1. Your classic marinade … is to use a bottle of Italian salad dressing. And … the common thinking is that the acid — the vinegar in the salad dressing, or lemon juice, or red wine — is somehow tenderizing the meat. And you will read this in a lot of classic cooking manuals, that an acidic marinade will make meat more tender.

    "It will, in fact, make the outer layer of the meat a bit mushy, but what it’s really doing is pulling moisture out of the meat and making it drier. And there isn’t really a great way to tenderize a cut that’s going to be cooking very quickly for instance on the grill, but you can make it juicier, and juiciness, when it gets to eating the steak, often is equated with tenderness once it’s in our mouth.

    "So we use a salt-based marinade; you can use salt itself, you can use a salty ingredient like soy sauce, and then mix that with the garlic, with all the seasonings you want to use. And what you’re basically doing is, the salt penetrates very quickly into the meat and changes the structure of the muscle proteins, so that when the muscle proteins are cooked, they will hold on to more of their juices."

    - Jack Bishop on the myth of marinades

    Photo credit: Larry Crowe/AP

  2. Marinades

    Jack Bishop

    Cook's Illustrated

    The Science of Good Cooking

    America's Test Kitchen

    Fresh Air

  1. "Glutamates …[are] savory compounds; your taste receptors will pick that up and say wow, that’s nice and savory. But anchovies, in particular, they contain something else. It’s another compound called a nucleotide — and a nucleotide plus a glutamate basically is a savory explosion. It really amps up the flavor of the glutamates 20, 30, even perhaps 40 times. So if you’re tasting beef on its own, or soy sauce, or any of those glutamate-rich ingredients, your tongue will say wow that’s very beefy. You add something with nucleotides in it, say anchovies, and you’ll say this is the best beef stew ever. It tastes so much more meaty than meat."

    - Bridget Lancaster on why you might want to add anchovies to your beef stew

    Photo credit: Stefania Pomponi Butler

  2. America's Test Kitchen

    Cook's Illustrated

    The Science of Good Cooking

    Fresh Air