Marinating Meat Is a Waste of Your Time

published Oct 12, 2015
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(Image credit: Leela Cyd)

If you think marinating meat before cooking makes a big difference in flavor and tenderness, think again, says Russ Parsons at The LA Times.

Turns out that the truth is, with a few exceptions, oil-based marinades don’t penetrate more than an eighth of an inch into meat. Unless you’re using really thin cuts of meat, the flavor of the marinade really doesn’t get absorbed very much.

In terms of texture, marinades with too much acidity can actually make the outside of meat overly tender and mealy. Author Russ Parsons advises slicing tough cuts of meat thinly instead and going with simple seasonings or brining for good flavor.

This advice reminds me of a test we did here at The Kitchn where we found that scoring a cheap cut of meat before cooking resulted in a more tender and flavorful steak!

How do you feel about meat marinades?