Marinades add flavor to any meat.
Marinades are best for thin cuts.
With their influence limited mostly to the surface of the meat, marinades work best for relatively thin cuts like chicken breasts, pork chops, steaks, cutlets and meat cut into chunks or slices for kebabs and stir fries. A large roast or turkey breast is never a good bet; a spice paste that will adhere to the meat is a better option.
The longer the soak, the better.
A long soak is pointless—even detrimental.
In the test kitchen, we found that marinades don’t penetrate deeply into the meat, even after 18 hours. And too long a soak in an acidic (or enzymatic) marinade can weaken the protein bonds near the surface so that they turn mushy—or worse, can no longer hold moisture and dry out.
Bottled dressing is a great time-saver.
Bottled dressing makes for mediocre marinade.
Due to high levels of acidity, salad dressings don’t add complex flavor and only make meat mushy. Plus, they are laden with sweeteners, stabilizers, and gums, which add a gelatinous consistency and unnatural flavor.