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From my experience it is always best to marinate meat for a decent amount of time, so the meat can "soak" up the marinade and be more flavourful.

However, I came across this recipe here: http://www.abc.net.au/tv/cookandchef/txt/s2264630.htm

In the directions, it says: Add pork and marinade for a minimum of 6 hours or overnight, but no longer than 12 hours.

I was wondering, why does it say "no longer than 12 hours"? Isn't it good to let meat marinate for as long as possible?


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I marinated a steak in bbq sauce overnight once... so for about 24 hours. And it disappeared. I waited too long and my dad came along and ate it. : ) I know not the answer you are looking for. –  terry Mar 29 '11 at 0:55
hahaha i hope to do that to my son one day! well played sir! –  Brendan Dec 6 '12 at 1:15

5 Answers 5

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Two things-

If the marinade is very strong or salty then the meat could simply become over flavored.

If the marinade includes a meat digesting enzyme such as papain then leaving it too long could turn the meat to mush.

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what type of marinade ingredients will contain 'meat digesting enzymes' ? –  pyko Mar 30 '11 at 9:53
@pyko- This is not something I am an expert at but... Some ingredients contain proteases, protein digesting enzymes. Two that are common are papain (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papain) and bromelain (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bromelain). These are found in papaya and pineapple respectively. They can also be purchased as Meat Tenderizer powder and added to marinade separately. –  Sobachatina Mar 30 '11 at 12:41

In Sibiria we used to marinate chicken over 24 before BBQ on open flames. We marinated in lemon juice with a lot of sliced onions and sometimes added wine.

One more thing to consider, when we did that we stored it in cold place. almost at temperature of fridge.

I guess in article they want to make sure that pork does not become bad and start to collect bacteria.

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I've also found that if there's a citric acid i.e. lime or lemon juice in the marinade it changes the texture of the meat. Sort of like the process "ceviche" undergoes.

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I use a teaspoon of lemon juice, a dash of sea salt, a dash of oregano, a dash of garlic powder and a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil. Rub it into the steak (I usually buy New York Strip, loin) I put the steak in a plastic bag and around 6pm then leave it until the next night around 6pm (24 hours). I Broil the steak with the oven door open and let one side get almost burnt then flip it and let that side get almost burnt then I turn off the oven and close the door.

I wait about 4 to 8 minutes which usually gives a medium rare to medium steak. It's almost like medium roast beef actually it's pink but cooked and nothing is raw. Cooking my New York Strips this way is the only way I cook them now after many years of trial and error. They are so tender I don't even need a steak knife I can rip the meat apart with just two forks and it's simply delicious!

Edit: When you remove the steak from the fridge for cooking use a paper towel and remove all the marinade and use a butter knife and scrape the surface of the steak down so it's just the meat and no marinade is left the, Please let your steak sit out of the fridge after marinade for at least 15 minutes to reach room temperature before you begin cooking with my method. It makes the steak cook more evenly internally. If you cook it cold right of the fridge you will get a more RARE steak and might even be close to raw meat in the middle.

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Marinades typically are more dense, acidic, and can sometimes contain a tenderizer. However, marinating typically only has a significant effect on the surface of the meat so most recipes recommend shorter marinating times so that the outer layers don't get too salty/over-flavored/mushy etc. If you are concerned with making a more tender, juicy, and overall better tasting piece of meat a brine is really what you want.

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