Marinating Dos and Don'ts

A marinade adds a rich, savory flavor to meat, poultry, fish, and vegetables. In addition to enhancing flavor, marinades can also tenderize tougher cuts of meat. Nevertheless, marinating meat isn't always as straightforward as you'd think. Unless of course you're using one of our Reggae Spice Instant marinades. With all of our Marinades, you can start grilling in as little as 60 seconds after applying our delicious quick marinades. 

A marinade can turn food from boring to yum, but just throwing a mixture of sauces and herbs on your meat probably won't do the trick. Marinades can also pose a food safety concern if you don't use them appropriately.

If you're not using one of our quick and easy instant marinades, then here are some important dos and don'ts to ensure your marinade is tasty, effective, and safe.

Do's of Marinating

Follow the tips below to make your marinade flavorful.

  • Include an acidic component in your marinade. The acidity tenderizes the meat and allows the flavor to penetrate deeper. You can use citrus juice, wine, yogurt, vinegar, or buttermilk as acidic ingredients.
  • Add high smoke point oils to your marinade. High smoke point oils help flavors penetrate fatty tissues of the meat. Several oils have high smoke points, including peanut, canola, safflower, and soy.
  • Refrigerate the meat. When marinating, keep the meat in the refrigerator. A room-temperature environment can encourage the growth of dangerous bacteria and lead to food-borne illnesses. 
  • Don't taint the marinade with other foods. Place marinating meat on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator to prevent any possible leaks from tainting other foods.
  • Do not over-marinate. Make sure not to over-marinate. For vegetables, marinate them for 15 to 30 minutes, fish and seafood for 30 minutes to one hour, poultry for 2 hours or more, and beef for up to 24 hours.
  • Soak the meat with marinade. During the marinating process, turn your meat a few times to ensure all the surfaces have adequate contact and maximize flavor.
  • Marinate in resealable plastic bags. The sealed bag minimizes cleanup and ensures an even distribution of the marinade. Alternatively, you can use glass containers to marinate. Keep the containers covered while marinating.
  • Marinate all meat, poultry, seafood, and vegetables separately. The marinating of foods together can lead to cross-contamination.
  • Use tongs to remove and drain the items from the marinade. Draining the items of excess oil prevents burning.
  • You can remove a chicken's skin or slice tough meat to allow the marinade to penetrate

Marinades offer endless opportunities for flavor. Therefore, feel free to experiment with new flavors and ingredients. 

Don'ts of Marinating

Avoid the following common marinating mistakes.

  • Don't add too much salt. Too much salt drains moisture from the meat, causing the meat to dry out and preventing flavors from absorbing.
  • Don't re-use marinades or use them as a sauce. Marinades are in contact with raw ingredients; therefore, the marinade could contain harmful bacteria. Therefore, discard marinades after use. Or you can reserve a portion before adding the raw meat.
  • Kill bacteria before reuse. If you intend to reuse the marinade, boil it to destroy bacteria. Food-borne bacteria die at 165°F.
  • Do not marinate in aluminum foil or metal containers. Acids in the marinade can react with metals and change the marinade's flavor, as well as discolor or spoil the food.
  • Avoid freezing meats while they are marinating. The combined effects of the acid in the marinade and the damage from ice crystal damage can cause the meat to become mushy.
  • Don't put cooked food back into the containers you used for marinating. Unless you have properly washed the marinating containers, use different containers to store cooked food.

Familiarize yourself with how to marinade each kind of food before trying.

Contact us to try one of our delicious spices and marinades. You can use our marinades on chicken, beef, pork, or fish to grill, bake, smoke, slow cook, or fry.