The Marinating Time Rules You Need To Memorize

As the weather continues to heat up, the urge to grill continues to grow. But if you really want to whip up some flavorful meat to cook over a roaring fire, you have to rely on a flavorful marinade. According to Epicurious, you can't go wrong soaking your protein in a teriyaki-flavored marinade or Jamaican jerk marinade overnight. Thanks to these flavor-boosters, you'll end up with a final product that even the pickiest eater can't wait to dig into. While marinades prove simple to concoct, finding the right soak time for each protein feels a bit more challenging.

According to The Spruce Eats, you need to marinate vegetables 15 to 30 minutes to get the proper flavor. If you marinate your produce any longer, you risk ending up with soggy vegetables and a terrible texture (via Beyond Meat). Fish and seafood require a longer soak time of 15 minutes to an hour, while poultry takes anywhere between 30 minutes and three hours for maximum flavor. All other meats beg to rest in their marinade anywhere from 30 minutes to an overnight soak. When you whip up your marinade, just make sure to include the right ingredients so the flavors can properly penetrate your items.

The perfect marinade time for each item

Even if you properly time out your marinade period, improper ingredients in the mixture can lead to poor flavor penetration. According to The Spruce Eats, you want to make sure that your marinade relies on an acidic base that can penetrate into whatever you throw at it. This base can range from wine, vinegar, and citrus juice, all the way to buttermilk. Don't use any olive oil in your marinade either. Only include oils with high smoke points, like peanut, soy, and canola oil, to ensure flavors absorb properly. Even with the best marinade, you can ruin any cookout by letting your food develop bacteria as it rests in a room temperature environment (via The Spruce). Avoid any issues by always letting your items prep and soak in the fridge to stop spoilage dead in its tracks.

By knowing just how long an item needs to soak up a marinade, you can ensure your food develops delicious flavors while maintaining a great texture. With a bit of practice, your marinades can make you the talk of the town and help you serve up tasty food at all your cookouts.