Often you hear people say: don’t use salt in a marinade it will make the meat tough! I have this Indian cookbook that I love: How to Cook Indian by Sanjeev Kapoor and he always calls for salt in his marinades.
What’s up with that? Here is a cookbook that always gives me tasty results telling me to do something so often I am told not to. To get to the bottom of this conundrum I asked Mr. Google and of course the first article I looked at said don’t add salt to meat marinades it sucks out the moisture and makes the meat tough. Something told me I need more information than this because Mr Kapoor is a pretty smart cook and I don’t think he would be intentionally be making his meat tough – so I soldiered on. What I came across was so scientific and thorough it convinced me that the myth of salt in a marinade making meat tough is indeed a myth. The article is written by a guy aptly named Mr Meathead, on Amazingribs.com and is a treatise on marinades and meat like no other I have ever read. If you cook meat, marinade meat or even have just a passing interest in how marinades work you have to check this site out. Mr Meathead knows his stuff and breaks it down so intelligently it’s hard to argue with him. He talks about salt – which he uses, sugar and how it’s best used in long low slow cooking, he even uses green dye to show you how far the marinade soaks into the meat or fish and suggests cross hatching to help it sink in deeper. Amazing, really helpful and authoritative.