How much sodium does meat absorb from a salty marinade?
As you see with brining, sodium helps break down proteins. The acidic ingredients in a marinade do the same for connective tissues, all the while imparting flavor to the surface of the meat.
THE TEST: We marinated a pork tenderloin in a simple marinade of lower-sodium soy sauce, sesame oil, green onions, garlic, black pepper, and ginger for 1.5 hours, then grilled the tenderloin.
Unmarinated grilled pork: 54mg sodium per 3 ounces
Marinated grilled pork: 276mg sodium per 3 ounces
THE RESULTS: Only 6% of the salt was absorbed by the pork, but it quadrupled the sodium count in the meat. Bottom line: Let sodium do its work; then cut back salt in any sauces or other ingredients.