Understanding the Miracle of Marinade

If you don’t know by now, marinating meat is one of the easiest ways to insert flavour and health benefits into meat, no matter your method of cooking or cutting of meat. Marinades can be made of nearly any ingredients, acid or alkaline, wet or dry, but there is a need to know what to use for which meat and when. So, what is a marinade and why is virtually every website, article and recipe online urging me to marinate my meat?  

What is marinade?

A marinade is a blend of liquids and herbs that serve to flavour meats as well as work on the meats in one way or another. For example:

Acid - an acid marinade will tenderise meat by breaking down the meat and will also lay a foundation for flavours (seasoning) to permeate.

Fat/oil- this marinade, for example, a yoghourt or oil marinade, will prevent overcooking and can intensify flavours of seasonings

Seasoning - this is the combination of spices and herbs that you put together to add flavour to your meat. You can use spices alone as a dry rub, but seasoning is typically used coupled with an acid or fat/oil marinade.

What marinades should I use with which meats?

The question is not which marinade to use with what meats, rather, it is how long should you marinate each meat. All good marinades should have an acidic, fat and seasoning element together. You want to achieve tenderising the meat, preventing overcooking, permeating and intensifying the seasonings. To achieve this, you need all three elements in your marinade.

The miracle of marinade is in the timing. Here is a guide of how long to marinate each meat.  

  • Shellfish - 15 minutes
  • Seafood - 20-30 minutes
  • Veggies - 30 minutes
  • Chicken - 3-12 hours (the more acidic your marinade the less time)
  • Beef, Lamb, Bison, etc - 3-24 hours (the more acidic your marinade the less time)

Tariq Halal Meats has an excellent selection of pre-prepared marinades for your convenience. Try our Ultimate Marinade Box today.
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