You are here: Home » Cooking How-To » Marinade Made Easy Marinade Made Easy Cooking How-To,How-To,Recipes http://relish.com/articles/marinade-made-easy/ September 6, 2012 Techniques and ingredients for your most successful marinade. Mark Boughton Photography / styling by Teresa Blackburn http://pgoarelish2.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/teriyaki_glaze_with_chicken_2_1.jpg Share this: Pin ItEmailPrint The practice of soaking food in liquid goes back to the day some long-forgotten cook noticed that storing meat in seawater postponed spoilage. Through the centuries, epicures repurposed the practice to improve flavor, and knowing some basic principles can take dishes from so-so to spectacular. The best reasons for using marinades (MEHR-in-nayds) are flavor and succulence. Acidic elements, like juice or vinegar, weaken muscle tissue, helping meat retain moisture during cooking. Herbs and spices contribute flavor. Adding oil helps prevent lean meats from becoming unpleasantly dry, and since most flavors are fat-soluble, oil also helps transmit the taste of companion ingredients. Experts disagree about a marinade’s ability to tenderize and warn that if you marinate too long, acids can actually toughen meats. Pineapple, papaya and ginger contain protein-digesting enzymes, so a bath in pineapple juice does tenderize, as will lightly acidic dairy products like buttermilk and yogurt. A milk bath also tames the wild taste of game. Marinades work mostly at the surface, hence flat cuts (or large ones cut into pieces) benefit most. Re-sealable plastic bags are perfect containers because the air can be squeezed out so that the marinade coats every surface. Marinades work fastest at room temperature, but always refrigerate if marinating more than 30 minutes. Boil used marinated for at least five minutes to eliminate bacteria, then turn them into sauces. Marinating can cut cooking time, so check frequently for doneness. On the grill, sugary marinades promote char, and oily marinades can cause flare-ups. Here are some general guidelines: Steak: 6-24 hours, depending on thickness and tenderness Large roasts: 24-48 hours Whole chicken: 24 hours Chicken pieces: 4-6 hours - Pork Chops: 4 hours Thin fish fillets: 30 minutes Thick, fatty fish filets: 1 hour —By Jo Marshall, a food writer in Deephaven, Minn. Share this: Pin ItEmailPrint All-Purpose Asian Marinade A simple, quick marinade for chicken, fish, beef or pork Spicy Broccoli with Beef A Chinese restaurant stir-fry is easy to make at home. Cashew Chicken A sauce of sherry, balsamic vinegar and soy sauce coats the chicken in this classic Chinese dish. Marinated Grilled Grape Tomatoes Charred over hot coals then marinated with crushed garlic and basil, these grape tomatoes are truly the taste of summer! Lemon Marinated Mushrooms Mushrooms and Worcestershire sauce are both rich in the savory flavors of umami. Citrus-Marinated Roasted Turkey This turkey is steeped in a marinade of fresh orange juice, garlic and rosemary, which is then used to baste the turkey. Marinated Carrot Salad Canned soup adds zip and zing to this easy summer side. Marinated Lemon Chicken Breasts Lemon and herbs add zest to chicken breasts. Coconut-Marinated Grilled Pineapple with "SpIce Cream" Feel the ocean breeze and taste the sweet flavors of pineapple and coconut in this classic Caribbean dessert.