How Do I Choose the Best Pork Marinade?

N. Swensson

Some cooks use pork interchangeably with chicken or turkey in recipes for variety, and a pork marinade could be made from ingredients that would also go well with poultry. Although pork is considered a red meat, certain cuts such as the tenderloin are quite lean and can be prepared in many different ways. There are also some flavors that traditionally are used with pork, such as rosemary, garlic, and sweet fruits like pineapple and apple that may appear in bottled marinades. If the meat will be roasted in the oven, a dry pork marinade may be a good option, which is a preparation of dry spices that are rubbed onto the meat for a few hours or overnight. Still another idea for a marinated pork dish is to serve the cooked meat with the cooking juices for extra flavor, although any marinade that has been in contact with raw meat should not be used in this way as it may contain bacteria.

Marinated pork.
Marinated pork.

For beginning cooks, or anyone who is not able to make a homemade marinade, prepared options are plentiful in most grocery stores. These bottled products are usually intended for a specific type of meat, fish, or even vegetables, and don’t require any preparation other than pouring them over the raw meat, then refrigerating for as little as a few hours to a whole day or even overnight. Many people who use marinades prefer to soak the meat for as long as possible before cooking to help tenderize and flavor it. Bottled salad dressings and spice mixes can also be used as a pork marinade. Most marinated pork is grilled or broiled, but can also be roasted or cooked in any other way that the chef prefers.

Pork is often seasoned with a dry marinade, sometimes called a dry rub.
Pork is often seasoned with a dry marinade, sometimes called a dry rub.

A homemade pork marinade can also be made from ingredients which many people already have in the kitchen. Olive oil is a staple ingredient for many different marinades and can be mixed with lemon juice or vinegar, garlic, and spices such as rosemary that complement pork. A dry marinade, also called a dry rub, of crushed rosemary, coarse salt and pepper, and lemon zest can be rubbed over a raw pork roast, and then cooked in the oven. The juices from the roast can be served with it and will contain the flavors of the marinade. Pork is also frequently combined with fruit, and a marinade could be made using apple juice, pineapple juice or crushed pineapple.

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