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Marinades- How to Use Them


How long do I need to marinate (soak)?

In general, meat should be soaked in marinades for at least 2-4 hours, preferably overnight to obtain maximum flavour.

Can I reuse marinade?

Marinades are designed to be used once. Using old marinade results in the following:

1 – Meat juice contamination, reducing meat shelf life.
2 – The marinade ingredients are diluted and not absorbed uniformly, thus changing the flavour of future batches.

Do I need to use a tumbler?

The benefits of using a tumbler include:

  • Uniform distribution of the marinade throughout the product
  • Shorter processing time
  • Higher water gains.

If you use a tumbler, processing time is reduced to 1 – 2 hours, instead of overnight in order to get the maximum flavour. Typically 10% to 20% gains can be expected using the tumbler vs. 5% achieved by soaking alone. In order to achieve higher gains, sodium phosphate, soy protein isolate and modified starches can be used to get 25% to 45% gains. Higher gains also affect the texture of the product, making it spongy. Gains that are high without the use of functional ingredients will result in excessive shrinkage after cooking.

The roles of some commonly used functional ingredients are :

  • Sodium phosphates to help extract soluble protein, increasing binding and water holding capacity (0.35 to 0.45% in finished product).
  • Soy protein isolate to help retain water and fat (1% to 2% in the finished product).
  • Modified food starch to hold in the water during and after cooking (1% to 2% in finished product).

Recommended Levels of Functional Ingredients for 5kg of Brine

This chart indicates recommended directions for additives used in conjunction with our marinades in tumblers.

Ingredients 25% gains** 35% gains** 45% gains**
Sodium phosphate 112.5 g 86 g 73 g
Soy protein isolate 190 g* 160 – 320 g
Modified starches 190 g* 160 – 320 g
Water 3.88 – 3.28 kg 3.97 – 3.58 kg 4.07 – 3.76 kg
Marinade 1.0 – 1.6 kg 0.84 – 1.25 kg 0.70 – 1.00 kg
Meat 20 kg 14.3 kg 11.1 kg

* Use one or the other

** When using a small tumbler, longer tumbling times are required for high pick-up and the brine should be added in successive additions (i.e. half of the brine should be added in one cycle.) Larger/thicker pieces should be injected prior tumbling.

How long can I keep the marinade for?

The shelf life of dry marinade is 3 to 6 months, depending on storage conditions and whether or not the package has been opened. Marinade should be made up fresh for every batch of meat. The key is not to make more than you need, thus ensuring the best possible product. Marinade that has been prepared in advance should be refrigerated and used within a 24 hour period to ensure freshness. Due to the variability in meat cases, marinated products should not be kept for more than 3 days under ideal conditions.

What is tenderizing?

Marinades are used to tenderize the meat. Ingredients that help include:

  • Acids such as vinegar, lemon juice (mild treatment).
  • Oils such as corn, soy and olive (mild treatment).
  • Natural enzymes such as papain from papaya, ficin from figs and bromelain from pineapple. The tenderizing effect of enzymes can be slowed by refrigeration, but if in contact with meat for long periods of time, will completely break down the muscle tissue, resulting in a liver-textured product (moderate treatment).

The use of acids and oils will enhance the product but will not break down connective tissue and helps relax the meat muscle, resulting in a more tender product.

The use of enzymes is not recommended for fresh product due to the uncontrollable breakdown of the muscle fibers. It is better to marinate the meat and then freeze the product. Once thawed, the enzyme will continue to tenderize the meat until it is cooked. Enzymes are deactivated by cooking.

To the best of our knowledge, the above information is accurate and reliable, and is offered solely for consideration and assistance without any warranty or guarantee.