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A recipe for cooking pork calls for sake in the marinade. Should I boil the alcohol out or should I marinate with the alcohol intact? I read somewhere that alcohol can cook the meat just like acid, but what I can't figure out is whether that could be beneficial and actually improve the end result.

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See also cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/659/cooking-away-alcohol - it's not as easy as you think to boil off most of the alcohol. –  Jefromi Mar 23 '13 at 18:41

1 Answer 1

Unless the recipe specifically directs you to cook the marinade, you should just use it as is.

The only time you would normally cook a marinade is after it is used, in reducing it for use as a sauce—and of course, not all marinades are suitable for such use.

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That's part of the problem, the recipe didn't really say to cook it or not :( –  pixelfreak Mar 23 '13 at 18:54
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Assume not. Its like a recipe calling for water--don't assume it is frozen or boiling unless specified explicitly. –  SAJ14SAJ Mar 23 '13 at 18:55
    
Okay, that makes sense. But academically for my learning purpose, would the alcohol "cook" the meat? –  pixelfreak Mar 23 '13 at 18:57
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It may denature the protein at the surface, but is unlikely to penetrate very deep; if you are subsequently cooking the item anyway (since you said the recipe is pork, I assume you are), I wouldn't worry about it overmuch. Whatever effect it may have is anticipated in your recipe. Countless traditions from French to Chinese marinate meats in alcohol containing marinades. –  SAJ14SAJ Mar 23 '13 at 19:00
    
Not to mention, the alcohol content in these marinades is typically so weak to begin with, if it ever does denature anything, it would take days. –  Aaronut Mar 24 '13 at 12:58

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