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May 30, 2011 10:42 PM

marinate overnite?

when you marinate overnite is that 8 hours + all day next day till dinner? can you over marinate? i have left chicken in brine too long and had it really salty.

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  1. I'm glad you brought up this question . I've asked the very same thing during COTM reports. Sometimes the direction is to marinate "at least 1 hour or over night." Does that mean to cook the meat, or whatever, in the morning? I say no. Sometimes I start the marinade in the morning and cook the food at night for dinner. Or simply marinate a couple of hours before cooking.

    Brining time is usually 24 hours, isn't it?

    4 Replies
    1. re: Gio

      There's no one-size-fits all answer. With fish, you can actually over-marinate. The acid in the marinade begins to coagulate the proteins -- AKA cook the fish. (That's the principle in ceviche and, to a lesser extent, crudo) If you marinate fish any longer than 30 minutes, you'll change the texture of the fish -- not a good idea if you expect to cook the fish.

      The minimum time given in a recipe usually means the least amount of time before the marinade has any impact on the flavor or texture of the meat. Now, you get into matters of personal taste. Do you like you food with a strong marinade flavor? Does the recipe call for marinating plus a different sauce (or the reduced marinade) at serving time? How you answer these -- and other questions -- will impact how long you choose to marinate.

      1. re: Indy 67

        Thanks Indy. I do know about fish and an acedic marinade. The longest time I marinated anything was a chicken for 2 days. The recipe called for that length of time. The marinade consisted of buttermilk, grapeseed oil, garlic, S & P, rosemary and honey. Started on a Sunday night, cooked on Tuesday night.

      2. re: Gio

        I never brine for 24 hours. Eight is plenty. Less is ok also. Too much time in the brine and I have found the food gets way too salty.

        Meat seems to tolerate marinade longer - 24 hours is fine in my experience. Even longer is not bad if you find you can't make it when you thought you would. Fish is another story. One hour is as long as I would marinate that.

        1. re: chicgail

          I never brine also. Way too salty for me no matter how short the time. I prefer a marinade for less time...more flavors to enhance the marinating food.

      3. I usually only marinade steak and pork (the most often). If it says overnight I will probably do the marinade before I go to bed 10pm or so and then cook around 6 or 7 the next day. I have had to leave it longer (until the next night because we didn't have time to cook) and the results aren't bad either. I don't always have salty marinades so I haven't had that issue.