Chef's Blog

November 20, 2015

The Great Marinade Debate: Counterpoint

from Chef Brian Dragos

I agree about oils and herbs, but acids and brines certainly work when used correctly.

To say marinates are useless and don’t carry flavor is straight up incorrect. I believe folks are thinking narrow-minded as to what a marinade is! Is a marinade just some liquid that you give a protein a bath in and expect it to impair flavor? If that’s the idea of a marinade then of course a rub makes sense.

Let’s dive a little deeper into what I believe a marinade can be: • Simple Marinade- a liquid to impair flavor and break down proteins • Brine- Still a marinade, this dual purpose liquid impairs flavor and firms up proteins

Today’s culinary gurus nearly all agree on the benefits of brining turkey or chicken. The saline solution actually penetrates muscle tissues and adds flavor, tenderness and bounce all at the same time. My extensive sous vide turkey project from last year would never have been so tender otherwise. Even my oldest son was shocked and said, “it’s not like regular turkey, it’s almost too tender!”

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