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Taste test: marinades

With a little planning, it's easy to turn an everyday chicken dinner into a zesty dish or an ethnic feast. Food manufacturers provide plenty of options for bottled or premade marinades to use for jazzing up all kinds of meats. We found so many that we divided our tasting into two sessions. The favorites listed today are from the first eight brands of marinade we sampled. Next week, we will provide the panelist picks from eight more brands. When given the option, we selected teriyaki or the "original" flavors from each maker. We soaked chicken breasts overnight in each marinade and grilled them for our tasting.

Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent


(out of 100)
Market Pantry

Teriyaki 69
KC Masterpiece Honey Teriyaki 59Paula Deen Collection Savannah Marinade 58

Judges favored the flavor of Target's store brand of marinade because it didn't overwhelm the chicken. "The marinade is a nice color and the chicken is moist and tasty," said one panelist. "It's a great caramel color," said another. "This has the perfect blend of sweet, tart and smoky flavors." A couple of judges detected a hint of garlic in the sauce. "A good all-around marinade," said one who liked the "tang" in the taste.The grilled chicken looked especially appetizing after soaking in this sauce overnight. Judges appreciated the brownish color, smooth texture and sweet-salty flavor of the marinated meat. "It's very heavy on soy sauce in a good way," said one judge. "I like the smoky taste as well." Another said he enjoyed a "peppery aftertaste" after sampling chicken with KC's marinade. "This doesn't need any doctoring. I would serve this alongside rice or potatoes and veggies," said one. "No need for any more sauce."Chef Paula Deen's reputation may be suffering lately, but her Southern-style marinade fared well among our panelists. "This has all the marinade must-haves: smoke, salt, sweet and garlic," said one judge. "It has the nice mild flavor of teriyaki and a good level of saltiness." One said she tasted Worcestershire sauce in the marinade. "It's got great teriyaki-ness," said another. Even though it has the name of a Southern city, judges said they would choose this marinade for an oriental stir-fry or chicken and broccoli dish.

they buy?
Three of the four judges said yes.Three of the four judges said yes.Two of the four judges said yes.
Shopping information$1.39 for a 12.25-ounce bottle from Target.$2.59 for a 16-ounce bottle from Target.$2 for a 12-ounce bottle from Winn-Dixie.

Also Sampled: Jack Daniel's Honey Teriyaki Marinade-in-a-bag ($3.29 for a 12-ounce pouch from Sweetbay, 53 points); Taste of Inspirations Teriyaki Marinade ($2.79 for a 12-ounce bottle from Sweetbay, 42 points); Moore's Marinade Original Hickory ($3.59 for a 16-ounce bottle from Sweetbay, 50 points); Allegro Original Marinade ($3.39 for a 12.7-ounce bottle from Sweetbay, 16 points); and Ken's Original Steak House Honey Teriyaki Marinade Sauce ($2 for a 16-ounce bottle from Publix, 48 points).

Panelists: Nan Jensen, registered dietitian; John Hehn, owner of All Brite Lighting & Power Design Inc.; Bob Devin Jones, artistic director of Studio@620; and Laura Reiley, Times food critic. All foods were tasted blind.

Send suggestions for product testing to: Taste section, Tampa Bay Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731 or email them to Please put TEST SUGGESTION in the subject line. To read past Taster's Choice columns, go to

Serving sizeOne tablespoonOne tablespoonTwo tablespoons
Fat/Fiber0g / 0g0g / 0g.5g / 0g
Sugars/Sodium4g / 560mg8g / 370mg1g / 660mg
Carbs/Protein5g / 0g9g / 0g2g / 1g

Taste test: marinades 09/30/13 [Last modified: Monday, September 30, 2013 2:19pm]
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