When you are a chicken lover, as many sensible people are, you will understand just how imperative it is to get a mouthful of chicken that is tasty, tender and exciting to eat every time. But it can be so easy to get it wrong and serving dry overcooked chicken can be a problem for many cooks. Nevertheless, a simple way to battle this and end up with juicy chicken instead is by using a marinade. The secret to creating tasty chicken is to use a good homemade marinade. Marinade’s are simply a combination of oils, herbs and spices in which your chicken can be soaked in to attempt to add flavour.
Why Marinate Chicken?
Marination will adds extra flavour to chicken and make it more tender by starting the process of breaking down the tissues of the chicken. This occurs when you add acidic components to your marinade recipe such as vinegar, or even acidic fruits like pineapple. A marinade conveys flavour to your chicken, not only from the skin on the outside, but a decent marinade oozes inside your chicken givng more zest to your dish.
Marinades are predominantly more useful when you intend to grill your chicken, since the high heat formed by a grill can cause you to lose any flavor other than that char-grilled taste. Extreme heat can have the consequence that burned bits are created while cooking but when you use an acidic marinade this lessens any potential hazards as they act like a preservative. When you use a marinade, it goes a long way towards preventing your chicken from drying out too much and making it rubbery. The longer that you cook your chicken, often the drier it will become, but a marinade helps you to cut the time of cooking down making your chicken more tender.
How to Marinate a Chicken
There are a couple of main ways to marinate chicken successfully, these can either be dry marinating or wet marinating.
Wet marinating totally submerges a piece of chicken in your ready prepared marinade liquid. Active enzyme marinades using fruits like kiwi or pineapple assist in breaking down the chicken muscle fibre more quickly. You can also make acidic marinades using vinegar, wine or citrus juices that are wet. Dairy marinades are another form of wet chicken marinade using milks and yogurts which will give you a creamier texture.
Dry marinating involves rubbing dry spices into the chicken’s skin. These are usually made up of dried herbs and spices such as Cajun and paprika flavourings, but you can also play with making mixtures up of your own. Dry marinates are quicker to use as you do not have to wait for them to soak into your chicken.
The Best Homemade Chicken Marinade
Making a simple chicken marinade is really simple to do. All that is required is for you to whisk together a group of chosen components in a large bowl and pour them over your chicken pieces which you house in a large cooking bag. The best homemade chicken marinade should only take about 5 minutes to make but will usually need a minimum of 4 hours for your chicken to marinate. When making at home, you will be ready to cook in no time, simply grill your chicken over medium heat until it is cooked to perfection. You can even baste your chicken after you have finished cooking it with any leftover marinade for ideal flavor. Also reduce leftover marinade to a simmer and any that is left over can be used as a delicious sauce to pour over your cooked chicken or can even be used as a sauce for accompanying dishes such as pasta.
- A simple chicken marinade recipe
1/8 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp dried rosemary
2 tbsp Dijon
2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
Mix all your ingredients together in a large mixing bowl and simply stir them all together. Feel free to add or omit any ingredients to get the taste right for you. You can use this basic chicken marinade straight away or for a stronger taste leave it for a few hours.
- An overnight chicken marinade
One vital tip to give you a tasty chicken is for you to give your chicken ample time to pick up all of the flavors that you have left it marinating in. If you prepare and marinate your chicken the night before you fire up your grill it will be a much tastier chicken the very next day. Marinate overnight and wake up to something special to add to your BBQ. Marinades are more effective after several hours of soak time, and an overnight marinate makes the preparation work the next day feel much easier. Just remember to dry the chicken as much as possible before grilling and remove the chicken from the overnight marinade first. Roast chickens breast side down in an overnight marinade to guarantee tender chicken breast meat.
With overnight marinading in a simple garlic and lemon juice marinade, you will discover that your breast meat will turn out to be perfectly moist when cooked. For this chicken marinade recipe, the garlic flavor is kept understated, not too strong.
- An easy overnight garlic chicken marinade recipe
2 cups stock
1/2 cup roasted garlic cloves
1 pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 bay leaves
In a clean bowl whisk all of the ingredients together. Put your chicken in a large, resealable bag and pour the ingredients over the chicken in the bag adding the squeezed lemon wedges. Refrigerate overnight for several hours.
How to Marinate Chicken Guidelines
- The perfect marinade is completed with an acid ingredient, shared with a fat element like oil, plus extra spices and herbs to give a precise flavour to your chicken.
- Use however much marinade you think that you need per pound of chicken, however in general, 1/2 cup marinade is recommended per 1 pound of fresh chicken meat.
- Use fresh herbs over dried herbs to ensure that you get a fresh flavor, but, if fresh herbs are not accessible, then crush dried herbs into a fine powder and rub them all over your chicken to get all-out flavor.
- The proportion of oil and other ingredients that comprise an acidic marinades ingredients must be 1: 1 as the longer you let an acidic marinade alone to do its work on your chicken, then the poorer the chickens texture will get, which will make your chicken dry. Give acidic chicken marinades no more than six hours to achieve astonishing flavour.
- When marinating chicken for longer than an hour or overnight, you must refrigerate the chicken in an airtight container with a tight-fitting lid.
- Pierce any chicken that you are using all over with a fork so that the marinade can seep deeply into your chicken. If you do this too much however, it might cause ripping of the skin making your meal look less appealing. You might want to tear open your chicken with a knife, to create more space for your marinade to seep into. Furthermore, it will aid the chicken to cook much more rapidly.
- Never keep the any of your leftover marinade for longer than a couple of days. It is a good idea to throw it away as soon as your chicken meal has been eaten.
- Homemade marinades without acids may be able to be kept for longer; but if at all possible, stick to a 24-hour timeframe.
- Never serve uncooked chicken marinade since it might cause food poisoning, as it might have come into contact with raw chicken.
- Salt, in large amounts, will help to release the muscle fibres and permit the chicken to taste and feel more tender.
- Never try to refreeze your marinated chicken more than once: If you do freeze your marinated chicken, it is not safe to combine frozen chicken with room-temperature marinate and then freeze it.
Most marinade recipes for chicken are freezer-friendly which is perfect for speedy meal preparation, they are flexible for numerous cooking methods from the oven to the slow cooker, rapid and easy to prepare and you can make them naturally free from additives. Since marinades give generally surface flavour to your chicken, you will need to select how to cook your piece of chicken to make the most of it. When you decide to cook using a high heat you will transform a marinade into a delightful tasty crust.
There is a real beauty to using a freshly made chicken marinade. It is the quick fix to liven up any cut of chicken, and you have lots of replacement options when it comes to ingredients. So, you are able to make a marinade at anytime without needing to run out to the store. They can be savoury or can be made with a hint of sweetness. Overall adding a marinade makes chicken extra juicy which is particularly good for a whole chicken.
- How To Make the Ultimate Marinade for Juicy Chicken – Kitchn
- Perfect Grilled Chicken Breasts with Lemon, Garlic & Herbs – Once Upon a Chef