade, For a big piece of meat like a whole turkey, you can marinade it in a bowl, as long as all of the meat is submerged.
  • A bowl for preparing the marinade
  • Tongs for flipping the food
  • A pastry brush for adding extra marinade while cooking (if you want)

Remember, these are just baselines. If you want to craft your own marinating recipe, stick to a recommended ratio of one part acid, one part oil, and 1-2 parts seasonings. Salt and sugar are just to taste, so add as much or as little as you desire. Down at the bottom of this page there are a few links if you want to stick to a tested recipe though, no hard feelings!

Basic Steps:

For this recipe we are going to refer to the food being marinated as chicken breasts for simplicity, but substitute that for the food of your choice!

  1. Set all ingredients and utensils out ahead of time.
  2. Mix together the marinade of your choosing (or use an already prepared mix).
  3. Add the chicken and enough marinade to cover the chicken completely in the large bag, sealing the top tight after to prevent air or liquids from escaping.
  4. Set your timer for the appropriate amount of time. For chicken breasts (and other smaller meats), generally 2-4 hours is enough soak time. Larger meats such as a whole turkey could be left overnight. The longer the meat is left in the marinade, the more intense the flavor.
  5. After the time is up, remove your meat using the tongs and cook as desired. If you grill, you might want to brush some of the marinade from the bag over the chicken to keep it more moist and enhance the taste of the marinade.

Tips For You:

  • As mentioned above, the longer the food soaks in the marinade for, the more intense the flavor is going to be.
  • Save extra marinade to drizzle over the top of the food during cooking, or even while serving.
  • Feel free to experiment, maybe the perfect recipe hasn’t even been made yet!

Some Links To Help With Preparation: