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Cookery and Culinary Arts/marinating fish for BBQ

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Question
I've read that after fish has marinaded in the refrigerator, it is a good idea to remove the marinade before grilling the fish, to prevent the spread of bacteria. It seems to me it is impossible to remove all of the marinade. Am I missing something? Thanks.

Answer
David,

I'm going to hit you with a short answer, let me know if you need further explanation.

Marinating, in this case, is a flavor enhancer.  The goal is that while the fish sits in the marinade, it will absorb salt and flavors via the process of osmosis.  In addition to this, many marinades (as opposed to brines) are designed to stay on or with the meat when it is cooked.  Allowing the marinade to stay in contact with the fish/meat during the cooking process will help to develop more complex flavors (the marinade ingredients interact with the heat and the meat) and may also help to moderate heat absorption and help the food cook more evenly (such as with an oil based marinade)

If your marinade is high in sugar, there is a possibility that it could burn.  This is especially common on grills, and even more so on smaller home or outdoor grills, which tend to have more hotspots than commercial grills.  If your marinade has a lot of sugar (like BBQ sauce), best to remove any excess (not all of it, just the excess) before cooking.  Keep an close eye, brown is a delicious color, black is not.

Lastly - Fish tends to be much safer than other meats in it's raw form (think sushi), but it could still lead to nasty foodborne illness if mishandled.  Removing the marinade in itself will not help prevent contamination, however - once anything comes in contact with raw fish, it becomes contaminated with bacteria and a potential health risk itself.  This goes for the marinade, counter tops, utensils, plates, sinks, and your hands.  So you could potentially spread bacteria by splattering fishy marinade around, but if you take proper precautions you'll be fine.  (Isolate and contain!)

A mixture of 1 Tablespoon bleach to 1 gallon water is a very effective solution with which to sanitize your work area and tools after handling raw meat or fish.

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Adam W Price

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I can answer general and specific questions related to all manner of food preparation, food cookery, and peripheral disciplines such as applied food science, nutrition, or sanitation. I am knowledgeable in meat, poultry and seafood fabrication, recipe development, world cuisines including 'fusion' styles, and all of the primary cooking methods (grilling, steaming, etc.). I can assist you with developing or redesigning recipes, planning for events (from a caterers point of view), troubleshooting recipes, identifying and working with unfamiliar ingredients or cooking methods, or (most importantly in my opinion) figuring out exactly why things happen the way they do. If we understand the science and reasoning behind our craft, then we can start learning how to cook instead of learning to recreate recipes. Other sides of the craft that I am experienced in include: sugar work (though limited experience with chocolate, sad to say), ice creams/sorbets, baking and pastry, wines (specifically when paired with foods), and others. If for some reason I cannot answer a question, I will do my best to point you toward a source that can.

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I have nearly two decades of experience as a professional in the field, and I enjoy experimenting with new ideas on my own time. I have worked in restaurants ranging from quick service to fine dining, bakeries, butcher shops and institutions. I have done event planning and execution for large and small scale catered events. I have managed several kitchens and developed menus ranging from simple buffets to elaborate multi-course meals. I have an extensive library of recipe books as well as books on cooking techniques, food science, food safety, and nutrition.

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