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Mar 25, 2009 06:30 AM

Marinating before freezing

I just bought a couple of flank steaks that I will be freezing later today. Would I benefit by placing some marinade in the ziploc freezer bag - so that when they thaw, they are marinating?

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  1. It wouldn't hurt, but it really depends on how long you're going to leave it frozen and what you put in the marinade. As with any and all food questions there's never a definitive yes or no answer. If it were me, I would wait until I'm ready to cook it. If you want to get a head start when you're ready to cook it, directly from the freezer put the frozen (un-marinated) flank steak into a fresh marinade and let it thaw that way in the fridge for a day or so.

    To answer your question directly, I do not think you will "benefit" by doing this.

    1. i would think thawing it would water your marinade down, too?

      4 Replies
      1. re: smalt

        yes it will. and adding the marinade before freezing won't really give it an opportunity to penetrate the meat.

        1. re: hotoynoodle

          If you're not adding any water to the product, how would it water it down? Granted, the meat may lose some water via cell rupture, but it won't exactly "water it down." The amount of liquid coming off of a frozen piece of beef would be minimal, probably 1 or 2 tablespoons and again, it's not 100% water.

          And noodle, the original poster isn't trying to prolong the marination process , they are trying for the convenience of having the marinade ready and working simply by taking it out of the freezer and allowing everything to thaw together. Their point wasn't to try and get "penetration" before it froze.

          1. re: HaagenDazs

            HaagenDazs: "water" it down as in thin the marinade with a liquid that wasn't intentionally added to start with, not literally as in H20 water, altering the marinade concentration. Which could be compensated for, with forethought, increasing the intensity of the marinade going into the freezer....

            I personally wouldn't do it this way, but that's just me.

            1. re: smalt

              Understood, but it's not like the liquid released from the beef is going to significantly alter the flavor of anything. It will taste like beef, so who's complaining! ;-)

              We can argue the nuts and bolts here, but watering down a marinade to me means that you're adding a significant amount of liquid and will thus dilute the flavor of the marinade to an extent that it is pointless to have to begin with. This simply isn't the case. My point is strengthened by Tim Carroll's point below when he says essentially that when using this process, the marinade actually overpowers the beef flavor, not dilutes it.

      2. I have tried this before and learned for me anyway that less is more. I put my normal amount of marinade with the steaks and froze them; days later I thawed them out and grilled. All I tasted was the marinade, tender as could be but the beef flavor was gone. The next time I put about 1/4 of what I would normally use and deluded that 50% with water. That’s how I do it now. Marinades that I use are typically at a strength that requires 1 - 2 hour soak tops, any longer and it's again over powering. Don't know if it helps but good luck.

        1. One idea would be to make a basic marinade that you like and that you can use for a few different dishes. Freeze the pre-made marinade in ice cube trays and put them in the freezer bag with the beef. That way, you're not having any significant contact prior to putting everything in the freezer. Just another thought.

          1 Reply
          1. re: HaagenDazs

            I do this all the time with my flank steaks and I feel that it works very well and is convenient. I tend to use Asian flavored, honey, garlic, ginger. sometimes I will take the the steak out a day early and let it sit in the fridge marinating for longer.