While we aren't ready to tear up our marinade recipes and toss them into the flames quite yet, we're definitely taken with the notion that soaking meat—whether it's a steak, ribs or chicken—in some combination of oil and acid is not always necessary. As food writer and cookbook author John Willoughby explains in a recent New York Times article
, there are reasons to hold off on the rosemary-spiked lemon juice and olive oil. First, Willoughby says, a marinade doesn't effectively tenderize food. (The exception: dairy-based marinades—their calcium triggers enzymes in meat that break down proteins, says food science expert Shirley Corriher
). It also imparts a muted (read: ho-hum) flavor. Instead, try grilling your meat and then
adding vinegar or lemon juice, oil and herbs for distinct flavors that aren't the least bit muddled.
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