Guide to Marinating Times
- 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 two hours or less. Marinades that contain no salt, acid or alcohol can be marinated overnight or, in some cases, longer.
- Although marinades thwart bacterial growth and help extend food’s life, remember that the food in them is still raw and must be treated as such.
- Do not reuse a marinade.
- Pour marinade out of the bottle into a small cup to brush onto your meat if you’re going to apply while cooking. Never allow marinade that has come in contact with raw meat to be applied during cooking – it not only increases unhealthy bacteria, but also tends to
destroy the flavor of a good cut of meat.
- For safety, marinate meat in the refrigerator, not on the kitchen counter. 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°F and 140°F,
where bacteria multiply rapidly.
- When a recipe calls for marinating at room temperature, increase the marinating time, and leave in the refrigerator to achieve similar tenderness and taste results.
- Always place marinating meat on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator to prevent any possible leaks onto foods below.
- Never serve cooked meat on the same plate that held raw meat. Bacteria in the raw juices can transfer to the cooked food and cause food poisoning.
- Cooked meat should never be returned to a cold marinade.