Marinating the meat before baking, sauteing, or grilling is an easy way to add flavor to a simple weeknight meal. Marinades are also used to tenderize tougher cuts of beef. You can make up the marinade the night before and leave the meat in it overnight, or you can make up batches of meat in marinades ahead of time, and let them defrost in the fridge overnight before cooking them.
Oil + Acid + Seasoning = Marinade
Generally, marinades are a combination of oil and vinegar (acid) with seasonings like herbs and spices. Anything marinated in acid needs to be in a non-reactive container like glass or ceramic. Tailor the oil and acid to suit the meat and the meal. For acids, you can use vinegar, citrus juice, beer, or wine. I’ve also used a combination of acids like ketchup and worcestershire sauce.
- When preparing a marinade, mix 3 parts oil to one part acid.
- Poke holes in the beef with a fork to increase penetration of the marinade.
- Always marinate in the refrigerator for safe food handling.
- Never reuse marinade that touches raw meat unless the marinade is cooked afterwards for at least 5 minutes.
- Meat can be marinated up to 24 hours before cooking while fish can only be marinated for up to 30 minutes.
- Use 1/2 cup of marinade per 1 lb. of meat.
- When preparing marinated meat for the freezer, use a gallon freezer bag for more space.
- Always turn the meat in the container or bag a few times during marination to ensure complete coverage.
- Don’t overlook unusual ingredients like leftover pickle juice.
What’s your favorite marinade recipe? Share in the comments!