Soaking a whole turkey or turkey parts in a marinade is a good method for adding flavor as well as tenderizing the meat. A proper marinade should contain an acidic ingredient such as vinegar or wine, oil such as olive oil, and seasonings such as herbs and spices. Citrus fruit juices may be used instead of the vinegar or wine to provide the acidic ingredient that is necessary to soften the tissues of the meat.
There are several important points to remember when using a marinade. Consider the following:
- Quantity: It may not be possible to completely cover a whole turkey with the marinade, but several inches of liquid should be added to the container so that the turkey can be turned occasionally, allowing all portions of the turkey to benefit from the marinade. Turkey parts or slices of breast or thigh meat should be completely covered with the marinade.
- Soaking Time: Turkey parts require only a couple of hours marinating time, while a whole turkey should be soaked in the marinade for several hours or overnight.
- Refrigeration: Always marinate turkey in the refrigerator.
- Proper Containers: Since the marinade contains an acidic ingredient, reactive containers such as metal bowls should not be used. A large glass bowl is the best container to use, but large plastic bowls may also be used. Large plastic bags that can be sealed are ideal for marinating turkey parts.
- Reuse: The marinade should not be reused for any other purpose because of the bacteria that may be present from having been in contact with the raw turkey.
Simple Steps for Marinating Turkey Meat
The oil, acidic ingredient, and seasons are added and combined in a glass bowl.
The turkey pieces are added to the marinade.
The bowl is covered and placed in the refrigerator. The turkey slices shown in the picture at the right should be allowed to soak for a couple of hours. More time is required for larger turkey parts or for a whole bird.