My number one tip for marinating: don’t bother (most of the time!). I’m fully aware you’ve probably read a billion articles and watched a few TikTok videos saying you always have to marinate meat. If you’re already a marinade obsessive, then feel free to call bull**** on this article but if I were you, I’d give it a read first!
What is marinating?
It’s basically the process of soaking raw meat in a liquid solution with the intention of adding flavour and texture.
The problem with marinades...
People love a good marinade, but the problem is that most flavour molecules are too large to penetrate meat or vegetables by more than about 1mm. So they only really flavour the surface of what you’re cooking.
Marinating a massive slab of meat is going to make zero difference to the flavour of 90% of that meat. Truthfully, marinades do little to spruce up most meats. They essentially will coat the outside surface of the meat without penetrating it. I wouldn’t say they’re pointless. For thinner cuts of meat, they might be useful. It’s not like they’re going to penetrate any more because it’s a thin cut, but the meat is thinner so you’re more likely to get a mouthful of flavour from those exterior layers.
Establishing a balance in your marinade is also crucial and pretty difficult. We all hear that “marinades tenderise meat” but that isn’t strictly true. If it’s too acidic or you leave the meat to soak for too long, the exterior layers can become soft and mushy. So, unless you’re super careful about your marinade you can quite easily ruin the meat. Not the outcome any of us want, unless you're into mushy meat...
Our parting shot:
Marinades can be useful on occasion. Experiment with thin cuts of meat but be careful about the duration and the balance of the marinade. For medium to thicker cuts, leave marinating alone. Just save yourself the time and effort.
We recommend glazing during cooking with either a BBQ sauce
or hot sauce
to add the ultimate flavour – choose a sauce with a high sugar content to create a crispy, caramelised coating. Pair this with pre-seasoning your food with a dry rub
prior to cooking, for extra flavour – just be careful not to burn it!