Food – How To Use Marinades To Make Your Food Taste Better

A marinade is a liquid mixture that you can soak food in before it’s cooked to make it way more delicious.

You can use a plastic bag…

A marinade is a liquid mixture that you can soak food in before it's cooked to make it way more delicious.

…or a nonreactive dish (glass, ceramic, plastic, stainless steel, but not aluminum or copper because they will react to the acid).

Source: marthastewart.com

 

 

Don’t worry too much if you don’t have the exact ingredients in a recipe — just follow this basic formula.

ACID (but not too much)
eg: vinegar, lemon/lime/orange juice, wine, buttermilk, or yogurt
why: tenderize protein to let the other flavor-enhancing ingredients get in there

+
SALT
or soy sauce
why: also tenderizes

+
OIL
eg, olive oil, canola oil
why: helps release the flavor of spices or herbs and hold them in contact with the meat.

+
HERBS/SEASONINGS/SUGAR
eg, garlic, rosemary, ginger, chiles, maple syrup
why: adds flavor

+
TIME

 

Certain pairings are natural and if you think about it you probably know what they are because you eat food sometimes (lamb with rosemary; chicken with yogurt; pork with honey; shrimp with ginger). A good approach is to stick with ingredients that are common in the same cuisine. Here are some examples of that:

ASIAN MARINADE INGREDIENTS
rice-wine vinegar, soy sauce, mirin (sweet wine), ginger, coconut milk, lime juice, lemongrass, sugar, cilantro, garlic

MEDITERRANEAN MARINADE INGREDIENTS
red and white vinegar, red and white wine, beer, lemon juice, garlic, basil, parsley, tarragon, oregano, mint, chives, dill, thyme, rosemary, mustard, sugar/honey

AMERICAN MARINADE INGREDIENTS
Bourbon, Tabasco sauce, buttermilk, Worcestershire, sugar/honey/maple syrup

INDIAN MARINADE INGREDIENTS
yogurt, cumin, turmeric, coriander, curry powder, cilantro, mint, garlic

LATIN MARINADE INGREDIENTS
chiles, cumin, oregano, lime juice

 

Watch out for sugar.

 

Watch out for sugar.

Sugary ingredients in a marinade — like maple syrup, honey, brown sugar/white sugar, sweet wines — can cause your food to char when you cook them. So take note when a marinade has sugar in it and either use lower the heat or move the food around more as you’re cooking it.

Get even coverage.

 

Get even coverage.

If you’re using a dish, get your food item in a single layer then flip it once or twice over the course of its flavor bath. Shake/flip a couple times if you’re using a plastic bag.

Dont poke holes in the meat.

 

Dont poke holes in the meat.

This is a debate. The esteemed experts at Cook’s Illustrated say you should. BuzzFeed Food editors believe poking holes in your meat is silly and will cause the natural juices to seep out when the meat is cooked, leaving it dry and abused.

A longer marinade isn’t always better — but it usually is.

 

A longer marinade isn't always better — but it usually is.

There are several factors to take into account with marinade time: type of meat, size of meat chunks, and acidity of the marinade. For dark proteins — beef, lamb, pork — longer is always better. BUT, if the food is delicate — shrimp, flaky fish — stop marinating after 15 or 30 minutes or the acid will start to break down the protein too much. Chicken is somewhere in the middle, anywhere from 2 to 12 hours is good depending on the cut (skin-on breasts require less time, for example).

Some proteins need a marinade’s added flavor more than others.

 

Some proteins need a marinade's added flavor more than others.

Oh hey boneless skinless chicken breasts, you look SO GROSS. You and other protein that is tough, dry, naturally flavorless, or cheap will be especially improved by a marinade. (So in addition to chicken breast, think hanger steaks, pork chops, etc.)

Wipe it off.

 

Wipe it off.

When you take something out of a marinade, wipe it gently to remove most of the clingy bits of herbs or garlic. Otherwise they will char when you cook the meat.

Marinades can be sauces, too.

 

Marinades can be sauces, too.

You can set aside some of your marinade before it comes into contact with any raw meat to use it later is a sauce. You can also use the marinade after it’s bathed the raw meat, but you have to boil the marinade first to get rid of any bacteria. Otherwise, just throw the marinade away. Don’t try to reuse it to marinate other meat.

Source: chow.com

Now you are a master so you don’t really need to follow a recipe — but just in case, here are some good ones.

Underneath each photo you’ll see the marinade ingredients and time so you can see the patterns.

 

Toasted Sesame Ginger Salmon

 

Toasted Sesame Ginger Salmon

MARINADE: olive oil + toasted sesame oil + rice vinegar + brown sugar + soy sauce + garlic + ginger + at least 10 minutes

Get the recipe

Miso-Glazed Tuna Kebabs

 

Miso-Glazed Tuna Kebabs

MARINADE: miso + mirin + sugar + water + mayonnaise + 1 hour

Get the recipe.

Source: gourmet.com

Planked Salmon with Coconut Rice

 

Planked Salmon with Coconut Rice

MARINADE: maple syrup + Dijon mustard + soy sauce + lime juice + at least 10 minutes

Get the recipe

Grilled Fish Tacos

 

Grilled Fish Tacos

MARINADE: lime juice + cilantro + oil + salt + 15 minutes

Get the recipe.

Grilled Salmon with Strawberry-Avocado Salsa

 

Grilled Salmon with Strawberry-Avocado Salsa

MARINADE: orange juice/zest + lime juice + salt + pepper + garlic + chili powder + cumin + cilantro + olive oil + 30 minutes

Get the recipe

Steamed Fish with Chickpeas and Currants

 

Steamed Fish with Chickpeas and Currants

MARINADE: oil + cumin + cinnamon + sumac + 30 minutes

Get the recipe

Source: chow.com

Miso-Glazed Salmon Steaks

 

Miso-Glazed Salmon Steaks

MARINADE: miso + mirin + vinegar + ginger + sesame oil + 30 minutes

Get the recipe.

 

Seared Tofu with Spicy Stir-Fried Cabbage

 

Seared Tofu with Spicy Stir-Fried Cabbage

MARINADE: soy sauce + cream sherry + garlic + ginger + sugar + 10 minutes

Get the recipe

Source: gourmet.com

Stir-Fried Marinated Tofu and Mushrooms

 

Stir-Fried Marinated Tofu and Mushrooms

MARINADE: soy sauce + rice vinegar + sesame oil + red pepper flakes + 30 minutes

Get the recipe

Wheatberry Salad with Grilled Tofu

 

Wheatberry Salad with Grilled Tofu

MARINADE: tomatoes + red wine vinegar + balsamic vinegar + Dijon + sugar + salt + black pepper + oil + 30 minutes

Get the recipe.

Source: gourmet.com

Shallot-Marinated Tofu with Miso Dipping Sauce

 

Shallot-Marinated Tofu with Miso Dipping Sauce

MARINADE: lemon juice + grated lemon zest + orange juice + grapeseed oil + shallots + cilantro + Dijon mustard + salt + pepper + 1 hour

Get the recipe

 

Spicy Shrimp Tostadas with Jalapeno Avocado Sauce

 

Spicy Shrimp Tostadas with Jalapeno Avocado Sauce

MARINADE: paprika + cumin + chili powder + salt + pepper + 30 minutes

Get the recipe

Drunken Shrimp

 

Drunken Shrimp

MARINADE: soy sauce + garlic + jalapeños + cilantro + lime juice + oil + sugar + lemongrass + 10 minutes

Get the recipe

Source: chow.com

Maple-Chili Grilled Shrimp

 

Maple-Chili Grilled Shrimp

MARINADE: salt + brown sugar + smoked paprika + cayenne pepper + chili powder + crushed chili flakes + oregano + salt + 1 hour

Get the recipe.

Shrimp Tikka with Fresh Mango Chutney

 

Shrimp Tikka with Fresh Mango Chutney

MARINADE: lime juice + jalapeño + ginger + garlic + garam masala + turmeric + nutmeg + 30 minutes

Get the recipe

Source: gourmet.com
 

Spatchcocked Lemon Herb Chicken

 

Spatchcocked Lemon Herb Chicken

MARINADE: garlic + kosher salt + fresh thyme + fresh rosemary + lemon juice + olive oil + paprika + at least 4 hours

Get the recipe

Source: gourmet.com

Brazilian Beer Marinated Chicken

 

Brazilian Beer Marinated Chicken

MARINADE: garlic + ginger + onion + paprika + salt + black pepper + caraway seeds + green pepper + mustard + beer + oil + 4 hours

Get the recipe.

Source: James Baigrie

Garlic-Marinated Chicken Cutlets

 

Garlic-Marinated Chicken Cutlets

MARINADE: olive oil + garlic + white wine vinegar + fresh thyme + salt + pepper + 10 to 30 minutes

Get the recipe.

Chicken and Ginger Clay Pot

 

Chicken and Ginger Clay Pot

MARINADE: brown sugar + water + ginger + garlic + soy sauce + fish sauce + lime juice + star anise + chiles + at least 1 hour

Get the recipe

Source: chow.com

Chicken Thighs Marinated with Homemade Ssam Paste

 

Chicken Thighs Marinated with Homemade Ssam Paste

MARINADE: miso + sugar + sesame oil + fish sauce + white vinegar + chile powder + garlic + ginger + onion + 8 to 12 hours

Get the recipe.

Basic Buttermilk Fried Chicken

 

Basic Buttermilk Fried Chicken

MARINADE: buttermilk + salt + thyme + pepper + cayenne pepper + at least 8 hours

Get the recipe

Source: chow.com

Apricot-Glazed Chicken

 

Apricot-Glazed Chicken

MARINADE: shallots + ginger + veg oil + red-wine vinegar + soy sauce + apricot preserves + at least 8 hours

Get the recipe.

Source: gourmet.com

Buttermilk and Herb Marinated Chicken

 

Buttermilk and Herb Marinated Chicken

MARINADE: buttermilk + rosemary + salt + pepper + 1 to 8 hours

Get the recipe.

Chicken, Mushroom, and Bok Choy Kebabs

 

Chicken, Mushroom, and Bok Choy Kebabs

MARINADE: garlic + soy sauce + Sherry + brown sugar + ginger + Sesame oil + 3 hours

Get the recipe

Source: gourmet.com
 

Pomegranate-Marinated Lamb with Spices and Couscous

 

Pomegranate-Marinated Lamb with Spices and Couscous

MARINADE: pomegranate molasses + garlic + olive oil + ground ginger + cinnamon + cumin + paprika + salt + pepper + at least 8 hours

Get the recipe

Greek-Style Leg of Lamb

 

Greek-Style Leg of Lamb

MARINADE: olive oil + onion + garlic + dill + lemon juice + lemon zest + dried oregano + at least 4 hours

Get the recipe.

Roasted Marinated Lamb with Lemon and Rosemary Potatoes

 

Roasted Marinated Lamb with Lemon and Rosemary Potatoes

MARINADE: lemon zest and juice + garlic + rosemary + oil + at least 8 hours

Get the recipe

Lamb Kebabs with Mint Pesto

 

Lamb Kebabs with Mint Pesto

MARINADE: olive oil + garlic + coarse salt + coriander + 2 to 4 hours

Get the recipe.

Grilled Leg of Lamb with Ancho Chili Marinade

 

Grilled Leg of Lamb with Ancho Chili Marinade

MARINADE: red wine + oil + garlic + fresh oregano + ancho chile powder + lemon juice + green onion + brown sugar + salt + pepper + at least 8 hours

Get the recipe.

Marinated Lamb Chops

 

Marinated Lamb Chops

MARINADE: garlic + shallots + rosemary + thyme + red pepper flakes + olive oil + 6 hours

Get the recipe

 

Balsamic and Rosemary-Marinated Florentine Steak

 

Balsamic and Rosemary-Marinated Florentine Steak

MARINADE: balsamic vinegar + olive oil + rosemary + 6 hours

Get the recipe.

Pan-Grilled Beer-Marinated Hanger Steak

 

Pan-Grilled Beer-Marinated Hanger Steak

MARINADE: soy sauce + olive oil + garlic + Dijon mustard + rosemary + Worcestershire sauce + ground black pepper + dark lager beer + 12-24 hours

Get the recipe

Cola-Marinated Flank Steak with Frito Chilaquiles

 

Cola-Marinated Flank Steak with Frito Chilaquiles

MARINADE: cola + jarred Thai green curry paste + jalapeños + 15 minutes.

Get the recipe.

Harissa-Marinated Tri-Tip Roast Recipe

 

Harissa-Marinated Tri-Tip Roast Recipe

MARINADE: harissa + vinegar + salt + pepper + olive oil + garlic + 8-12 hours

Get the recipe

Source: chow.com

Sirloin Steak with Roasted Potatoes and Asparagus

 

Sirloin Steak with Roasted Potatoes and Asparagus

MARINADE: mustard + lemon juice + garlic + salt + pepper + 10 mins to 24 hours

Get the recipe

Hoisin-Marinated Tri-Tip Roast Recipe

 

Hoisin-Marinated Tri-Tip Roast Recipe

MARINADE: hoisin + ginger + garlic + rice vinegar + soy sauce + freshly ground black pepper + olive oil + 8 to 24 hours

Get the recipe

Source: chow.com

Red Wine Braised Short Ribs

 

Red Wine Braised Short Ribs

MARINADE: garlic + thyme + orange zest + bay leaves + allspice + peppercorns + cloves + wine + 12 to 24 hours

Get the recipe

Coffee-Marinated Bison Short Ribs

 

Coffee-Marinated Bison Short Ribs

MARINADE: water + chilled strong brewed coffee + kosher salt + dark brown sugar + maple syrup + fresh rosemary + Worcestershire sauce + 4-6 hours
(these are actually bison short ribs, not beef, but the marinade would work nicely with either)

Get the recipe

 

Honey-Marinated Pork with Gremolata

 

Honey-Marinated Pork with Gremolata

MARINADE: honey + garlic + orange juice in small bowl + sea salt + pepper + at least two hours

Get the recipe

Mojo Pork Kebabs

 

Mojo Pork Kebabs

MARINADE: oil + garlic + red-pepper flakes + lime juice + orange juice + 30 minutes to 12 hours

Get the recipe.

Marinated Pork Chops

 

Marinated Pork Chops

MARINADE: soy sauce + hoisin sauce + garlic + honey + sugar + 1 to 24 hours

Get the recipe

Pork Tenderloin Marinated in Amber Ale

 

Pork Tenderloin Marinated in Amber Ale

MARINADE: amber ale + carrots + celery + celery + onion + at least twelve hours

Get the recipe.http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/pork-tenderloin-marinated-in-amber-ale

Pineapple Pork Chops

 

Pineapple Pork Chops

MARINADE: pineapple + cilantro sprigs + chiles + soy sauce + fish sauce + garlic clove + at least 6 hours

Get the recipe

Vinegar and Spice Oven Ribs

 

Vinegar and Spice Oven Ribs

MARINADE: dark brown sugar + cider vinegar + lemon zest + garlic + kosher + paprika + freshly ground black pepper + allspice + at least 6 hours

Get the recipe

Source: chow.com

Burmese Red Pork Stew

 

Burmese Red Pork Stew

MARINADE: soy sauce + sesame oil + chili oil + at least 6 hours

Get the recipe

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