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Marinated beef for sauerbraten
Roast roast in marinade
Roast roast in marinade

Marinating (borrowed from the French mariner "to put in salt water") as a distinction to pickling , was originally the soaking of food in brine to preserve it for long sea voyages. Today it is usually understood to mean the soaking of raw meat or fish in a spicy, mostly sour - but not salty - liquid, the marinade . The spices and acids penetrate deeply into the food and make it more aromatic and tender.

After marinating, meat is usually braised , fried or grilled . Fish is partly consumed (z. B. without further preparation gravlax , Kronsild or ceviche ).


Marinades are based on three components: an acidic liquid, spices and oil. Acid loosens the tissue of the meat; frequently used acidic liquids are e.g. B. vinegar , wine, sour cream , buttermilk or citrus fruit juice. Spices, herbs and other seasoning ingredients give off their flavor to the meat to be marinated, oil prevents it from drying out. Marinades should not contain salt , as otherwise they would remove liquid from the pickled food through osmosis and the aromas would be less absorbed. A salty variant of the marinade, however, is the brine .

The marinating

For marinating, the pieces should be completely surrounded by the liquid and the container should be sealed as airtight as possible. The process takes a few hours to days, depending on the size and type of the inserted pieces. For meat z. B. the marinade penetrates daily about 1 centimeter, recognizable by the grayish discoloration. By using a vacuum kettle , the marinating time in large kitchens is greatly reduced.

During marinating, not only do the aromas penetrate, the acid also breaks down the connective tissue of the muscles and loosens the gelatine , which loosens and softens the tissue. At the same time, an acidic environment inhibits the spread of bacteria .

After marinating, the pieces are washed, dried and salted and then further processed according to the recipe. The marinade can be used as a sauce base .


Because of its tenderizing effect, marinating is mainly used for meat that is otherwise firm to tough, especially game and long-fiber pieces of beef , generally with meat from older animals. In addition to many game dishes, sauerbraten is a typical example.

Shorter marinating is also popular for grilled dishes because the aromas that have penetrated are protected from the heat, while spices on the surface would burn quickly.

The main purpose of marinating fish is to change the taste - due to the different tissue structure, the breakdown of connective tissue hardly plays a role. If the fish is to be boiled or fried, a short marinating is sufficient. If it takes longer, the fish is “cooked” just by adding it; If stored appropriately, it can then be kept for a long time and is usually enjoyed without further processing.

In addition to the original purpose of preservation, the curing is similar, marinating served before the invention of refrigeration also beginning to mask spoilage by to warm slopes arose and as haut gout is called. The typical “fishy” smell that uncooled fish takes on after a short time is traditionally masked by lemon juice.

Further meaning

As a marinade, sour salad dressings such as. B. Vinaigrette . However, they only serve as a spicy sauce and are usually only mixed with the other ingredients immediately before serving.


  1. Jamie Purviance: Weber's Grill Bible . 21st edition. Gräfe and Unzer, Munich 2013, ISBN 978-3-8338-1863-9 , pp. 284 .
  2. Marinating: The 12 most important questions and answers. Retrieved April 15, 2018 .
  3. Grill marinade. Retrieved April 15, 2018 .
  4. Hervé This : Riddles and Secrets of the Art of Cooking


  • Heinrich Gustav Flörke : Mariniren , in: Johann Georg Krünitz ( Greetings ): Economic Encyclopedia . Volume 84. Pauli, Berlin 1801 ( full text )
  • Caroline Mahler: Investigations into the hygienic and microbiological quality of marinated meat preparations to establish guide values ​​for checking the best-before date (best before date) . Dissertation, LMU Munich 2004 ( full text )

Web links

Wikibooks: Marinating in the cookbook  - learning and teaching materials