Does Meat Marinate Faster If It's Vacuum Sealed?

HomeKitchenDoes Vacuum Sealed Meat Marinate Faster?
Last updated March 20th, 2023

Marinating meat is a great way to enhance its flavor, tenderness, and juiciness. By immersing meat in a flavorful liquid, the meat absorbs the flavors and becomes tastier and more tender.

While marinating meat has its benefits, it can also be an obstacle for many people. It requires time and effort, including preparing the marinade, soaking the meat, and cleaning up afterward. In addition, the marinade can be messy, and the flavors may not always penetrate the meat evenly. It is therefore no surprise that people are searching for tricks and tips to speed up the process.

One claim often repeated is that meat marinates much faster after it has been vacuum sealed, so let’s get to the bottom of whether this claim is true or not!

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The Truth about Vacuum Sealing & Meat Marination

Many articles, blog posts, and even the vacuum sealer manufacturers themselves, claim that meat will marinate faster if it is vacuum-sealed. The idea behind this claim is that by vacuum-sealing meat, the marinade will be forced into the “pores” of the meat more quickly. It’s obvious to see why this would be particularly useful for people who are short on time and seems a great use for your vacuum sealer beyond simple food preservation.

While vacuum sealing may seem like a promising solution to speed up the marination process, scientific research seems to suggest there aren’t many obvious benefits vs non-vacuum sealed marination.

One such study that examined the effect of a vacuum on moisture absorption and retention in chicken found that vacuum-sealed meat did appear to absorb around 1% more marinade during the marination process. However, by the time the meat was cooked those small gains had been lost and it appeared to offer “no significant advantage over marination at atmospheric pressure”.

Another study conducted using fish found very similar results. That any apparent small gains in marination speed or absorption from vacuum sealing were almost immediately lost and certainly didn’t survive the cooking process. It did find however that a combination of vacuum sealing and tumbling the meat around did speed up the process though this is likely due to the tumbling rather than the presence of a vacuum.

Last update on 2024-05-27 at 04:03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Are There Any Ways to Marinate Meat Faster?

While vacuum sealing may not necessarily speed up the marinating process, there are other ways to achieve the desired effect in less time. Other than the tumbling method mentioned above, another method is the use of a meat jaccard, a handheld tool that pierces meat with lots of small blades. By creating small channels in the meat, the marinade is able to penetrate deeper and more quickly.

Last update on 2024-05-27 at 06:21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Another method is to use more acidic ingredients in the marinade, such as vinegar or citrus juice, which can help to tenderize the meat and allow the marinade to penetrate more easily.

So while vacuum sealing may have other benefits, such as preserving the quality of the meat and increasing its shelf life, it does not appear to make a significant difference in the speed of marination. The easiest way to get the most flavor and tenderness out of your meat is to allow it to marinate for the recommended amount of time, without the use of a vacuum sealer.

Sources

Effect of Vacuum on Moisture Absorption and Retention by Marinated Broiler Fillets

Marinade Composition and Vacuum Effects on Liquid Uptake and Retention in Tumbled Fish Portions

Why Pressure & Vacuum Marination Does Not Work

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