This question is the opposite of "should I eat it?"
April 29, 2013 11:27 AM   Subscribe

One of my favorite no-brainer meals is grilled chicken marinated in fat-free Italian dressing. Yum! I usually marinate and grill a whole pack of breasts and then grill them and save leftovers through the week. But I got to thinking about how I could get the freezer to help me out. Can it?

I have a vacuum sealer, and I'm just curious what order of things would be the most effective for flavor and least damaging to the chicken.

Option 1: Place chicken and marinade in bag, vacuum seal, freeze.
Option 2: Place chicken in vacuum bag, freeze, add marinade to frozen chicken, reseal, refreeze.

Would either of these have a bad effect on the chicken? Should I stick with my regular routine, which is to add the marinade as everything is defrosting or already defrosted?
posted by moviehawk to Food & Drink (12 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I freeze in marinade. Which is to say option 1. Works great, has no negative reaction with the chicken. I don't think option 2 would actually allow the marinade to ... penetrate, or whatever, as well.
posted by penduluum at 11:30 AM on April 29, 2013

You're not going to damage the chicken by freezing it in its marinade. We do this all the time.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 11:31 AM on April 29, 2013

penduluum, I assumed the marinated would work as the whole shebang was defrosting. But good to know that option 1 works just fine and I wouldn't have to do the extra work.
posted by moviehawk at 11:31 AM on April 29, 2013

On Pinterest, if you search "dump chicken", you will get a ton of pins with recipes for just this idea.

Here's one I chose at random.
posted by pyjammy at 11:42 AM on April 29, 2013

How long do you marinate? How long does it take a frozen breast to thaw? If the thawing time is less than the marinating time, I would marinate first, at least long enough to make up the difference, then bag and freeze.
posted by Bruce H. at 11:50 AM on April 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

I freeze all sorts of things in marinades (while raw) and then allow the marinade to soak in and do its magic during the thaw. If you're thinking that your option 1 would make everything too strong or something, that doesn't seem to happen. And it's a lot less time-consuming than your other idea.
posted by houseofdanie at 11:56 AM on April 29, 2013

Your rule of thumb here is that you should not freeze your raw chicken twice--that's a sure way to get freezer burn. You can freeze, marinade and cook and then freeze again, but I recommend that you buy fresh chicken and then either:

1) Vacuum seal with marinade, freeze, defrost, cook and eat


2) Marinate, cook, vacuum seal and freeze. (On a weekend when you can do large batches.)

I usually do option 2--then when I want to eat the chicken it takes 10 minutes to reheat and eat for dinner.
posted by Kimberly at 11:57 AM on April 29, 2013

Put the chicken and marinade in the bag together. The marinade will protect the chicken from freezer burn - you might not even really need to vacuum seal it (though it certainly won't hurt).
posted by mskyle at 12:03 PM on April 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

If you want something to marinate for a shorter period than the defrosting time, you could take a hint from frozen dinner companies and freeze the marinade in small chunks (maybe in an ice cube tray) and add that to the bag with the chicken, then defrost all at once.
posted by xingcat at 12:05 PM on April 29, 2013

You don't actually want to run a food sealer with liquid in the bag. Because the liquid will get into the machine and ruin it.

So what I would do is freeze the chicken w marinade and then seal. The chicken doesn't have to freeze solid, but get the marinade to be frozen. I wouldn't bother to pre-freeze the marinade bc I've never found this method to cause over-flavored food. Though it's been a few years since I had a food sealer.
posted by bilabial at 12:47 PM on April 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

I have no idea about the food sealer, but I did learn this freeze-in-marinade at a Pampered Chef party once so it's definitely something people do.
posted by radioamy at 8:23 PM on April 29, 2013

You don't actually want to run a food sealer with liquid in the bag. Because the liquid will get into the machine and ruin it.

I guess it depends on what kind of vacuum sealer you have. We can do this with no problem.
posted by Kimberly at 7:58 AM on April 30, 2013

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