If there’s one thing most marinades have in common, it’s that they’re consistently disappointing—rarely delivering as much flavor as they promise. The problem boils down to the fact that marinades don’t penetrate the meat deeply enough and the heat of cooking can dull their flavors.
Your best bet is to rely on salt—a compound that can actually penetrate meat—to make an impact, which is why we like marinades made with soy sauce. However, instead of trying to game the system, we have a better idea:
Turn marinades into sauces to apply at the end, rather than at the beginning.
Try this technique in our Mexican-Style Grilled Pork Cutlets, wherein slathering and saucing—not marinating—with a chili-infused sauce is the secret to bold flavor. Or in our Peruvian-Style Tangy Chicken with Red Onions and Bell Pepper inspired by escabeche, a dish made by soaking meat or seafood in an acidic marinade after cooking. The new recipe can be found in our latest cookbook, Milk Street: The New Rules.
The book is full of easy but powerful cooking tips like this one that will take your dishes to the next level. Suffer lackluster marinades no more, and while you’re at it, discover simple upgrades for everyday foods. Think, a better way to soft-boil eggs and a tip for getting dressings to actually stick to your vegetables.