There are so many different recipes to choose from that the best way of picking what you want to make is simply to browse a collection of the best ones and see what appeals to you the most. This will depend on your palate, your budget and what ingredients you already have in the pantry. Not only can you explore different recipes but you can also find out new cooking methods or ingredient combinations.
Perhaps you have already tried a few marinades for chicken and are keen to explore new types, or maybe you are completely new to flavoring and tenderizing your meat in this way.
If you fancy something sweet, what about making a sweet, fruity pineapple marinade? Also good on pork, a pineapple mixture makes your chicken sweet and juicy. An orange and onion marmalade can be used to marinate chicken, as well as pork or lamb. Since these would need to be cooked first, you will need to let it cool down before adding your poultry.
Sugar, honey, or molasses feature in some marinades and these add sweetness as well as stickiness. The stickiness helps the mixture stay on the meat. If you are grilling your poultry over a charcoal grill though, do not use a sweet, sticky marinade because the sugar in the marinade will burn and your bird is going to end up charred black all over the outside.
Using Wine When Marinating
You can use red, white, or even blush wine when marinating chicken. Some people avoid red wine because it can color your chicken pink. When you check to see if the chicken is cooked through, you might not know if the pinkness in the middle is raw chicken or color from the wine, so it is best to use a digital thermometer to check the doneness, if you are using small pieces and the color of the marinade penetrates right the way through.
You might have used a lemon and white wine marinade on fish before, but this is also one of the best marinating ideas for poultry. Lemon juice is acidic and tends to make the meat a bit mushy after more than an hour though, so do not leave it on for too long.
Recipes with Citrus
A lemon and rosemary marinade would make a good choice for poultry since these two flavors work in harmony to give it an amazing taste, or you could make a lemon pepper marinade for using on a rotisserie bird. You can use it to baste the meat while it cooks. Grapefruit juice, orange juice and lime juice also feature in some citrus marinades.
The Spicy Recipes
What about giving your chicken a Caribbean flavor by using a Jamaican Jerk marinade, or trying a south of the border approach and using a Mexican mixture with chili, cilantro, lime juice, and garlic? A carne asada marinade would also work and although this recipe is usually used on meat, it also works well for poultry. Try a Japanese teriyaki variety if you want a slightly spicy flavor (which is also sweet) rather than a fiery one.
There are great recipes for every palate, season, and occasion, and to suit any cooking method. Using a marinade is optional but recommended if you like tender, juicy, flavorful results.
Which Type of Marinade to Make
Marinades are simple to put together. In fact the hardest part of making one is choosing which type to make in the first place. There are spicy marinades and mild ones, lemon marinades, herb ones, all kinds of international flavors, wine-based ones, creamy yogurt and buttermilk marinades and plenty more besides. So how should you decide which one to make?
Matching Marinades to Cooking Methods
You might like to narrow down your options by considering what cooking method you are going to use. If you plan to use a charcoal grill, you might not want to use something containing honey, sugar, or molasses, because sugar burns over an open flame and char-grilling sticky, sweet meat can make it turn black.
The chicken should be fine if you let all the excess marinade drip off before cooking but you should not baste the chicken with the sweetened liquid as it cooks because then it is likely to char.
Also, if you are boiling the marinade for five minutes to make it into a serving sauce, you might not want to be standing over the grill in the backyard if there is nobody to watch the pan bubbling away on the stove.
Some marinades are great for rotisserie chicken. This is a bird which is cooked whole, on a spit, so the marinade will be on the outside of the meat. When you chop chicken into small cubes, for example for making kabobs, more of the surface area will be in contact with the marinade so the flavor will be more intense. When you are using a whole bird, only the outside will be in contact with the marinade so use something that will penetrate well.
Alternatively you can use an injection, and that involves injecting the marinade into the flesh of the chicken rather than letting the chicken soak in the marinade for a period of time. The flavor is more intense because it goes right through the chicken.
What Will Your Family Like Most?
What kind of dishes do you already make? If your family is accustomed to eating quite plain dishes they might prefer a simple marinade to a complex or spicy one. You might wish to try a lemon and herb marinade or a mild spiced one. Introduce them to the idea of marinated chicken and if they enjoy it you can experiment with something a little more intense the next time.
Although you can make any marinade you want at any time of the year (as long as the ingredients are available) a lot of home cooks like to match their recipes to the season.
They might make light, simple recipes in the spring and summer and spicy or hearty ones during the cooler months. Also, they might grill most of their poultry in the summer and roast or pan-fry it in the winter. This is something that you might or might not wish to take into account.
Five Reasons to Make Your Own Chicken Marinades
1. They Add Lots of Flavor
You can add a lot of taste to your meat by using marinades. You do not have to overpower the natural poultry flavor but you can use bold ingredients for rich, hearty results if you like. Alternatively you can use fragrant ingredients to give it a delicate, aromatic taste.
2. You Can Tenderize the Meat
Not all marinades work as tenderizers but if you like extra-soft meat then there are tenderizing marinades you can try, which not only tenderize it to perfection but give it a lovely taste as well.
3. There are Lots to Choose From
The sky is the limit with these marinades. There are literally hundreds of recipes to try and you can also try different cooking methods like roasting, grilling or even microwaving. There are exotic international marinades, spicy ones, mild ones, fruity marinades, classic ones and so many more besides.
4. Poultry is a Healthy Option
It is low in calories and fat but a great source of protein, making it an excellent mealtime choice. Marinating your meat before you cook it helps to seal in lots of juices and boost the flavor. Healthy eating can also be enjoyable if you know how to serve nutritious, full-flavored dishes.
5. Our Recipes are So Easy
If you can stir a few ingredients together you already know the basics of marinating. There is nothing difficult about making the mixture or about using it to flavor your chicken. Most of these recipes require no cooking either, and just basic preparation like weighing, chopping, or slicing. Even a complete beginner in the kitchen will find such recipes simple.