How To Choose The Best Soda Marinade For Your Chicken

chicken skewers with soda
chicken skewers with soda - MariaKovaleva/Shutterstock

Once upon a time, the idea of marinating chicken in soda may have seemed a bit odd, but we're well into the era of sweet and savory flavor pairings by now so it's actually a fairly mainstream choice. Not only does a soda marinade help to tenderize meat of any kind (not just chicken) thanks to its acidity, but the sugar also helps the meat caramelize when it cooks. Soda also makes a great substitute for the beer in beer can chicken, transforming the dish into something 100% child-friendly. If you're wondering if there's any one particular soda that you should be using, though, the answer (as it so often is in matters of cooking) is: Whichever one you like best.

As chicken may be one of the most versatile meats, with a flavor that adapts to any other ingredients in the recipe, this means that there's no one perfect soda-chicken pairing. Instead, your choice of soda will be dictated by several different factors, these being your personal preference, what you have on hand, and what kind of soda goes best with the other elements of the chicken dish. You can even use diet soda as a marinade, but if you're planning to serve the chicken dish to others, be aware that many people find diet soda to taste funny (and not in an amusing way).

Read more: 6 Canned Meats You Should Buy And 6 You Shouldn't

Here Are Some Possible Soda/ingredient Pairings

roast chicken with soda
roast chicken with soda - successo images/Shutterstock

Depending on what chicken dish you have in mind, there are several different sodas that could work well in the recipe. If you're thinking of coating the chicken in a sticky-sweet barbecue sauce, a cola or root beer marinade would go well with these. When you're done with the marinade, you don't even need to throw it out. Instead, as per USDA recommendation, boil it for a few minutes to kill off any toxic bacteria, then use the liquid to thin the barbecue sauce that you'll brush on the chicken as a glaze or stir some into a pot of baked beans to serve on the side.

If you like your orange chicken on the sweet side, there's a chance you might enjoy orange soda chicken even more — use the drink as a marinade, and then (as above) boil it before mixing it with rice vinegar, soy sauce, and ginger to use as a stir-fry sauce. Lemon or lemon-lime soda can make for an alcohol-free alternative to wine in a chicken piccata recipe, while if you're feeling fancy, you could even concoct poulet aux cerises (cherry chicken) using cherry soda or a sweeter take on coq au vin with grape soda instead of red wine.

Read the original article on Mashed