There are many reasons chefs opt for marinades in their operations. The process is easy, economical and efficient, and the results are consistently delicious. Despite marinades’ popularity, there are still some misconceptions about them that can cause undesired results. Here are a few tips to keep in mind to make sure you get the most out of every marinade:
- Mastering the marinade means understanding the marinade. Marinades enhance flavor, and they’re also great for tenderizing the toughest cuts of meat. They’re a cost-effective way to maximize those not-so-tender proteins. The perfect marinades ensure that the flavor on the outside is the first thing to cook, which—when paired with the salt, sugar and acid in the marinade—makes a caramelized coating over a deliciously tender body.
- Remember to keep an eye on the clock. Patience can be a virtue in the kitchen, but overexposing meat to a marinade can result in an acidic breakdown of its muscle fibers, leading to an undesirable texture. This Turkey Shawarma marinates for exactly 24 hours—the perfect amount of time to create those authentic Middle Eastern flavors.
- Marinate more than just proteins. Fruits and vegetables can also be enhanced in flavor and texture with a marinade. If you’re grilling these ingredients, a marinade can keep them from losing too much moisture and drying out. Fruits and vegetables can also be marinated after cooking to add depth and dimension. For example, this Grilled Turkey and Marinated Beet Salad incorporates roasted beets and an amazingly simple vinaigrette marinade to create uniquely zesty taste.
- Always marinate proteins in the refrigerator. Cooler meat reacts more slowly, which leads to a more balanced flavor. It also prevents food safety risks, as meat marinated at room temperature can become a food safety hazard.
- Use marinades to create popular ethnic dishes. If you’re looking to add a certain cuisine to the menu but are unable to invest in the various tools and cooking equipment needed, marinades can help you impart authentic ethnic flavor in a simple way. These Asian Tea-Smoked Turkey Filets are an in-demand option, and a marinade of mirin, sake, oil, onion, ginger and garlic is what creates their on-trend flavor.
The recipes mentioned above are just a few examples of how marinades can help you take your dishes to the next level. Which marinades are you currently using in your operation? Let us know on Facebook or LinkedIn. For more helpful tips like these, visit our Tips page.
Berry, Donna. Magical marinades, Meat+Poultry, August 2016.
Delany, Alex. How Long to Marinate Chicken (and All Meat) for Maximum Flavor, Bon Appétit, January 2018.
Marinating as Flavoring Agent (vs. Tenderizing), Dr. Gourmet, January 2018.
Moore-Brown, Justin. Marinating 101, Beyond Meat, June 2015.
Nunes, Keith. Savoring the trending flavors of sauces, dressings and marinades, Food Business News, April 2018.