Ingredients sweet, tart, savory, and salty comprise this easy marinade that turns bland poultry and pork into succulent, flavorful meat. JUMP TO RECIPE
Apricot Orange Marinade is my go-to marinade for chicken and pork. This recipe makes enough for about 2 pounds of meat and you can even reserve a little bit of the marinade to use as a sauce for extra flavor. However, it’s very important to set aside any sauce you plan to serve with the cooked meat BEFORE you place the raw meat in the marinade, otherwise you risk contracting a foodborne illness, as raw meat can contain harmful bacteria that will contaminate the marinade. No worries consuming the meat after it’s properly cooked though, as any germs will be killed off. Just be sure to discard the marinade that the raw meat sat in.
So, here’s the science behind this simple and unassuming recipe for Apricot Orange Marinade. Meat is comprised mostly of water, and since the main ingredient in many marinades is oil, a lot of marinades don’t do much to flavor anything except the surface of the meat because water and oil don’t mix! (Read more about this little-known fact here.) But there is a way to make marinades more effective and that’s by ensuring that they contain a little bit of acid, such as vinegar or citrus, (but not too much or the meat will turn mushy), and a generous amount of salt (kosher salt and/or soy sauce). These two ingredients will tenderize the meat by breaking down some of the proteins, which, in turn, allows the other flavor enhancers you’re using to better permeate the meat.
Following these guidelines, Apricot Orange Marinade contains just 1 tablespoon of acid in the form of orange juice, along with a good amount of salt in the form of soy sauce and kosher salt. Then you’ve got some apricot jam for sweetness, (and a little bit of tart), and Dijon mustard for a hint of savory flavor. And notice – no oil!
Aside from the amazing flavor this marinade imparts to poultry and pork, it’s simple, mostly staple, ingredients make it a snap to throw together. Most people wouldn’t consider apricot jam a staple ingredient, but in my house, it is! I always have a couple of jars on-hand to make dishes like Apricot Pistachio Crusted Salmon and Baked Apricot Brie. If you’re concerned about the high sugar content is apricot jam, look for reduced sugar varieties which are now widely available and work great in this recipe. Trader Joe’s make a reduced sugar apricot jam (preserves) that has only 7g of sugar per tablespoon vs. a brand like Smuckers which clocks in a 12g of sugar per tablespoon.
If you make Apricot Orange Marinade don’t forget to snap a pic and tag me over on Instagram @QueenofMyKitchen. I’d love to see your creation!
- ⅓ cup apricot jam
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon orange juice
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- Whisk all ingredients together (see notes).
- Makes enough marinade for 2 lbs. of meat.
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