A Marinade Primer



A marinade is a liquid, typically made of oil, acid, spices, and herbs, in which meat, fish, or other food is soaked before cooking in order to flavour and or tenderize.

If keeping a lean piece of meat juicy (I’m looking at you boneless, skinless chicken breast), is your goal, consider a brine or a marinade brine hybrid. 

When I’m organized and pop some beef, chicken or pork into a quick marinade the night before it feels like dinner is half-done the next day. 

But sometimes I forget. So here’s what I do:

Slice and dice: Slice meat into smaller pieces, pop into a zip-top bag, and let marinate on the counter 30 minutes while you get the rest of the meal together. Halfway through, give the bag a shake to make sure your marinade penetrates every bit of meat. 

Rub-a-dub: A flavourful rub can add zing in seconds. Pre-mixed spices are great for this (e.g. Montreal Steak Spice, Z’attar), but you can play around with herbs, spices and citrus zest. 

Fish is your friend: Delicate fish flesh shouldn’t sit in a marinade for more than 30 minutes anyway since the acids will break down the proteins and make them mushy.

Freeze beforehand: This works so well with things like chicken thighs, pork chops and flank steak—before storing meat in the freezer, pop it in a marinade. When you get it out to defrost in the fridge, that marinade is working its magic! 

Try my tasty take on Jerk Marinade, or my Savoury Sesame Dressing that goes from dressing to marinade to dip. 

For fast marinades, both my Beef Bulgogi and Thai Rice Noodle Salad marinate in 30 about minutes. 

1 Comment

  1. Marlene

    I love your ideas. Especially the one for after you take from freezer and as it thaws, it’s marinating.


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