Some people think marinating meat makes it tender; our expert in cooking and pastry intervenes

Not only will a flavorful marinade make your meat recipes tender, it will also make them delicious.

Some cuts of meat can be tough, so what do you face in this dilemma when you want to improve the results of meat main dishes? Our cooking and baking expert, Cordon Bleu-trained pastry chef Andrea Boudewijn, recommended the use of a marinade.

While some home cooks may question the effectiveness of soaking and basting meat in marinade to soften the texture, Boudewijn said the right ingredients will definitely have a tenderizing effect. The Pyrex 3 Piece Glass Measuring Cup Set, McCormick’s Grill Mates Everyday Grill Variety Pack, Cuisinart Griddler and other essentials are included in this item to help you achieve delicious results.

How do meat marinades work?

Whatever your favorite types of meat to prepare, you’ll enhance its texture and flavor by marinating it before cooking. Boudewijn explained how marinades work.

“Not only do marinades add flavor, texture and color to a dish, they can make meats more tender. The two main ways to do this are to add enzymes like mango or papaya or an acidic element like lemon juice or vinegar to your marinade,” she said. “Enzymes and acids penetrate the meat and break down the fibrous tissue, making it softer for the teeth, more flexible for the cut, and this allows for other marinade flavors like soy sauce, honey and onion powder to be absorbed more easily into the cups you serve.

Boudewijn added that salt helps the enzymes react and soften the meat, but it’s optional. So if you or someone you’re cooking for is on a low-sodium diet, you can skip the extra salt and get great results when you follow Boudewijn’s advice for marinade ingredients.

Meats that usually require marinating

Tough, dense cuts of red meat like beef brisket, chuck roast and bottom round are examples of the types of meats that benefit the most from marinades, Boudewijn said. She added advice on the best recommended time to marinate. “Never marinate meat longer than 24 hours – less time if marinating small cuts. Twelve hours tends to be a good overall amount of time.

The best ingredients for marinades

Some ingredients work better than others for tenderizing meat. Our expert recommends using high-acid ingredients for the marinade, including vinegar, pineapple, mango, citrus juice, buttermilk, kiwi, yogurt, papaya, and lemon juice. other acidic foods. “The more acid, the faster/deeper the softening process,” Boudewijn said.


  • Use marinades to add flavor to your favorite meats. “Your Thanksgiving turkey, ribs, steaks, chicken breasts, fajita meat, Moroccan lamb and more benefit greatly from the added flavors,” Boudewijn says.
  • Give color to certain types of meat by marinating them. Our expert gave an example of how this use of meat marinade works. “Swordfish cut into cubes and dipped in a red wine marinade brings out the most beautiful shade of lavender and looks so interesting in contrast to the green when served on a banana leaf. We eat with our eyes first, so color and presentation are almost as important as flavor,” she said.
  • Use a meat tenderizer mallet as an alternative to a marinade. Boudewijn said this simple kitchen gadget works best on boneless steaks. You need to place the boneless chicken in a heavy freezer bag before using a meat tenderizer, and the fish doesn’t need to be pounded, she added.
  • Keep storage bags and containers handy. They will come in handy during the meat tenderizing process.
  • Take inventory of your kitchen gadgets. Some of the tools Boudewijn recommends having on hand when marinating meat include a barbecue mop, pastry brush, and baster.
  • turn it on barbecue. Mix marinated meat on it for appetizing results.
  • Next door, bar or tea towels ready for cleaning. Keep them nearby while marinating meat to quickly wipe up any splatters or spills.

Boudewijn marinade recipe

We asked our expert for ideas on how to make a marinade that will make your favorite meats tender and appetizing.

“There are so many great ingredients to include in your marinade. Mine is simple and usually contains a mixture of soy sauce, onion powder, smoked salt, freshly ground pepper and fruit juice. There are many other ingredients you can use!

  • vinegar, all kinds
  • fruits and fruit juices
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • tomato
  • honey (truffle honey, yum)
  • wine
  • alcohol
  • chili powder
  • shallot
  • cinnamon
  • cardamom
  • and more!

The best items for marinating meat

Set of 3 Pyrex Glass Measuring Cups

A set of measuring cups will come in handy for measuring and pouring the marinade. The three-pack Pyrex includes 1-cup, 2-cup, and 4-cup sizes. Each is made of strong tempered glass and includes a pour spout for added convenience.

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Kitchen-Best McCormick Grill Mates Everyday Grill Assortment

McCormick Grill Mates Everyday Grill Assortment

Made by a leading spice brand, this set includes four flavorful spice combinations that will give your meat marinades bursting flavors.

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Kitchen-Best Cuisinart Griddler

Cuisinart Griddler

Once your meat is marinated, it’s easy to cook it on a panini press. The Griddler doubles as a grill, as it features a versatile hinge that allows the machine to be used in the open or closed position. The temperature controls are easy to use to achieve perfect cooking temperatures.

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Kitchen-Best Farberware Measuring Spoons, Set of 5

Farberware Measuring Spoons, Set of 5

When spicing up your meat marinade, a set of measuring spoons will guide you to achieve precise flavoring. This affordable set includes five color-coded spoons.

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Kitchen-Best Nordic Ware Baker's Delight 3-Piece Baking Sheet Set

Nordic Ware Baker’s Delight 3-Piece Baking Sheet Set

Boudewijn said the baking sheets are great for roasting marinated meat in the oven. Made by a top brand, this set includes a half sheet, quarter sheet and jelly roll pan.

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Kitchen-Best Chicago Professional Metallic Roaster

Chicago Metallic Professional Roaster

A spacious size, non-stick cooking surface and aluminized steel construction make this rotisserie ideal for large cuts of meat after soaking up a flavorful marinade.

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Kitchen-Best KitchenAid Gourmet Utility Whisk

KitchenAid Gourmet Utility Whisk

Whisking your marinade ingredients together won’t take much effort when using a whisk. This one has a thick, easy-to-grip handle and a stainless steel top that resists corrosion.

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Kitchen-Best OXO Good Grips 16-inch Locking Tongs

OXO Good Grips 16 inch Locking Pliers

The tongs are essential to place the meat in the marinade, then put it on the grill or in the pan to roast it. OXO Good Grips pliers are long, durable, and feature an easy-grip handle that resists slipping during use.

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Kitchen-Best Saltverk Flaky Sea Salt

Saltverk Flaky Sea Salt

If you decide to salt your marinade, a unique salt like these sea salt flakes will make it easy to get the right flavor without adding too much or too little.

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Kitchen-Best Cave Tools Skewers Set

Cave Tools Skewers Set

It’s easy to roast small pieces of marinated meat on skewers for a flavor-packed shish kebab. This set includes 10 durable stainless steel skewers. A storage bag is included.

Sold by Amazon

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Jennifer Manfrin writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their buying decisions, saving them time and money.

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