For game birds, the lighter flavored the marinade the better. Venison and red meat, particularly from older animals, can handle heartier marinades, but again, be careful not to overpower the game.
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For some reason, the go-to recipe for wild-game always starts with “Soak (insert game meat here) in Italian dressing for three days.” Seriously, how many times have you heard a hunter say this? This statement turned me off marinades for a long time and I have often mentioned on this blog I don’t use marinades. My stance on marinades has softened as I’ve come to value them for their ability to enhance the taste of wild game.
One argument for using marinades is that they help tenderize tough meat. But this is probably the biggest misconception about using marinades, at least if you believe in science. According to a study done by Fine Cooking magazine, acidic marinades may, in fact, make meat tougher:
“When proteins are exposed to an acidic marinade, the bonds break and the proteins unwind. Almost immediately, one unwound protein runs into another unwound protein and they bond together into a loose mesh. This is the same thing that happens when proteins are exposed to heat. At first, water molecules are attached to and trapped within this protein mesh, so the tissue remains juicy and tender. But after a short time, if the protein is in a very acidic marinade, the protein bonds tighten, water is squeezed out, and the tissue becomes tough.”