Does it Work: Marinator takes too much sauce
This 5-minute marinator might be good for those who marinate large quantities of food regularly, but if you only marinate a few pieces at a time, too much marinade would be wasted.
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A co-worker said he saw a five-minute marinator at The Compleat Kitchen in Kahala Mall and wanted to know if it worked. With Labor Day approaching, I thought this would be the perfect time to see if this gadget could save people time as they get ready for the holiday weekend.
The item, made by Jaccard, comes in two sizes — 6-by-9 inches and 10-by-14 inches — but the shop was sold out of the smaller size.
>> How it works: A manual pump creates a vacuum seal that supposedly helps marinade penetrate raw food faster. The number of pumps depends on how many pieces are being marinated. When all the air is removed, a tiny button next to the gasket caves in. Wait at least five minutes, then remove the small button by pulling up on the rubber tip .
I tried the marinator separately on tri-tip steak, skinless and boneless chicken thighs and a white fish fillet. To compare the intensity of flavor, I marinated the same amount of each food in a zip-close bag for the same length of time.
>> Does it work? Yes, on my second try. In the first round of testing the steak had some flavor, but not as much as the meat prepared in the bag. The chicken lacked flavor in both preparations and the fish that sat in the plastic bag had a slight sesame flavor that I probably would have missed if I didn’t know it was in the marinade. I realized that the items I marinated in the plastic bags had more flavor because the marinade was in contact with all areas of the food. (As a habit, I squeezed the air out of the bag, then massaged the food to make sure all surfaces were covered with liquid.) In the marinator, I poured liquid into the container, rolled the pieces in the marinade, then sealed the container. None of the pieces was fully immersed.
In the second testing, I filled the container with much more marinade and once again used the plastic-bag method for comparison. Taste testers said the flavor intensities of both preparations were identical.
>> Pros: The gadget is pretty easy to use, except for one step (read below). The container is a good size, and I like that the cover easily detaches, so it’s easy to wash. The makers also note that the cover can be used as a tray.
>> Cons: The rubber on the button is so tiny that it’s hard to grasp, and it took me several tries to remove the piece. The biggest downside: While both chicken thighs tasted good in the second testing, I only used a 1/2 cup of marinade in the plastic bag, compared with about 2 quarts — almost the whole jug of sauce — in the marinator.
>> Cost and availability: $38 plus tax at Compleat Kitchen. It’s also available for $19.99 (small size) plus $12.49 shipping and $29.99 (large) plus $17.01 shipping at jaccard.com; and $29.99 (large) plus $12.44 on amazon.com.
>> Worth it?: It may be good for those who marinate large quantities of food regularly (saves on plastic bags). But if you only marinate a few pieces at a time, too much marinade would be wasted — although the smaller size may be a perfect fit.
Got a gadget that you love? Curious about one you’d like us to test? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or write Crave,Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, Honolulu 96813.