Pump Up Your Grill Game: Marinating Dos and Don'ts

Summer's here and it's time to grill.

Step up your grill game by checking out our list of dos and don'ts for marinating meats, poultry, seafood and veggies.

Do: Think ahead. Start marinades for tougher cuts the night before or in the morning.

Don't: Marinate items at room temperature. Placing items in the fridge prevents the growth of dangerous bacteria that can lead to food-borne illnesses.

Do: Know your times. Marinate vegetables for 15 to 30 minutes; fish and seafood for 15 minutes to 1 hour; poultry for 30 minutes to eight hours; and meat for 30 minutes to overnight.

Don't: Cross-contaminate. Make sure to marinate meat, poultry, seafood and vegetables in separate containers. Each will have different cooking times and marinating together can lead to cross-contamination.

Do: Use proper containers. Heavy-duty storage bags or glass, ceramic, stainless steel and plastic containers work best.

Don't: Marinate in aluminum, foil, cast-iron or copper containers. The metal can react chemically with the acids, changing the flavor of the marinade and discoloring or even spoiling the food.

Do: Include acid in your marinades. Acidic components like vinegar, citrus, yogurt, buttermilk, wine, beer or liquor help to penetrate to the meat, tenderizing and infusing flavor.

Don't: Forget the oil. Use oils with high smoke points like peanut, canola, safflower or soy.

Do: Impart flavor. Include flavored oils, fresh herbs and spices.

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Brooke Viggiano is a contributing writer who is always looking to share Houston's coolest and tastiest happenings with the Houston Press readers.
Contact: Brooke Viggiano