The 8 Best Vacuum Marinators
This wiki has been updated 14 times since it was first published in January of 2017. Eliminate the need to wait hours or days to prepare your poultry, fish, beef, and vegetables for cooking using one of these handy vacuum marinators. They offer powerful suction technology, and some even have built-in digital displays, countdown timers, and tenderizing functions to fully infuse your meals with the most delicious flavors possible. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best vacuum marinator on Amazon.
The Big, Hungry Picture
Of course, it's common knowledge that a lack of food can be deadly after a long enough period of time.
A wise man once said, "I love food so much, that without it, I would simply die." That's pretty sound reasoning, in our opinion, and it also touches on food's overall importance to the human race. Of course, it's common knowledge that a lack of food can be deadly after a long enough period of time. It only takes a couple dozen hours of fasting before most people can think of a meal, or at least a snack, and little else. But even more than simple sustenance, food is vital to our relationships and humanity as a whole.
Food is, and always has been, a primary driver of culture and settlement. Prior to agriculture, entire societies lived nomadically and followed their meals from place to place. Whether this meant tracking deer and buffalo across the plains, or searching out native berry and fruit patches before the seasons transitioned, the end result was a life lived almost entirely in pursuit of calories.
Everything about life changed when humans domesticated plants and began to grow crops for food and textiles. Finally able to stay in one place, groups of similar people began to form governments and social groups, and develop deep spiritual roots and recreational tendencies. A constantly evolving selection of hybridized plants and domesticated animals led to more and more adventurous experiments with different foods, while inter-cultural trade brought elements like salt into the picture. As society evolved, cooking and eating moved from a necessary and difficult part of life, to something that brought families and communities together.
It's What's For Dinner
While cookbooks filled with concerning amount of Jello-related recipes were a staple of mid-century America, it took until the 21st century for the average home cook to employ high-end culinary techniques. Terms like béchamel, espelette and coq au vin have only now crept into the general lexicon, as more and more Americans work to develop the ideal sear, or to practice poking meat until it's a perfect medium-rare.
The pros, on the other hand, often prepare a brine, a water-based solution that contains five percent salt by mass.
Many diners have a very close relationship with meat, for that matter. It's regarded as a staple of many diets worldwide, and in some locales, meat actually makes up a majority of meals; Portugal, for example, is said to be the last place on Earth for a vegetarian to visit. So, it's no surprise that there's a huge variety of ways to cook different cuts, and everyone has their own preferred method, as well as their favorite flavor.
While we always hate to break anyone's bubble, it's worth noting that soaking meat in most marinades for a long duration is a waste of time. Coating and seasoning meat with a blend of liquids, seasonings, and salt still has a purpose — it's just that the end results of the marinade are limited to the surface of the meat, or just below it.
But there is a way to get flavor into the middle of a beef brisket or chicken breast. Most of us know about turkey basters, and flavor injectors are even more effective. The pros, on the other hand, often prepare a brine, a water-based solution that contains five percent salt by mass. No matter the type or cut of meat, you want to be certain that the total salt in your solution is equal to five percent the weight of the liquid. That figure never changes; you're welcome. The rest of the brine can contain any flavors desired; everything from onions to oranges ends up in different brines. That all-important salt allows the solution to pass through the cell walls, replacing the water that permeates muscle tissue with the exquisitely flavored brine. That's the simple, yet magical step that restaurants take in order to get flavor all the way inside your chicken tenders.
While cooking is most well-known for making things taste great, equally important is the fact that it actually enables us to eat the food. If you've never tried to rip through a raw steak with your bare teeth, you understand just how important cooking can be to aspects aside from just flavor. Delicious, but oh, so very chewy.
How To Break It Down
It doesn't matter how good a pot roast tastes if it's still fighting back after 10 minutes of chewing. Nobody likes gnawing at their steak, which is why we cut against the grain and avoid overcooking. Meat cut with the grain is notoriously stringy and unpleasant in the mouth, while brown, dry, tough beef is an affront to the very spirit of barbecue.
What we need is tenderization.
The right tools can really help the knowledgeable home cook take advantage of physics to produce delicious food.
Tenderizing happens two ways: physically and chemically. Including acidic foods like citrus and alcohol can directly break down connective tissue over time. Enzymes, such as the bromelain in pineapples, work to cleave the strongest bonds within the tissue. The probiotics in yogurt and similar foods like kefir actively tear apart the bonds, working significantly faster than even liquor. For that matter, don't marinate overnight using yogurt; much of the meat will likely disappear, eaten by the voracious bacteria packed into the average yogurt cup.
It's the connective tissue that makes meat tough to begin with, and not just in the grisly parts. Intermingled with the meaty, delicious muscle fibers are invisible strands of gelatinous compounds, and tumbling a cut of meat in a salty, sour solution for even as little as 15 minutes can help pull those apart. A less fibrous outer layer allows flavors to more fully penetrate, and it also allows moisture to more readily escape once the cut is removed from the marinade and dried. A minutely drier outer layer is actually the secret to the ideal sear; the best path to golden-brown is through minimal moisture on the cut's surface, so the scant starches and sugars in the meat can properly brown via the Maillard reaction, resulting in the picturesque hash marks reminiscent of the finest steakhouses.
The right tools can really help the knowledgeable home cook take advantage of physics to produce delicious food. Remember to always maintain safe temperatures, exercise care using knives and appliances, and whatever you do, don't forget the salt.
Statistics and Editorial Log