Welcome to USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service Food Safety at home podcast series. These podcasts were designed with you in mind - the consumer - who purchases and prepares meat, poultry and processed meat, egg products for your family and friends.
Each episode will bring you a different food safety topic ranging from safe storage, handling, and preparation of meat, poultry and processed egg products to the importance of keeping foods safe during a power outage.
So sit back, turn up the volume and listen in.
Welcome to Food Safety at Home. This is Jeff White with the Food Safety and Inspection Service. Im your host for this segment. Today we will be learning about the safe way to marinate meat and poultry.
Lets join a couple of friends as they shop for dinner.
Lets check out our options at the meat counter.
Wow! That beef tenderloin looks great! Oh
but a little pricy
What about the chuck steak, flank steak, or the top round?
I dont know, they are always so tough when cooked on the grill.
We can marinate the steak to tenderize it, itll be perfect!
All of the different cuts of meat sound good, but lets try the chuck steak today. How will marinating it make it tender?
A marinade consists of cooking oil, spices and an acid, such as vinegar, lemon juice or wine. As the food sits in the mixture, the acid and the oil impart the savory flavors of the spices into the steak. The acid in the marinade allows the meat to absorb more liquid and make it juicier.
But wont it take a long time to marinate?
Oh no, not at all, you can marinate for as little as 30 minutes or you can marinate chicken up to 2 days and beef up to 5 days in the refrigerator.
How do you know all this?
I looked it up online. I found a great web site
www.fsis.usda.gov. Thats USDAs Food Safety and Inspection Service, or FSIS for short.
Lets give marinating a try!
Now that weve shopped and purchased everything we need for a good marinade, let me tell you more about what I learned. The acid in a marinade such as vinegar, wine or lemon juice can tenderize the meat, but too much acid will have an opposite effect, and cause the meat to be tough or stringy.
So then, how much marinade will we need?
We will need approximately ½ cup of marinade per pound of meat. But here are a few important tips:
- The best containers for marinating are stainless steel, glass and food- grade plastic, bowls or bags.
- Remember to cover the meat completely with marinade and always make sure your container has a tight lid or seal.
- Always marinate in the refrigerator.
- Never use the leftover marinade as a sauce for the meat, unless you bring it to a boil first for 1 minute, to destroy any bacteria which might be present.
Boy, the FSIS Web site is a wealth of information!
I cant wait to try the steak!
Ill prepare the grill while the meat is marinating.
Wow, looks great! Is it done marinating?
Yes, it is. Is the grill nice and hot?
Yes, its ready. Lets wash our hands before we prepare dinner.
OK, time to take the steak out to the grill. Oh! Another thing I learned from FSISs Web site, is never put the cooked steak back on the plate that held the raw steak. Thats called cross-contamination. Someone could get sick if that happened.
Is it done yet? it smells great and looks perfect. All nice and golden brown.
Did you know that golden brown is not an indication as to whether it the food is safe. I learned that on the FSIS Web site too. The only way to know if it is safe to eat is to use a food thermometer. Beef steaks should be cooked to a safe minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees F, as measured with a food thermometer to be sure it is safe to eat.
Great information, but better yet, this steak is fabulous! We will definitely try this again!
You can find all of this information, and so much more by visiting the FSIS Web site at www.fsis.usda.gov. Or visit us online for assistance from our virtual representative Ask Karen at
Consumers may also call our toll-free USDA Meat & Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline. Thats 1-888-674-6854.
Thats it for this week. Weve been talking about safe marinating. Im Jeff White and Id like to thank you for joining us for this episode of Food Safety at Home. And remember, Be Food Safe.
Well, that's all for this time. Thanks for joining us today for another episode of food safety at home!
For answers to your food safety questions call USDA's toll-free Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline. That's 1-888-674-6854.
You can also get answers to food safety questions online from our virtual representative "Ask Karen" at
Let us know what you think of this podcast by sending your comments to
Thanks for tuning in.