Marinating a whole chicken

When using dry seasonings and aromatics to flavor a whole chicken, duck or turkey or even roasting beef and pork, all you really have to do is rub the seasonings all over the meat, wrap it in cling film and allow the flavors and to penetrate the meat. But when using liquid marinades or ingredients that tend to slide off the meat (especially from poultry skin), it gets a little trickier.

For decades, I marinated whole chickens and slabs of roasting meat in boxed containers where the remain submerged in the marinade. One problem is the wastage. I’d use a lot of marinade to make sure that the poultry or roast is completely covered. Otherwise, I have to take the container out of the fridge every few hours and turn whatever it is that I am marinating. Another problem is the space consumed inside the fridge. So much space for one chicken because of the container. Marinating a whole chicken

Quite by accident, I discovered Ziploc bags with pleated sides and bottoms. They’re like brown bags — expandable but, once sealed, they are completely leak-proof. They are reusable too. Just wash them inside and out with warm soapy water, drip dry, and store for future use. Marinating the pork loins in tequila

How did I discover them? My daughters went on a trip to the Pawikan Conservation project in Bataan and needed water proof plastic bags to store supplies. It’s an annual school three-day trip and they patrolled the beach to observe the pawikans and, if lucky, watch them lay eggs. The girls had small notebooks, pens, flashlights and cameras while on patrol. And because they have to cross streams on foot, their equipment had to be secure inside their bags.

The thing with Ziploc bags is you cannot buy them per piece. I bought a whole box and, after the trip, I had so much Ziploc bags left. Then my husband, Speedy, cooked tequila pork loin and followed the cooking instructions in the cookbook to the letter. He needed Ziploc bags, I gave him one, and how he marinated the pork loins gave me an idea. The bags are large enough to hold a whole chicken, so, why not? It saves a lot of space in the fridge (the bags can be stacked one on top of the other), the meat need not be submerged in the marinade, and turning is a breeze — just turn the entire bag and that’s it.

Naturally, I want to be able to do the same thing with a whole duck or turkey. Or even a 5-kilogram slab of roasting beef. But there are no Ziploc bags that large. Then, I saw something called brining in The Pioneer Woman Cooks and I’ve been searching for these bags since. I haven’t been to my favorite kitchen stores lately (Living Well, Gourdo’s and Cooks Exchange) but I’m really hoping that they sell these brining and that they are available in time for the turkey I will be roasting on New Year’s Eve.

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Hello, my name is Connie Veneracion. I cook, I shoot, I write. But I don't do the laundry. I don't like housekeeping very much either... (more)


  • I have lots of these bags but never have used them for marinading. I do use it when coating something to be deep fried though. Is there a difference in taste as opposed to putting it in a covered container? I’ll try this next time. Btw, bought a thermometer at SM for almost P400. Ang mahal compared to the one you got!

  • Using bags, I find that the meat or poultry requires less marinating time. And you can actually massage the herbs and seasonings into the meat without getting your hands dirty. :)

    Mahal nga yung thermometer mo! :razz:

  • Wow, that is good news! I’ll check next time I go to the supermarket. Perhaps, in supermarkets that sell lots of imported items like Cash & Carry.

  • I love ziploc bags. With kids and my craft hobbies, they come very handy. And of course in the kitchen as well. Ziploc bags are great for frosting cupcakes, cakes, etc, too. If you don’t have the piping bags anyway. Just put the frosting inside, zip it, making sure all the air is out of course, then cut a small opening in bottom, just one of them :).
    Then just hold it like a piping bag.

    Hope you find the ones you need for you turkey :)

  • Can I share a tip?

    When you make a marinade, (in this case, for chicken) make enough for 2 or more batches. then put them all in the fridge for the flavors to penetrate.

    Then, when you’re off to cook one batch, store the other batches in the freezer. That way, when you need to cook, all you have to do is defrost.

    Make sure though, that you double-wrap your bags which contain wet marinades–liquids expand in when frozen, right?


  • I’ve always used bags to marinate chicken. However with turkey it’s another matter. I’d need to use a little tub to cure this poultry.

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