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.


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.

  • 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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