I don't consider it "science" but vinegar (acid) breaks down protein a little.
Here's my list from years of note taking:
Vinegars, lemon juice, apple juice, WHITE grape juice, FRESH pineapple juice, orange juice, papaya and SUGAR FREE soft drinks aid in breaking down protein..
Salt pulls marinade into meat.
Poultry skin is pourous.
Oil adds to surface browning and crisping.
Olive oil is avoided because it solidifys when cold.
Corn, canola, peanut and vegetable oils are a better choice.
Keep marinade/brine thin.
Do not initially use sugars as they thicken and clog pores.
Do not use alcohol based products until they have been cooked-off first.
I marinade/brine in tight fitting zip-lock bags when possible or a close fitting SS kettle. Refrigerator space dictates. In cold weather, I go into my smokehouse.
For the turkey, I will use exact multiples of:
2 c. apple cider/juice, 1/4 c. cider vinegar,
1 c. water,
1 1/2 tbs kosher salt,
1 tsp garlic powder.
(n.b. for chicken I substitute Ginger Beer for water)
I always smoke with fruit woods and smoke for as long as the product I am smoking, is in the smoker. We LIKE smoke!
I might alternate using distilled vinegar with cider vinegar at times with pork and poultry but I tend to only use wine vinegar with beef.
Have a happy and healthy Turkey Day everyone.