There’s nothing like breaking out the grill to make a delicious meal for your family. A grilled meal can be the perfect celebration for a holiday or special occasion or even just a relaxing night in with friends and family. What isn’t so nice is how often grilled items come off the grill dried out or lacking that juicy flavor that you were craving when you put it on the grill in the first place. Luckily, there is an easy fix to this problem. Marinating your meat ahead of time! That’s one of the many reasons why it’s important to marinate meat.
Why You Need to Marinate Meat
If you want your meat to be tender and flavorful when you bite into it after being on the grill, then you need to marinate it. When you grill meat over high heat that open flames provide, the meat is much more likely to dry out and lose some of its flavor. When you add a marinade to the meat beforehand, it helps to allow the fluids and seasonings to enter the steak and stay during the cooking process. This will keep your dinner from drying out during the grilling process.
Not only does it help with that, but you’ll also find that certain meats have a harmful substance form on the top of the meat during the grilling process due to the method of cooking. Having an acidic marinade on the meat beforehand will actually help those substances not form on the meat, thus protecting your health.
How Long to Marinate Meat
So now that you know the importance of marinating your meat before cooking, you may be wondering how long you have to do that before tossing it on the grill. The length of time needed to marinate foods, as well as the marinade you choose matters. For fish and any kind of seafood, you only need to marinate for about 15-30 minutes, so you don’t even have to plan that far ahead for that meal. Chicken shouldn’t be marinated for any longer than 2 hours or you may find that it becomes chewy. Beef and pork are the main ones that can be marinated for up to 12 hours at a time, some beef even overnight, so those can be prepped ahead of time and then put on the grill.
Make sure when you have your meat marinating that you keep it cold in the refrigerator. Because you are working with raw meat you never want to leave the marinade or the meat out on the counter due to potential germs and contaminants. So always put it in the refrigerator to soak, as well as using plastic bags rather than metal containers that could react to the acids in the marinade. Make sure that you set aside some of the marinade ahead of time to be used during the cooking process. You never want to use the leftover marinade that your meat has been soaking in at another point in the cooking process.
What Kind of Marinade to Use?
Whether you prefer to make your own or use store-bought, you really can’t go wrong with either marinade as long as you choose the right one for your meat. Certain marinades are best for beef, and you don’t want to use the same marinade for chicken and vice versa as those meats are very different and the marinade may affect the taste of the meat when done.
Marinating your meat is a simple process that can take a few extra minutes up to a few extra hours before cooking. However, it is well worth it for the enhanced taste and juiciness that you’ll get from doing so.