Can I freeze marinated chicken thighs?

Specifically this recipe: http://cooking.nytimes...

I want ideally to put the chicken in the marinade on Thursday night, throw it in the freezer, pack it for camping, and thaw and cook over a fire Saturday night. Does freezing stop the marinating process? I know that chicken can get mushy if it's over-marinated. Thanks!!



Sean R. July 30, 2016
Freezing is absolutely fine!

The mushiness you're describing is attributed to meat tenderizers (like pineapple or papaya enzymes) being in contact with the proteins for too long a time. They will either not interact with the proteins when frozen: at all or at nearly the same rate. I've certainly never had a problem with freezing meat with marinades using citrus juice or vinegar. Citrus and acetic acid are quite weak and rarely cause a problem (unless you leave the meat for ages or use a ton of acid, neither of which sound like good eats).

Really, freezing meat with a marinade is helpful since the ice crystals will force the tissue apart and make more passages for your marinade. Yum yum yum!
Susan W. July 29, 2016
I do it all the time. Freezing slows the marinade down a lot and then as it thaws, the marinade does its work. I do, however use very little acid, if any, in my marinades. If you use acid, I'd cut back a little.
Sean R. July 30, 2016
I would lobby for the inclusion of acid in its original proportions!

Sourness might be THE most common taste that is missing when something tastes "underseasoned". American-style cooking tends to lack acid compared to cuisines around the world. It's a really important contrast. The tanginess wakes up your taste buds and gets you salivating (which will apply some tenderizers of your own that hang out in....ahem....the mouth region.) ;D
Susan W. July 30, 2016
Sean, I don't use acid in most marinades because I don't like the texture it gives the surface of meats. For instance, I have some chicken breast marinating overnight, but I use lemon zest, not lemon juice. It's how I prefer to marinate meat. I use plenty of acid when needed in other phases of recipes. This theory is supported by Kenji at Serious Eats and by Faith at the Kitchn.
UhOhSarah July 30, 2016
I think maybe I'll minimize the lemon in the marinating stage and then throw lemon slices in when I cook it. I'm satisfied with that plan. Thanks all!
Sean R. July 30, 2016
I think that makes a lot of sense for this particular recipe since it doesn't call for much liquid, only 2 lemons of juice and a 1/2 c. of olive oil.

I don't know about cutting down on acid in all marinades since proportions vary widely, but totally understand that it's personal preference!
Sean R. July 30, 2016
Also, Sarah, that recipe looks pretty fab. I'm very excited for your (camping?) food!
UhOhSarah July 30, 2016
It is a fantastic recipe - i recommend it! Tastes exactly like shawarma from a sketchy street cart :) I make it all the time at home, just never a few days ahead before.
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