Marinating Meat Guidelines -
A marinade should be thin enough in consistency to penetrate the meat. A general rule of marinade-to-meat ration is 1/2 cup of marinade per pound of meat. If you use a little more marinade, it will be OK.
Marinades vary from recipe to recipe but they generally contain three basic components - oils, acids, and seasonings:
Any marinade that contains acid, alcohol, or salt should not be used for very long, because it will chemically "cook" or denature the food in it. Marinate food in these marinades for less than 4 hours.
Marinades that contain citrus juices, especially lemon or lime juice, should be used for only 2 hours or less. Be careful when using acidic marinades. Foods left too long in these blends can change color and texture. Fish fillets, for example, can change in a matter of minutes.
Marinades that contain no salt, acid, or alcohol can be marinated overnight or, in some cases, longer.
Always marinate in the refrigerator. Never marinate at room temperature or outdoors when barbecuing as bacteria can quickly multiply on raw meat if it is warm.
Some older recipes call for marinating at room temperature. Do not follow this practice. Marinating at room temperature causes meat to enter the danger zone (between 40 degrees F. and 140 degrees F.) where bacteria multiply rapidly. If you recipe calls for marinating at room temperature, just increase the marinating time and marinate in the refrigerator.
Do NOT marinate in a metal container since the acidic mixture can react with the metal. Marinate in a re-sealable plastic bag, a sealable plastic container, or a glass container only. Turn meat occasionally so all sides are coated evenly with the marinade.
The easiest and less messy way to marinate meat is to use a re-sealable plastic bag. When your meat is marinated in a re-sealable bag and all of the air sealed out, the marinade completely surrounds the meat. This dramatically reduces the amount of marinade necessary and it also promotes an even marinate of your meat from top to bottom and allows maximum penetration from all sides.
Marinating times vary depending on the type, cut, and size of the meat. All
meats have a refrigerated shelf life and marinating does not extend that shelf
life (shelf life includes the day of purchase and thawing time). Frozen meat
will not absorb a marinade, so don't waste your time.
Discard any unused marinate. If you plan to use some of the marinade as a sauce on the cooked food, reserve a portion separately before adding the raw meat, poultry, or seafood. To avoid bacterial contamination of cooked meat, make two batches of marinade. Use one batch on the raw meat before grilling, then toss. Use a fresh batch as a finishing sauce or dip after the meat is fully cooked.
Because the marinade will have been in contact
with raw meat juices, if you do want to use
some of the marinade, boil the marinade first to destroy any harmful bacteria
for at least 5 minutes before using it to baste the cooking meat or
serving it as a sauce. Food borne bacteria dies at 165 degrees F.
United States Food and Drug Administration
Department of Health and Human Services
What's Cooking America© copyright 2004 by Linda Stradley - United States Copyright TX 5-900-517- All rights reserved. -