All marinades contain a combination of oil, seasonings, and an active ingredient, such as wine, vinegar, lemon juice, yogurt, or buttermilk. Because of the active nature of the marinade, it’s best to marinate in a glass, ceramic, or stainless-steel bowl, using a wooden spoon as stirrer.
Use about 1/2 cup of marinade for each pound of meat to be marinated. Cubed meat requires 2 to 3 hours of soaking, whereas a large piece should soak overnight. Reduce the amount of wine or other active ingredient if the meat is to soak more than 24 hours.
Marinating for 12 hours or more cuts cooking time by one-third. A simple marinade For a quick marinade sufficient to cover about 3 pounds of cubed meat, mix 1 cup salad oil or olive oil with 1/2 cup red wine vinegar or dry red wine in a bowl. Add 1 onion, minced, or 2 garlic cloves, crushed, and salt, pepper, thyme, tarragon, or rosemary to taste. Add meat and toss to coat thoroughly. Cover and let stand about 3 hours at room temperature or 6 hours in the refrigerator. Stir the marinade every hour or two during the marinating period.
When marinating large pieces of meat, turn them from time to time and use a soft food brush to spread the marinade on parts not submerged in the liquid.