Marination is a very simple way to both tenderize and add flavor to meat. It’s typically a mixture of some type of acid such as wine, juice or vinegar, herbs and oil. The meat is allowed to soak in the mix for a few hour and the acid starts to break down the muscle fiber and saturates it in flavor. For the love of God don’t waste your time and money buying some bullshit factory made stuff, take 10 minutes and make your own.
The basic ratio that I use is two parts acid, one part oil. It’s best if you make this in a blender and add a small dab of mustard so that the mix will stay together. If not, whisk it by hand but expect some separation.
Most of the time when cooking at home this means 2 cups acid and once cup of oil, plus some chopped herbs, garlic, etc.
For Beef I use red wine, olive oil, a shot of balsamic vinegar, a few cloves of minced garlic, and some salt and pepper.
For Chicken I do the exact same thing only I use white wine and lemons instead of the red wine and balsamic
Pork is pretty flexible since it is light, but can handle heavier flavors. Apple juice or cider vinegar with some fresh rosemary is a personal favorite of mine.
With Seafood you want a 50/50 blend and only let it sit for an hour or so due to the fact that Seafood is a lot more delicate.
One thing that I have to remind you of is that you need to trash the marinade after you are done. Do not try to use this as a sauce since it’s had raw meat in it and you don’t want to coat your cooked meat in it. It’s a very common mistake that I’ve had to stop more than one person from making.