A marinade is a seasoned liquid that contains a tenderizing acidic ingredient such as vinegar, wine, soy sauce, or citrus juice. Marinade seasonings can be a combination of herbs, spices, and even vegetables, but they generally reflect the tastes of the region in which they were made. For example, Bubba Brand Back Bay Marinade from South Carolina contains bourbon and peaches, while Chuck Evans' Mayan Magic (Montezuma Foods) uses exotic annato seed and sour orange juice to duplicate the taste of a pit barbecue, or pib, in YucatÃ¡n.
Regardless of the ingredient combination, all marinades are used by soaking meat in them to add flavor and to tenderize before cooking. Always follow the directions carefully since some foods, especially fish and shrimp, can become mushy if left in too long. Always be sure to marinate in a non-reactive pan or a plastic bag.