how long can i marinate beef

Information. Most recipes for marinating meat and poultry recommend six hours up to 24 hours. It is safe to keep the food in the marinade longer, but after two days it is possible that the marinade can start to break down the fibers of the meat, causing it to become mushy.

Is 30 Minutes Long Enough to Marinate Steak?

Any time spent marinating will add flavor to steak. If you’re in a rush after a long day and forgot to put your meat in the marinade sooner, don’t stress!

You can still marinate your steak and refrigerate it for whatever amount of time you’ve got and see a difference in the flavor pretty quickly.

As noted above, prime marinade time depends on the cut and quality of your steak, so whenever possible follow our timing guidlines above for best results.

P.S. Ive heard people say that weak acids such as lime juice “preserve” the meat, but never from a reliable source; even if it worked, every marinade is different and it would be nearly impossible to predict the exact amount of time it preserves for. You have no idea how much bacteria existed at the outset, and even if the marinade somehow helped to inhibit growth of new bacteria, the “spoiled-ness” of raw meat doesnt come from the bacteria itself but from the toxins they leave behind. Its not a requirement for the bacteria to multiply in order for the food to spoil, if enough existed in the first place.

Five days in the refrigerator is definitely stretching it for chicken – usually no more than a few days is recommended, and thats assuming it was fresh when you bought it (not a day before the sell-by date). Even if its safe, its not going to be very good. Ive accidentally left raw chicken in the refrigerator and forgotten about it before, and it started to smell “off” after about 4 days. I hate to say it, but I wouldnt use it at this point.

While health concerns for storing meat are very real, in the scope of this question its actually not an issue. No amount of time you are going to marinate something that will yield a good result is going to pose a health hazard unless your meat is near expiration to begin with. Consider the following:

How Long to Marinate Steak

Knowing how long to marinate steak (much like how to long to marinate chicken) depends on a few factors such as the cut and thickness of the steak.

How you want the finished, prepared steak to taste when it is cooked, along with the specific steak marinade recipe you are using, is also a factor.

To give you a few general guidelines, here are a handful of approximate marinating times for some of the most popular cuts of steak:

Ribeye, filet mignon and other cuts of steak that are likewise naturally more tender generally do not require extensive marinating.

Marinating these steaks for 30 minutes to 2 hours is sufficient to infuse flavor, but marinating for up to 24 hours, can lend to a more pronounced taste.

Thicker steaks such as sirloin or strip steak benefit from longer marinating times. This allows the marinade flavors to infuse into the thicker cut of meat.

Marinating these steaks for two to four hours, or even overnight (eight to 24 hours), will typically help tenderize and enhance the flavor of such cuts.

Skirt steak, flank steak and other cuts known for being tougher in general will typically greatly benefit from marinating, helping to tenderize the meat.

Marinating these cuts for at six to eight hours, or overnight, is recommended to maximize tenderness. Marinate for 24 hours for even more flavor.

Information. Most recipes for marinating meat and poultry recommend six hours up to 24 hours. It is safe to keep the food in the marinade longer, but after two days it is possible that the marinade can start to break down the fibers of the meat, causing it to become mushy.

FAQ

Can you marinate beef too long?

When marinating meat, longer is not always better. And in fact, depending on certain variables, there is a point at which the quality of that meat will start to deteriorate if you marinate it for too long before cooking. Instead of flavorful, tender meat, you could end up with a mushy mess.

How long can you marinate beef in the fridge?

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends storing marinated meat in the refrigerator for no more than 3-5 days. This time frame accounts for the potential growth of harmful bacteria that can cause food poisoning.

How far in advance can you marinate steak?

How long should I let steak marinate? Marinate steak for at least 1-2 hours in the refrigerator. However, for best results, use a steak marinade for several hours or overnight. The extra time allows the steak fibers to break down and tenderize before cooking.

Does marinating longer make a difference?

The Bottom Line Time in a marinade definitely matters as far as its brining effect is concerned. In general, longer marination results in deeper seasoning, better moisture retention, and increased levels of browning or char (provided that there is sugar in the marinade).

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