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post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
just to clarify my thinking

as far as i understand acidic marinades only denature the surface of meat or fish and therefore cannot tenderise the product to any real degree. If you put salt in the marinade this will only draw out the blood from the product. It is a total waste of time to put oil in a marinade since meat is primarily water and therfore would repel the oil. If you use a raw marinade the vegetables will only flavour the meat they are directly in contact with as well as giving a raw flavour. When you strain the marinade from the meat to cook you are left with a mrinade that contains a large amount of blood, if this is put into the sauce the blood will coagulate and give the sauce an unpleasant look with cooked blood droplets. The only way to get round this is to cook the marinade and then strain off the cooked blood and then use. The problem with this is that the blood basically clarifies the marinade thus taking the majority of the flavours you have tried so hard to get into your sauce; also during this clarification all of the colour is taking out of the wine in the marinade and is therfore last for the sauce.

One thing I am not sure about is whether raw alcohol has a detrimental effect on protein and does alcohol by volume make any difference?

I hope you can claify my thinking on this matter

post #2 of 7
Just a few comments on your ideas:

The effects of a marinade depend a lot on the marination time. Small molecules and ions, including acids and salt, will eventually penetrate to the center of a piece of food, but this may take days for a large roast. In a few minutes or hours, it’s true that the effects are mostly at the surface. Meat in a salty marinade does absorb salt. Oil can help hold flavors on the surface. Chopped vegetables and herbs do release flavor compounds into the liquid, so they need not be in direct contact with the meat surface to flavor it. Straining the coagulated blood from a cooked marinade may remove some flavor, but only some.

Alcohol does denature and dehydrate meat and fish tissue, and the stronger the alcohol, the stronger this effect.

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 


i'm sorry but i can't see how any part of a marinade effects more than the first 1 to 2 mm of a joint as to the best of my knowledge no matter how long you marinade the joint for all you can see is surface denaturisation and if you cut this away the meat will just taste of the said meat with no flavour from the marinade. Given that this is the case in my opinion; how can any molecules / ions effect the interior structure of the protein unless they can transmit some form of molecular change. If I am wrong how does reaction deep in a joint occur?

If I am incorrect please tell me how this effect actually takes place, as far as i can see the only way to truely denature and therefore tenderise the meat is to warm it to 50c for 2 hours as you say in your book and then cook as recomended

post #4 of 7
Think about cured hams, or salt cod--salt does penetrate all the way to the center, though as I say it takes time. Not all chemical changes cause a visible change in meat structure.
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 


Ok I can see how the salting waorks and yes it does go all the way to the centre of the meat, are you saying then that the salt will carry the marinade flavour compounds to the centre of the meat [surely the salt would only dehydrates the meat during this process; the opposite process of getting the marinade into the centre of the joint]as well and therefore tenderise the meat without any changes in colour or core flavour?

As an aside I deeply appreciate the time you have put into this forum for myself and all the others

post #6 of 7
The drying effect of salt is osmosis. But a brined meat usually weighs about 10% more than an unbrined. If it's just osmosis from the salt pulling out liquid from the meat, it would weigh less. Where's the weight gain coming from?

The salt and other additives in the marinade denature protiens tangling them. This tangle holds liquid behind it. The liquid got there by general diffusion, not diffusion through a semi-permeable membrane of cells--that's osmosis. The interstitial spaces and gaps hold some liquid as well, not just the interior of cells.

Yes, the diffusion isn't instant. But consider the effects on different meat. Fish, being of a fairly open structure between the muscle layers marinates quickly. Beef, with a solid dense structure marinates more slowly.

post #7 of 7
Peter, since you mention (in your marinade post) that you use my book for the food science course you've put together, it might be best if you could take a look at pages 155-56 for an explanation of brining, which does get a bit complicated. As Phil points out, there’s a difference between dry salting and brining (a marinade with salt is essentially a flavored brine), and brining does carry water and flavorings into the meat.

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