Does Vacuum Marinating Work? (Must-Read)

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Food experts have long touted the technique of vacuum-sealing food for a more flavorful, tender result.

But how does vacuum marinating work?

The process starts with food sealed in plastic. A vacuum machine then sucks out all the air, creating a vacuum seal that prevents water or marinade from entering the bag.  This also keeps flavors inside the food where they belong.

Food is left to soak up delicious juices for hours at a time before being cooked, which keeps the food very tender and flavorful.  The only problem is no air means no browning, so any meats can easily turn gray.

This technique calls for a very low cooking temperature to prevent overcooking the outside while still allowing the inside time to soak up delicious flavors.

In fact, this method often requires brief cooking times under the heat of a broiler, or even just indirect grilling.

Vacuum marinating has been used by professional chefs for years but has only recently been popularized as a common technique.

Its popularity is due to the fact that it helps keep food moist and tender without adding too much fat or masking flavors with strong marinades or rubs.

It can also be used to make homemade “instant” meals, such as pulled pork and beef brisket.

What is a vacuum sealer and how does it work?

A vacuum sealer is a device that creates an airtight (vacuum) seal around the product to be sealed. It removes the air from the bag and seals it at the same time. 

It works by placing food in an open pouch, which is then placed in the machine. The machine sucks out all of the air in the bag, creating a vacuum seal. It then removes the air inside, heats up the pouch to shrink it, and seals it. 

A flat bar attached to a piston is pushed over the open edge of the pouch in one smooth motion, which simultaneously sucks out all of the air inside while sealing the contents in an airtight package.

The heat in a vacuum sealer is created when a piece of metal, or bar, that has been electrified, is rapidly heated and pressed against the edge of the bag.

How to use a vacuum sealer?

A vacuum sealer is very easy to use. 

First, the open end of a bag must be placed into the machine. 

Then, the lid or top portion of the machine that usually has the sealing bar attached to it is lowered until it’s touching the open edge of the bag. 

At this point, the vacuum sealer machine will automatically start doing its job.  Just wait for the process to complete, which usually takes less than 30 seconds.

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Benefits of using a vacuum sealer

The major benefit of using a vacuum sealer is that the process of removing the air inside the bag and sealing it locks in all of the freshness and flavor of any food you put into it. 

This means that fruits and vegetables last longer, the meat stays juicy and tender after cooking, and all other types of food stay as fresh as the day you packed them.

The process is also quick and easy.  Once a bag has been put into the machine, it’s only a matter of seconds before you have finished sealing your food in an airtight pouch.   

Using a vacuum sealer for packing meals allows you to prepare and store ingredients ahead of time and cook them when you’re ready.  This saves you a ton of prep time, especially with things like pulled pork or chicken that need to be cooked low and slow for several hours.

Using a vacuum sealer is also very convenient for people who just started following the keto diet.  It allows them to prepare keto meals ahead of time, freeze them and eat whenever they wish.

With a vacuum sealer, there is no limit to the types of meats you can store for later use.  You can package all kinds of stuff in pouches with a vacuum sealer, including deli meats, cheeses, vegetables, and seafood.

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How to choose the best vacuum sealer for food?

If you’re interested in buying a vacuum sealer for food, then there are several things you should look out for to ensure you get the best model possible for your needs.

First of all, the price is not always indicative of how good a product may be.  You can find great models that cost only $50, while you can also find cheaper models that end up being a pain to use or do not work very well.

For this reason, it’s always best to look at other features before making your final decision.  Some of the things you should consider are:

Power

How strong does the vacuum sealer have to be in order to seal in all the air inside the bag?  The stronger it is, the better.  Most models will have a “Wattage” rating which you can use as a guideline.

Versatility

Not all vacuum sealers are made equally when it comes to features and accessories.   Find out what types of food it can be used to seal, and what types of bags it uses.  Also, see how long the warranty is and if there are any extra accessories that come with it.

Size

How much countertop space does a vacuum sealer require?  Does it offer some kind of compact mode for storage?  Is it easy to store in a cabinet or drawer?

Extra features

Some vacuum sealers have very useful features such as being able to seal liquids.  Some will even have a feature where you can stop the process at any time and re-seal it for later use.

The best way to find out which model will be the best for your specific needs is to simply do some research online.  There are plenty of reviews and guides out there that will help you determine which models are the best, based on different price ranges or other criteria.

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Does vacuum sealing speed up marinating?

Yes, vacuum marinating significantly speeds up the process.  In a matter of hours, even tough cuts of meat can transform into tender, flavorful meals with a simple seal and submerge in liquid.

It’s good to know that you don’t have to own a huge commercial machine for this technique.  With a hand-held vacuum sealer, you can experiment with vacuum marinating and make delicious meals at home.

The next time you’re looking for a new and improved way to cook meat, give vacuum marinating a try!  You’ll be amazed by the results.

Drawbacks of the process

Vacuum marinating is a very simple process, but keep in mind that it doesn’t seal in all the moisture.  As far as cooking goes, this shouldn’t be too much of an issue because you’ll end up finishing the meat in some sort of flavorful sauce anyway.

Another thing to consider if you vacuum marinate your meat is that you should use the technique sparingly.  For example, if you plan on saving some of the marinated meat for later, it will likely dry out due to oxidation.

This can be prevented by adding a thin coat of olive oil to your food before vacuum sealing it.  Even though this means opening up the food chamber and letting air inside, the extra moisture from the oil will remain sealed in your bag.

More information about the process

Some people may assume that marinating meat with a vacuum sealer is not possible.  After all, if you remove the air inside the bag, then how can it properly absorb any flavors?

The process works because you’re submerging your food in liquid anyways.  For example, if you put some steak inside of a bag and suck out the air with a hand-held vacuum sealer, you can then cover it in the marinade before sealing the bag again. 

Even though there’s no air inside of the bag, your food is still absorbing plenty of liquid, producing great results.

Also, keep in mind that this process doesn’t only work for meats or veggies.  You can do the same thing when you’re trying to make a quick and easy seafood dish.

Final Thoughts

The process of vacuum marinating is simple and quick.  All you need to do is submerge your food in liquid and use a hand-held sealer to remove the air inside of the bag.

This technique can be used for meats, veggies, and even seafood dishes.  Since sealing out all the air allows moisture from the liquid to penetrate, you’ll still get delicious results without having to worry about oxidation.

By now you should understand how vacuum marinating works and why it’s such a useful way to cook foods. From now on, give this technique a try with any of your favorite dishes!

Thank you for reading. If you want to learn more about marinating foods, check my related articles here.

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