Why It's A Bad Idea To Reuse Leftover Marinade

A marinade is an easy tool that can be used to help enhance the flavor of practically any meat before cooking. They're also extremely easy to customize, and practically do all of the hard work of tenderizing and seasoning meat for you: They're the perfect tool to help you own any Summer cookout.

However, one issue that exists with marinades is that they are wasteful in some ways. It can take a good amount of fats, acids, herbs, and other seasonings to make a marinade that will sufficiently cover your meat while it rests.

So, it might be tempting to use that marinade for another purpose once you've got your meat on the grill. You might even think to yourself, "Maybe this marinade would work as a sauce to serve with my meat." Sadly, there is a huge health risk involved with that decision, and using your marinade for anything else after it has been in contact with the meat is a bad choice (via ABC News).

Reusing a marinade may cause food poisoning

Cooks need to always be careful when handling raw meat. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends avoiding cross contamination between surfaces that have touched raw meat with other foods, and washing hands frequently when handling any raw poultry, beef, pork, or seafood. Raw meats often carry foodborne pathogens that may cause minor to severe cases of food poisoning. More than 120,000 Americans are hospitalized by food poisoning every year (via The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics).

Once your marinade has come into contact with the raw meat it may be carrying some of these same pathogens, per ABC News. That's why it's important to never use your marinade as a sauce afterwards. A great way to add more flavor to your meal without taking any risks is to set some of the marinade aside before it comes into contact with any raw meats. Simply store the extra marinade in an air tight container in the refrigerator until it's ready to be used.

According to Spruce Eats, it might also be possible to boil your leftover marinade to kill most of the bacteria present. Bring the marinade to a roiling boil, and a consistent temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit to kill most foodborne pathogens. Of course, the safest way to avoid getting anyone sick is to simply throw out your marinade, no matter how wasteful it may seem. 

Another great method is to use a reverse marinade instead.