Soaking pork in a marinade is a good method for adding flavor and tenderizing the meat. A proper marinade should contain an acidic ingredient such as vinegar or wine, an oil such as olive oil, and seasonings such as herbs and spices. Citrus fruit juices may be used in place of the vinegar or wine to provide the acidic ingredient that is necessary to soften the tissues of the meat.
There are several important points to remember when using a marinade:
- Quantity: The marinade should totally cover the meat in order for it to work effectively.
- Soaking time: Pork can be soaked in the marinade from a couple of hours to twelve hours or more. Be sure to store the meat in its marinade in the refrigerator during this period of time.
- Proper containers: Since the marinade contains an acidic ingredient, reactive containers such as metal bowls should not be used. It is best to use containers such as glass bowls, plastic bowls or plastic bags that can be sealed.
- Reuse: The marinade should not be reused for any other purpose because of the bacteria that may be present from being in contact with the raw meat. The only way the marinade can be reused is to boil it thoroughly and then use it as a basting liquid or as part of a sauce for the meat, but it is best to save some unused marinade for this purpose.
- Cooking time: When meat has been marinated for a long period of time it will shorten the cooking time. Twelve hours of marinating will reduce the cooking time by 30 to 35%.
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