In the kitchen, one of the most important rules to remember is to be cautious of cross-contamination. This is where bacteria from one piece of food is transferred to another through direct contact or via juices. Most commonly, this concern is centred around meat. As such you may be wondering, can you marinate chicken and beef together.

What Is Marinating Meat?

Marinating meats is the process of soaking raw meats such as pork chops, chicken breast in a seasoned liquid such as soy sauce mixed with herbs and spices. This liquid will be called a marinade and when left to marinate the meat will tenderise and be flavoured by the marinade. 

Can You Marinate Beef And Chicken Together Safely?

Contrary to what might be expected it is, in fact, perfectly safe to marinate different meats such as raw chicken and beef at the same time. This is because when the marinated meat is cooked, the cooking process will destroy foodborne bacteria that may have been passed from one meat to another.

Can You Marinate Chicken And Beef Together?

How To Marinate Raw Meat Safely

Whilst you can marinate beef, chicken or any other meats together, you still need to be cautious whilst marinating meat. This is because when you marinate meat there are a few ways the meat being marinated can cause food poisoning. 

When marinading, you should never leave meats at room temperature for long periods of time. This is because microorganism numbers in meat can double roughly every twenty minutes at these temperatures. 

As a result of this is it is very strongly recommended that you leave the meat in the fridge or freezer to marinade. The reason being that bacteria won’t grow nearly as quickly in colder temperatures.  

However, the marinating meat should be kept on a bottom shelf either in sealable plastic bags or ziploc bags. If such precautions aren’t taken the raw meat could transfer bacteria to other foods in your fridge. Additionally, when the marinating is finished the plastic or ziploc bags used should be disposed of for hygiene reasons. 

There’s also another reason why it’s recommended to use disposable ziploc and plastic bags instead of metal containers. Simply this is because when you use metal containers there is a risk that they will be damaged by the acidic ingredients found in many marinades, such as lemon juice.

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Should You Marinate Chicken And Beef Together?

As established above, it is perfectly safe to marinate beef and chicken together. However, whilst these meats can and occasionally are marinated often, does this necessarily mean that you should marinate them together?

Why You Shouldn’t Marinate Beef And Chicken Chicken Together

As mentioned above, safety isn’t a concern when marinating beef and chicken together. However, there are still a few compelling reasons why you shouldn’t marinate them together.

Can You Marinate Chicken And Beef Together?

Differing Marinating Times

A big reason is that texture-wise raw chicken and beef are very different from each other. This means that a length of time suitable for marinating one of them will not be ideal for the other.

For example, chicken is typically a lot more tender than beef meaning that when marinated for too long it will likely lose its structural integrity. For this reason, when cooked together, beef will often be added earlier into the process than chicken.

Additionally, beef requires quite a long time to get the best flavour out of a marinade. As such when only marinated for as long as a chicken can handle, it won’t be as good as it could be if left overnight.

Convenience

When cooking it is often more convenient to have your different types of raw meat marinating separately from each other. This is because when cooking they will often be added to dishes separately. Often it is best to cook chicken separately from beef as it will be cooked far more quickly than the beef.

Additionally, marinating them together may limit the number of cooking options available to you. This is because you’ll have to take into account the amount of time needed for both types of meat to be cooked safely, rather than just one of them. 

Can You Marinate Chicken And Beef Together?

Dietary Requirements And Religious Reasons

If serving food to someone with an allergy to either chicken or beef it is important to ensure that they are not marinated together. This is because the cross-contamination that occurs from them being marinated together can lead to allergic reactions.

Additionally, whilst some people may not be allergic to either chicken or beef, they may not be able to eat one or the other for religious reasons. For example, Hindus cannot eat beef due to seeing cows as sacred. As such, many would object to eating chicken that has been marinated with beef due to the cross-contamination that inevitably occurs.  

When You Should Marinate Chicken And Beef Together

Despite there being some compelling reasons to not marinate beef and chicken together, there are some instances when doing so advantageous.

Whilst most cuts of beef will take significantly longer to marinate than chicken this isn’t always the case. Particularly tender cuts such as tenderloin shouldn’t be marinated for very long. As such they will often be perfectly suited for marinating with chicken.

Additionally, for dishes like stir fry or noodles, chicken and beef will often be used in tandem. Naturally, both types of meat will be marinated together to enhance the flavour. As such, in these contexts particularly thin slices of beef will be used alongside chicken so they will marinate and cook at the same rate.

Can You Marinate Chicken And Beef Together?

Can I Marinate Chicken And Beef Together? – Yes, You Can!

Now we know that chicken and beef are perfectly safe to marinate together, so long as proper steps are taken to marinate safely. These steps, however, are just recommended practices when it comes to marinating any meat and not additional steps required when marinating a mixture of meats.

Despite it being safe to do so, however, we also know what disadvantages there to marinating together, along with the advantages it can offer. Now that you’re informed, what are you waiting for? It’s time to get your meat marinating so you can or grill or barbecue it at its best.

FAQ – Can You Marinate Chicken And Beef Together

Can I marinade chicken and steak together?

Chicken and steak can be safely marinated together so long as they are both raw. In fact, many dishes such as stir fry and certain noodle dishes will use a marinated mixture of chicken and beef to maximise flavour.

Can you put raw chicken and beef together?

So long as they are marinated safely and both cooked properly it is perfectly safe to marinate beef and chicken together. However, whilst this is ideal to do for some dishes, for others, it can be less convenient than marinating them separately.

Can you marinate chicken with other meats?

Chicken can be marinated with other meats perfectly safely. Just like with any other marinating process though it is important to ensure that you keep good hygiene and cook the meats thoroughly.

How long can I marinate steak and chicken?

Typically it is best to only marinate meat for a couple of hours. However, when refrigerated chicken can be marinated overnight whilst steak is at its best when allowed to marinate for a couple of days.