can you over-marinate food?

Ted Lee

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i had some marinate (yoshida's brand) that i soaked my pork-chops in. i left it in for approximately 24 hours.

when i took the pork chops out, they looked kinda funky. they were kinda hard and had a rubbery texture. but i figured wtf...cook 'em anyway.

well, they didn't cook up very well either. they stayed kinda firm the whole time. when i took them off and cut them open, they weren't dry ... but the meat texture was sorta stringy/clumpy ... almost "brittle".

i'm a decent grill-master so i'm pretty sure i didn't mess up during the cooking process. so, the only thing i can think of is that i marinated the meat too long.

when i checked the label, it said to marinate up to 30 minutes ... since i did about 24 hours i thought that may be the issue???
 

DaveBB

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I think 24 hours might be too long for pork chops. One time I marinated pork chops in beer for 24 hours (in the fridge) and they became grey. Now I just do them for 12 hours at most.
 

Bob-N

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Yes, marinades tend to toughen the meat after some time. I normally try to leave it overnight at the most and it tends to give the best results between flavor and texture of the meat.
 

Ted Lee

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oh yeah ... that's exactly what happened!

okay, guess now i know. :b

on a side note - anyone have any good home-made marinate recipes they'd be willing to share??? i'm more about flavor and spices then sugary coverings
 

Malcolm R

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At that point you may as well just drink the marinate straight, since the taste of the original food item has been obliterated.
 

Leo Hinze

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If the marinade has citric acid (lemon juice, lime juice, etc), then you need to limit the amount of time the meat is in the marinade, because the acid starts to 'cook' the meat. I'm not sure what the mechanism is, though. Maybe it's the acid doing something to the protein in the meat that is akin to what happens to the protein when it is heated.

I leave meat in citrus marinade around half an hour, never longer than one hour.
 

Ted Lee

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i'm with you malcolm. i usually don't try to cover up the taste of the food ... that's why i prefer more spicy/flavorful marinates as opposed to sugary ones. but with the other marinate i like (chaka's brand) i've let the meat (in this case it was chicken) marinate for well over 24 hours. it turned out rockin!

which brings up another question. do different meats marinate differently? chicken seems pretty bullet-proof. i've never really tried to marinate steaks as i really like the base flavor, but i'd like to experiment some. i'm just starting to try cooking fish on the grill so not much experience there either...
 

Kevin Hewell

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Ceviche. This is very popular in some countries of South America.

I agree with what was said above. If there is any acid (not just citric) the meat will "cook" the longer it remains in the marinade.


BTW, "marinate" is a verb, "marinade" is a noun. Don't mean to be picky but I see these mixed up all the time.
 

Dave_vega

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i'm a sucker for worchestershire sauce and steak spice marinade..throw it on the barbie and chow down..I have never marinaded pork chops though..I'm a steak man..
 

Tony Whalen

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A steak marinade I like to do consists of soy, worchestershire, balsamic vinager, fresh finely-chopped garlic and a dab of dijon mustard. (Can't remember the measurements off-hand.) Damn tasty steak.

Edited to add: WHOOPS! I forgot... there is also lime-juice in the above marinade.
 

Brian Johnson

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Hey Super Ted
Here is my favorite chicken marinade.
Easy to make & mucho deliciouso.
I use skinless,boneless chicken boobies & marinate for as long as you can wait.

Chicken marinade:

1 cup water
1/2 cup vinegar
1 tbls Worchestershire
1 stick butter
1/8 cup sugar
4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Boil.
Done.
 

Tony_Woods

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Here's one of my favorite steak marinades, I'm guestimating on the measurments.

2/3 Cup your favorite BBQ sauce
3 tablespoons Soy sauce
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 Cup Honey
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon Lowry's salt or equivalent
 

Rob Gardiner

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Sugartastic,

Here's a marinade I like to use, especially on chicken breasts or salmon:

soy sauce
chili oil
sesame oil
toasted sesame seeds
garlic (powder or minced)
black pepper

no measurements, I just use "a little bit" of each
 

Ted Lee

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ohh...some new marinade (that's for you kevin
) recipes!

thx guys.

rob, check out my new city/state/zip. it's official baby!!!


edit - tony, how long do you marinate your steaks for???
 

Tony Whalen

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Ted, I forgot to mention that there is also lime-juice in the above-mentioned marinade.


As there is citrus in it, I usually let 'em soak for about 1/2 an hour to an hour ... or so.
 

Ted Lee

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ahh..good catch tony...thanks. damn ceviche! how dare it actually make me pay attention to what i'm doing
 

Tony Whalen

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That's the trouble with this business....too many guys named Tony!

 

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