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Alternative to Apple Juice for Chicken and Ribs

Asked by thurman. Answered on 5th October 2014

Full question

What could I use instead of apple juice for the Maple Chicken N Ribs?

Our answer

Nigella's Maple Chicken N Ribs (from Nigella Express and on the Nigella website) has a marinade made from maple syrup, apple juice and soy sauce. You need a fairly sharp juice so whatever alternatives you choose to use, try to look for versions that don't have much added sugar. Pear or white grape juices are fairly neutral in taste and you could try one of these if you can't use apple juice. Cranberry juice is quite sharp and could also be tried (Nigella uses cranberry juice as part of a glaze for sausages), but make sure that you use one without too much sugar and without artificial sweeteners.

Pineapple juice is also popular in barbecue marinades. However pineapple contains an enzyme that breaks down the fibres in meat. This makes it good for tenderizing meat, but if you marinate meat for too long in pineapple juice it can break the fibres down too much and give the meat a slightly mushy texture. So if you try pineapple juice we suggest that you marinate the chicken and ribs overnight only, and no longer.

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