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When cooking meat, marinating is a frequent technique. However, what's the optimal amount of time that one should marinate your meat? Is it different for different kinds of meat? What are some guidelines, generally, for marinating meat in different circumstances? E.g. when preparing steaks for grilling, or chicken for baking, or cubed beef for stir-frying, what are optimal times for marinating?

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Your edit doesn't make it easier to answer. It is like asking "what is the optimal way to cook potatoes". There are dozens of ways to cook potatoes, each with different results. In the same way, there are dozens of ways to marinade each meat, independently of the subsequent cooking technique, each with its result. Pick a recipe and stick with it. Nobody will be able to give you a more concrete answer than Jolenealaska's. –  rumtscho Nov 11 '13 at 12:33
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It is important to remember that there is a difference between "Marinading" and "Brining". Marinading is only a 'surface treatment', and is done in order to flavor a meat. Brining is longer more complicated chemical process designed to move additional salt and moisture deep into the meat. Many of the 'typical' acids in a marinade will ruin a meal if used for 'too long' as brine. –  Cos Callis Nov 11 '13 at 17:20
    
@CosCallis Thanks! Would you mind detailing that as an answer? I'd like to hear more about the difference between brining & marinating, and time differences for different expected outcomes. –  Jason Nov 11 '13 at 18:16
    
I included my previous post as a comment, as it is not a direct answer to the question posed; but I thought it might be a 'useful' addendum. This post should be helpful to you. mmmthatsgood.blogspot.com/2008/08/to-marinate-or-to-brine.html –  Cos Callis Nov 11 '13 at 18:18

1 Answer 1

Yes, optimal time to keep meat in a marinade varies drastically. It depends on the type of meat, the cut of meat, the marinade, and the intention. For instance, Sauerbraten is traditionally marinated for at least three days. On the other hand, there are many applications that call for very short time in the marinade. "Velveting" is common in Chinese cooking, that's a marinade of 30 minutes or less. The variations of techniques concerning marinade are endless.

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Got it -- It was clear that there would be different marinating times. I added more detail to my question about specific cooking techniques and the marinating times. –  Jason Nov 11 '13 at 12:14

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