When we cook chicken, we usually skip the marinades. No matter how bold the ingredients, few flavor molecules are able to penetrate the protein, keeping flavor barely skin deep. Worse, acidic marinades (anything with vinegar or citrus juices, or even yogurt) can turn chicken mushy if soaked too long.

Instead, we use a simple trick to ensure our seasonings get deep into the chicken—we cut slashes into the meat. Those cuts allow flavor to get deep inside, while also creating more surface area for sauces and seasonings to cling to.

It’s a technique we learned from Andrea Nguyen, author of “Vietnamese Food Any Day,” who uses it to thoroughly season bone-in chicken parts. In our testing, we found that this technique not only seasons meat better, it also cuts cooking time, as it exposes more of the flesh to the oven heat.

While great for bone-in chicken thighs and legs, we don’t use this method for breasts; they’re prone to drying out, and the slashes exacerbate that. But for thighs and legs, the method is simple: Cut parallel slashes no more than 1 inch apart, slicing down to the bone. Use a sharp knife for clean cuts; dull blades will tear the flesh. Then toss the chicken in the sauce or seasonings, rubbing it into the slashes—guaranteeing deeper flavor, faster.