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jlm11f's avatar

Do you think this is an appropriate rule for marinating meat and seafood?

Asked by jlm11f (12335 points ) December 27th, 2009

Whenever my cooking requires marination of the meat, I’ve noticed the longer I marinate something (longer than the recipe says), the better it turns out. But I haven’t cooked that many different meats so I was wondering if I could get the collective’s consensus on this rule. Is there anything like over marination? I suppose if you leave anything marinating for TOO long (like a week), it would essentially start dissolving, so that’s not my Q.

My Q is more along the lines of would marinating any and all meat overnight make it turn out better regardless of what the recipe says?

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14 Answers

eponymoushipster's avatar

Well, for one thing, depending on the contents of the marinade, rather than dissolve, the citric acid would actually start to cook the meat. Ceviche, for example, is fish that’s essentially cooked by the chemical processes going on in the marinade.

ive done a 24hr marinade on beef and also on chicken. came out nicely.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

I think with cheaper cuts of meat, more marinating is a good thing. However, with better cuts, the meat break down, and you taste the marinate as a dominant taste, and not as an enhancement to the meat.

SamIAm's avatar

the first steak that i’ve had in about 10 years (and actually really liked, like ate a ton of it) was marinated for 2–3 days… so that’s my new rule!

marinelife's avatar

In a word: Yes.

fundevogel's avatar

@eponymoushipster I love cerviche, but I lost my recipe…help a girl out?

Trillian's avatar

Yeah, what they said. I like to marinate a flank steak overnight in teriyaki, and i put another recipe in here somewhere that calls for 24 hours of marinating, but it’s really a judgment call. That was for sliced chicken or roast beef that you skewer and grill. Chicken will begin to cook, as someone said, in citric acid, or vinegar. Pork ribs will too. It depends on the cut of meat and what’s in the marinade…Flank steak is the exception to the rule. Marinate and then broil, serve over Jasmine rice. mmm. nice. I don’t marinate steaks as a rule. I buy porterhouse or ribeye, tenderize with a fork and fry (that’s right, I said it, I fry them) in butter. I use accent and McCormick grill mates Montreal Steak. Oooooo. Start with a great cut of meat, and you can’t go wrong. Leave them sirloin steaks alone. ;-)

janbb's avatar

I usually marinate a cheep cut of beef for about 6–12 hours; seafood I would only marinate for 2–3 hours.

eponymoushipster's avatar

@fundevogel i honestly don’t have a recipe specifically for it – it’s a “get out” thing for me. The Jaime Oliver book i have has a recipe for it; his stuff is usually pretty easy to follow. I’d suggest that one.

Another cool “marinade” i’d suggest is this: you can make a cheap cut of beef taste way more expensive by coating it in kosher salt for an hour or two (up to 6, i believe). It drains all the excess water out. then rinse the salt off, pat dry. sear it on both sides for a minute or so (as desired) in an oven-safe skillet, then pop in the oven to finish.

great with roasted taters.

silky1's avatar

To be totally honest. I’ve let meat sit in a marinade for several days and I noticed the longer it sits the better it taste. I do believe that their si a thing called over marinating. To much of anything is never good.

eponymoushipster's avatar

this article is from May, but I just saw it on Lifehacker today. It’s about the chemistry of marinades.

jlm11f's avatar

From the article @eponymoushipster (—thanks for your answers btw, bucky!) linked to:

“How long you marinate will depend on the kind of meat you’re using. Keep in mind that because the marinade doesn’t penetrate very deep, there’s not much advantage to be gained from a long soak.

Fish will marinate quickly. Figure a maximum of an hour or so for fillets or shellfish, even less if the marinade is particularly acidic (you don’t want to wind up with ceviche).

Chicken can marinate a bit longer, as the tissue is more dense than fish. Marinate skinless pieces generally for up to four to six hours; skin-on pieces can go for up to six hours or even overnight. (Marinades have trouble penetrating the fat in the skin, thus allowing more time.)

Beef, lamb and pork will typically take the longest: You can go 6 to 8 hours, up to overnight for steaks, chops and kebabs.”

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slapin1253's avatar

I am marinading chicken for bourbon chicken. Should I pat it somewhat dry before i put it in the pan with oil? Thanks.

janbb's avatar

@slapin1253 I don’t think it’s necessary but it wouldn’t hurt.

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