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Video:Tips for Marinating Chicken

with Caitlyn Becker

Learn these tips for marinating chicken so that you always get the best flavor from your chicken. Here are tips for marinating chicken, including great techniques for making marinades.See Transcript

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Transcript:Tips for Marinating Chicken

Hi, I'm Caitlyn Becker for About.com. Today I'm going to share my tips on marinating chicken.

What Is Marinating?

Marinating is the technique of soaking foods before cooking them. It is used to tenderize tougher cuts of meat and add a lot of different flavors. A marinade is not a dressing because your acid to oil ratio is about equal. You need all that acid in there to get into the meats to add flavor.

Chicken is like a blank canvas when it comes to marinating -- it stands up to all types of flavors. I like to marinate boneless, skinless chicken breast because without the skin and bone chicken can lose a lot of flavor and become dry. When you marinate, you're not going to miss any of that fat.

Cover Chicken Completely When Marinating Chicken

Take whatever mixed marinade you've either prepared or bought, and be sure to cover the chicken breasts completely. If you're going to be baking the chicken, you can actually do it right in the dish you're cooking it in. Cover this, and stick it in the fridge for a couple of hours, and halfway through I'm going to flip it.

If you're using a stove top or grill you want to marinate in a plastic bag. Just put the chicken inside, and then we're going to dump our marinade right on top. So we just want to zip this up, and squeeze out all the excess air, and then squish our chicken around the marinade. When you take the air out, you're really concentrating the flavor onto the chicken only.

Safety Tips for Marinating Chicken

So we're going to stick this in the fridge for anywhere from 4 to 24 hours. Don't marinate for longer than a day because the acid will break down the flesh too much and you chicken will be mushy and gross. When you take your chicken out of the fridge, you want to wipe down any area where you think the chicken might have touched with something disinfecting. Then you don't cross-contaminate anything in the fridge.

Chicken gets a bad rap sometimes because it's so often the culprit for food poisoning. Don't be scared about handling the chicken, just make sure you properly disinfect all surfaces where the chicken touched, and wash your hands especially under your nails.

Tips for Baking Marinated Chicken

Uncover your marinating chicken and pop that baking dish right into the oven. And you can actually bake your chicken right in the marinade. While your chicken is baking, you want to pull it out and brush it a little bit, with the marinade that's around it. It's going to baste your chicken and keep it nice and moist and flavorful while it cooks through.

Tips for Grilling Marinated Chicken

So we can take our chicken right out of the marinating bag, and put it directly onto a hot grill. If your chicken looks like it's starting to dry out, you can brush some of the leftover marinade on top while you're grilling. But make sure to stop at least 5 minutes before the chicken is done cooking, so any leftover bacteria can burn off.

Make Sauces With Leftover Marinades

My favorite thing to do with leftover marinades is to turn it into a sauce. You never want to serve an uncooked marinade because it could have some bacteria in it. The trick is to put it on the stove, bring it to a boil, and let it reduce for 10-15 minutes. After it's reduced, it's safe to try. It's going to concentrate the flavor, so if it's too strong, add some water. Whether you're baking or grilling, your chicken will always turn out delicious when you marinate it.

Try my tips next time you marinate chicken, and for more, visit About.com.

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