Reusing Marinade: Ick Factor vs. Why Not?

I've seen opposing viewpoints on boiling a marinade and using it in a sauce, baste, gravy, etc. On the "don't do it" side of the equation is the ick factor that raw meat has been sitting in this potion for a period of time, coupled with safety rules about cross contamination.

On the other side, though, there are plenty of recipes where the meat is cooked with all of its marinade. How is this different than separating meat and marinade and heating them separately?

Also, unless you are rinsing and drying the marinated meat, there's a bit if the marinade clinging to it when you cook it, and that will drip into the pan, and few people would think twice about using it as a sauce or gravy.

If there's an "ick" factor in the fact that raw meat was in contact with the marinade, why isn't there an ick factor about the raw meat itself that is now cooked? If that's okay to eat, why is the marindade, boiled afterwards, anymore icky than the pan drippings from the meat, or the meat itself?

I can see the logic in not saving the marinade and using it over and over, because each time you're diluting it and increasing the amount of meat juices, so it could spoil just like a jus or gravy could spoil. But I'm talking about taking the marinade and boiling it, and using it to baste the meat or to flavor a sauce right away.

As far as cross-contamination, there's no "cross" going on. You're putting the very same juices back onto the meat that it came out of. Those bits of leaked juice are the same as the juice that's still in the meat, right?

Now, for the record, this isn't something that I have a lot of angst about in my kitchen. When I'm marinating something, I'm usually doing it in a tight container, so there's little marinade, and generally I'm not using expensive ingredients. And I can see why this would be banned in foodservice.

But after seeing conflicting instructions from two different "professionals," it made me think. What's your opinion?


The tastiest bites delivered to your inbox!

Show 29 Comments

Talk is closed - check out our Facebook and Twitter accounts instead.