To Marinade or Not to Marinade… That is the Question.

To marinade or not to marinade… that is the question.  Well maybe not THE big question, but it is a pretty solid question to ask yourself while considering that big hunk of meat or fish for dinner. Marinading doesn’t need to take hours, in fact often 30 mins is plenty. In the case of fish or seafood 30 minutes is all you want in fact.  Now if you’re looking at a slightly tougher cut like a flank steak, then sure, go to town, leave in in there for 4 or more hours. There are only a few rules to bear in mind when marinading.
  1. You can marinade at room temperature, but only for about 30 minutes or so, any longer and you should refrigerate.
  2. Remember to bring your meat back to room temperature before grilling if you do have to refrigerate.
  3. If you’re planning on basting with the marinade during cooking, then remove some of the marinade before introducing the raw meat to it to avoid contamination.
  4. When marinading seafood, be cautious not to marinade more than 30 minutes or so as the acid will “cook” the fish. (Think ceviche! Always a good idea, but not if you had planned a grill)
You may not feel that you have time to marinade at the end of a busy day, but taking that extra few minutes required to throw together these few simple ingredients will always make you happy that you did.  A good marinade makes any protein sing. And there’s a flavour profile for any mood that might strike you.  Below you will find some suggestions, but use your imagination and the skies the limit on what you can create out of your very own kitchen. Mostly all marinades will follow the same basic principles. You will combine 1/2 cup oil of some variety (or combination of oils) or other liquid to moisten, 1/4 cup acid (citrus, vinegar or mustard) and a variety of herbs and seasonings which will depend upon the flavour profile you would like to attain. These amounts will make enough marinade to cover about 2 lbs of meat or fish. [ I f you love great quality foods, then what you put into your recipes make a big difference. Consider Olive Oil Emporium, Local High Quality Olive Oils and Balsamic Vinaigrette’s and Two Midtown Locations to Serve us ]


  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt (any fat content)
  • 3 TBSP dried mint
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • S&P


  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2-3 TBSP dried oregano
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 red onion, grated or finely diced
  • S&P


  • 1/2 cup canola (or other vegetable) oil
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 2-3 TBSP soy sauce
  • 1/2 inch fresh ginger grated
  • 1 clove garlic, minced


  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3 TBSP dijon mustard
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • S&P

Balsamic Coffee:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar (espresso flavoured balsamic is a thing! but if not in your neighbourhood then…)
  • 1 shot espresso or 1/4 cup very strong coffee
  • S&P


  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Juice & zest from 1 each orange, lemon & lime
  • Handful or parsley chopped
  • 1 medium Vidalia or other sweet onion, finely sliced
  • S&P
  *Check for an amazing Grilled Short Rib recipe using this marinade!
  Stacia_Carlton_HeadShotStacia is a food writer and obsessionst. She discusses food incessantly (sometimes making up words) on her food blog

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