safe to use marinade?

chefilMay 30, 2008

when cooking sauerbraten or any meat is it safe to cook with the marinade you used to marinate it in?i had read somewhere it was unsafe.


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Anything that has touched raw meat can be contaminated with bacteria. Supposedly, if you boil the marinade for 10-15 minutes, it's safe.

Personally? I prefer to put my meat in a plastic bag, with just a little marinade (it doesn't take much to coat the meat, if you do it that way and remove all the excess air), then I just pull the meat out of the bag with tongs when it comes time to cook, seal the bag and toss it and the little, leftover, contaminated marinade. And, of course, I thoroughly wash the tongs before I use them on the cooked meat.

It's really safer to cut back on the amount of marinade you use, and then just throw the excess away.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2008 at 8:34AM
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You're about to get confusing, conflicting responses to your question from the many people here!

I don't know about sauerbraten specifically, but in my opinion, it is perfectly safe to cook with marinades. I do it all the time. The meat (and, often, veggies) are soaked in, infused with, coated with the marinade, which is delicious or you wouldn't be using it, so why waste it as a sauce?

Marinating meats must be kept in the 'fridge while marinating, which keeps everything safe. To kill all bacteria in the marinade before serving, you must boil the daylights out of it while the meat is cooking, but the resulting reduction is usually delicious! It is the perfect complement to the main dish, although I have made many a sauce that was too intense or just not what I wanted on the meat. I adjust the spices, often add a little wine, and voila! Delicioso!

As a food sanitarian, I have sought the answer to why it has become the norm to throw away the used marinade, but I haven't found the answer yet. I don't think I've ever made sauerbraten.


    Bookmark   May 30, 2008 at 8:48AM
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Azzalea, I was writing while you were posting: What is different about the marinade that is in and on the meat from the marinade that is in the bag and will be prepared under safe conditions before consumption? It is the exact same product! Of course, safe, sanitary conditions must be maintained - don't use the contaminated tongs, toss the bag, sanitize the work surfaces, use a fresh plate, etc., but I cannot see and have never read the definitive reason for tossing the marinade. It seems very wasteful to me. This is where I get confused: Do you wash the marinade off the meat before you cook the meat?


    Bookmark   May 30, 2008 at 9:00AM
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As long as the marinade is cooked, it's safe.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2008 at 9:07AM
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I agree , as long as you brings the marinade to a boil it is perfectly safe to use as a baste or a sauce.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2008 at 9:37AM
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I rarely reuse a marinade....because it's usually too salty or too vinegar-ey.
But on the occasions when I have used just wine with some seasonings, Of course I do! Cooked, it's just fine!
There are no more germs in the marinade than in the meat you marinated in it! If you would cook the meat and eat it why not cook the marinade and eat it?
Linda C

    Bookmark   May 30, 2008 at 10:27AM
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After all those food safety classes I've taken, I'd have to err on the side of safety and agree with azzalea. Just avoid a problem to begin with and set aside some marinade for basting that hasn't been cross-contaminated with raw meat juice. Such a simple solution to a potentially dangerous problem.

If you insist on using a marinade that has been in contact with raw meat, make sure it's been refrigerated during the whole process. It is suggested that it be boiled for a full 5-minutes (not just brought to a boil) before being used for basting.

The problem comes from those who insist on marinating at room temperature to begin with. Those who are also in that league of "It's never killed me yet". Allows the room-temperature marinade to sit even longer outside while cooking in 100°F temperatures. Then just as they remove the meat from the fire give it one last wash of the now fully bacteria-filled marinade which doesn't actually GET heated on the meat. Then they allow the meat to sit at that perfect bacteria-growing temperature (under 140°F.) wrapped in foil for an hour while they wait for the always late in-laws to show up.

Oh, was that how everyone at the neighbor's bbq got one of the most common bacterial foodborne infections - Salmonella?


    Bookmark   May 30, 2008 at 11:35AM
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Grainlady...have you been peeking over the fence & watching us BBQ?? LOL


    Bookmark   May 30, 2008 at 11:39AM
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I agree with you, grainlady, that in the problem scenario you wrote one could get sick. For whatever reason, people who cook that way and say it ain't killed 'em yet seem to get away with bad cooking practices most of the time. If they do suffer a bout of diarrhea or vomiting they think they "caught" "stomach flu!"

But if you use good sense while cooking and don't cross-contaminate, what is the difference? Unless you cook your steak till it's bone dry all the way through, it will be contaminated with its own meat juices. On the inside!

I understand that occurances of food-borne illness are underestimated and underreported. What I don't understand is how cooked marinade, properly used and applied, can contribute to illness any more than any other properly handled ingredient.


    Bookmark   May 30, 2008 at 12:03PM
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I agree, Sherry. If you use good sense and don't leave everything sitting out, the marinade is perfectly safe to use. It's no more or less safe than the stuff on the meat, as long as it's been properly handled and heated.

I know both Nancy (wizardnm) and I have also taken the obligatory food safety classes. She took them because she owned the deli, I took them when I owned the restaurant and then took Michigan State's follow-up for canning and preserving. At no time in any of my instruction was I told that it's unsafe to use the marinade if it has been properly handled.

So, yes, I heat it and use it. I'm far more concerned about the eggs in that potato salad that's been sitting out on the counter or the picnic table for a couple of hours or Aunt LulaBelle's improperly processed pickled mushrooms which sent several family members to the emergency room with a staph related food poisoning.


    Bookmark   May 30, 2008 at 12:51PM
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I agree with others about always keeping the marinade & meat refrigerated. Then if you really want to use the marinade for basting or a sauce, boiling it for a full five minutes. Out of curiosity, I looked up a sauerbraten recipe because it's a little different preparation than other marinated meats. I found Alton Brown's recipe. He's usually up-to-date on food safety issues. After marinating the meat in a vinegar/wine solution, he puts the whole thing (marinade & meat) in the oven to cook. Another Food Network sauerbraten recipe from Gourmet, browns the marinated meat, adds the marinade, and then simmers everything together until the meat is done.

Here is a link that might be useful: Alton Brown's Sauerbraten Recipe

    Bookmark   May 30, 2008 at 1:58PM
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I think the key is in grainlady's post about brushing with the marinade at the last minute or two and not cooking it.

I wouldn't hesitate to use it to "braise" as in shambo's post or boil and baste either.

But don't cook the meat, then brush on one last layer of "killer" flavor........literally! Oh no! I do the ziploc bag, and just enough marinade to coat, then pitch the excess (usually about 1/4 cup at most).


    Bookmark   May 30, 2008 at 3:01PM
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What worries me a lot more than the potato salad is the coconut cream pie, sitting in the wicker picnic basket, while the crowd eats the hot dogs and potato salad, plays a round of softball and then comes back to the table for dessert.
I am totally blown away by the number of people cooking for groups ( like my church!) who have no idea about food safety!
Last week I made about 130 chicken salad sandwiches. I cooked and chopped the chicken the day before and mixed it with mayo and lemon juice. Someone told me I should not mix it with the mayo ahead as it would spoil....apparantly they didn't know that the acid in the mayo actually retards the spoilage of the chicken.
Then I divided that chicken with mayo into 3 small batches and as soon as the first was mixed it went into the refrig and the next day we made sandwiches out of one bowl of chicken and as soon as there was a plate of sandwiches made they got wrapped and refrigerated.
And that's one of the reasons I like to serve a marinated veggie salad., and a marinated pasta salad.
Linda C

    Bookmark   May 30, 2008 at 3:30PM
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thanks to all you ladies that answered me about the marinade.ive been to other sites and no one would answer my question.this is where its a guy by the way retired.72 yrs to cook!met my lady freind here in the manor, she just made frozen dinners. I said you lucky girl( smile)

    Bookmark   May 31, 2008 at 3:42AM
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