Does marinating in a vacuum bag really work?

  • I took a meat processing class at Texas A&M a few years ago and they did several experiments with marinating chicken in several different ways, plan marinade, vacuum tumbler, injection,… What they did was use a marinade with a green dye and cooked the product the next day to demonstrate how much of the marinade actually penetrated the chicken. The best results were using injection with a vacuum tumbler. The second runner-up was with just the vacuum tumbler, but you would really be surprised what little of the marinade actually absorbs into the meat by just soaking it overnight. This might be a good experiment for a future podcast? Jonathon I’ll look for the photos of the end results and post them if I still have them.

  • Canning Dry Cured Sausage Primo Grills Team Blue Sous Vide Power User Cast Iron

    Not sure just how a vacuum can open pores. It should compress them. Science is science. Most dyes are salts compounds and would act similar to salt. I think that the science supports the article. Seeing the dye experiment makes sense. Opinions are nice buy looks what they are doing to our country.

  • Regular Contributors Team Grey Sous Vide Canning Dry Cured Sausage Masterbuilt Power User Meat Hack Winner Veteran

    It’s all about time and does vacuum packing speed up the process
    If salt doesn’t penetrate meat then prosciutto and other whole muscle cures would be impossible
    Vacuum sealing also equalizes moisture within meat, I use vacuum packing when when I get some case hardening on dry cure salami

  • Team Blue Cast Iron Dry Cured Sausage Masterbuilt Veteran Sous Vide Power User Regular Contributors

    Very interesting. I have a marinating canister for my vac sealer. I’ve only used it once but I do believe it decreased the marinating time for my jerky. But did not do a side-by-side comparison which would be interesting. I think that in the article they talk about how when the vacuum is released any fluid that had been pulled up is expelled. However if the vacuum is held and that fluid was salty and was in contact with a potentially larger surface area, I don’t see how it would not have additional marinating affects through equilbration like glen talked about. Even if the liquid is expelled when vacuum released. Now in a bag that seems less clear. samspade Great food for thought. Thanks for posting. Jonathon Agree with this as a good future podcast topic.

  • Sous Vide Team Blue Power User Regular Contributors Cast Iron

    Pivodog I found this discussion today after doing a comparison test with pa’s black bull marinade 2 days ago. I cut 2 pork loins in half. Kept one of the 4 pieces with no marinade. 1 was placed in a container that was vacuumed, 1 was placed in a non-vacuum plastic bag overnight, 1 was injected and placed into a separate vacuum container. All were held overnight. Due to pa’s being a darker marinade, I could see the marinade was basically throughout the whole piece when injected and vacuumed, around 3/4 of the way through when just vacuumed, around a quarter of the way when using the non-vacuumed bag. I took pictures. But, deleted them because I could not visually see it in the pics. So, I then just took the clean piece and marinated it for 2 hours and noticed it was about the same as the vacuumed overnight piece. In the end, thinking your school experiment was a true test. Using dyes would be better visually for sure. Note: vacuuming with marinate in a plastic bag still needs tested. Now, go have a nice day.

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User

    zbigjeff If you have pics we’d love to see them and then JustinT can post them to our social media. Good experiment, maybe we should do it with green weights though?

  • Regular Contributors Power User

    samspade said in Does marinating in a vacuum bag really work?:

    Jonathan I came across this article and was wondering if marinating in a vacuum really works.

    The author of this article also has written several interesting articles about experiments related to meat, curing, cooking, and smoking.

    He is also the science advisor at [link text] url)

  • Sous Vide Team Blue Power User Regular Contributors Cast Iron

    Jonathon I could tell wuth the naked eye. I deleted the pics because even when blown up on a 29 inch screen, the color diff was difficult at best to see.

  • Military Veterans Sous Vide Canning Traeger Regular Contributors Power User

    It is very cool that zbigjeff took the time to do this, a home experiment is always great and a solid way to form opinions, great work!

    Here’s a few things that might be interesting to folks reading this thread.
    The diffusion of a marinade thru meat is not a uniform process. The various components of the marinade will penetrate at different rates due to their different molecular sizes. This is a standard process used in chemistry to identify different components in a liquid mix, filter paper chromatography. Anyways, the salt gets in far and fast vs sugars and flavors.

    The author of the article first mentioned, Dr. Greg Blonder, has numerous articles and tests already posted on his site covering similar to what folks are discussing above–the different diffusion rates of salt, sugar, sodium nitrite, and dye through meat. Salt is by far the fastest, by an order of magnitude, due to it’s small ionically separated atomic components. Sugar, usually the next most component in a marinade, will only penetrate a short way into the meat by the time the salt has almost reached the center, on his test pieces. Dr. Blonder has timed pictures of that. He also has info on how cooking the meat then drives the components inward as temperature rises, again at different penetration rates. So precooked and post cooked marinade penetration can be very different.

    I think his whole site is worth a read, especially if someone is interested in doing a few experiments like discussed above–which I love seeing, and are really fun to read about.

    Really interesting thread, and thx to zbigjeff for his post. This info made me decide to inject a loin ham recently, to ensure the sweetness and allspice clove flavors made it to center of my ham, not just outer layer 😉

  • Sous Vide Team Blue Power User Regular Contributors Cast Iron

    Dave in AZ Wow, the “Science” speaks for itself. Yours is a nice summary for sure. The bottom line is all of us are about attaining that “IT” taste factor.

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