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Everything You Need to Know About BBQ Seasoning, Part 2 of 3: Marinades for your BBQ

bbq marinades

The starter went down a treat, so now it’s time to move onto the main course. That’s right BBQ lovers, the second part of our series on BBQ seasoning is here and today we’re focusing on marinades. Marinades are the ultimate in BBQ flavour, infusing cuts of meat, vegetables or even cheese with rich and diverse flavours. While marinades do need a little bit of extra preparation, they add so much to your BBQ that they’re a must if you want to open up a new world of flavour and experience.

Marinating your grilled or smoked food can really elevate the flavour profile of your barbecue cooking. Plus, you’ll find they add tenderness to meat and vegetables, especially if they’re being grilled or smoked. So, read on to find out all about our top marinades, as well as some tips and tricks you can use to take your marinating game to the next level.

Marinating tips and tricks

The key element to a successful marinade is time. The longer you leave your food marinating, the deeper and richer the flavour profile – especially for larger cuts of meat that are destined for the smoker. Many of the best marinade recipes will call for leaving the food overnight to give the exciting tastes time to really develop.

Just be careful as some vegetables and fish can become mushy or overly tender if they’re over-marinated. As a general guide, vegetables should be marinated for around half an hour maximum, fish and seafood between half an hour to an hour, poultry can be marinated for around half an hour up to 3 hours, and then other cuts of meat, like beef or pork, can be marinated for half an hour up to about 15 hours.

Whatever marinade you’re making, make sure to include an acidic ingredient. Having an acidic base to your marinade will make the food tender and also allow the flavours to penetrate deeper into the meat or vegetables. These acidic ingredients could be wine, vinegar, a citrus juice, or even yoghurt. It’s good to think of these ingredients as the base of a marinade, and then add complementary flavours on top to layer and create a rich, and exciting flavour profile.

It’s essential that you always marinate your meat or vegetables in the fridge. Marinating at room temperature can allow bacteria to grow and possibly even cause illness. When you’re marinating, turn the meat or vegetables over a few times during the process to make sure everything has been properly coated. This will maximise the flavour boost to your food. It’s also best to use glass or plastic containers for marinating, as metal containers can sometimes react with the acids and affect flavour.

The other important tip to remember when you’re marinating is that you shouldn’t reuse your marinade again, or use it as a sauce after marinating. As marinades are in contact with raw ingredients, they can contain harmful bacteria, so you should discard your marinade after use.

Our top 3 marinade recipes

So, now we’ve shared our tips on how to marinate like a pro, here are our top 3 marinade recipes. These all-purpose marinades work great with all kinds of meat and veg, just adjust the times that you marinade to suit the food you’re using.

Jerk flavour marinade

Coming from the heart of Jamaica, jerk flavour marinade provides some fiery heat to all kinds of meats and veg. Most commonly used with chicken, it’s also perfect for vegetables and other cuts of meat. If you like a cooler heat, simply add fewer chillies to lessen the spicy kick. Add even more chillies if you really like it hot!

To make this marinade, chop 1 medium onion or 3 spring onions, alongside 3 garlic cloves and some chopped ginger. Add 3 tablespoons of soy sauce, a tablespoon of olive or vegetable oil and a tablespoon of cider vinegar. Add a dash lime juice, 2 teaspoons of sugar, 1 of salt, allspice and a healthy handful of fresh thyme. Add a pinch of nutmeg and cinnamon to round the flavour off, and then add chillies for heat. Typically Scotch bonnet chillies are used for jerk sauce, but you could use other variations of chilli, or even hot sauce, depending on your preference. Then, simply blend this all together to create your marinade.

Try teriyaki

Sticky, sweet and tangy: this teriyaki marinade has got it all. Use it on meats or veg for a beautiful Japanese-inspired marinade with flavours of sweet soy sauce.  This recipe for a balanced teriyaki marinade is thick enough to coat your foods before barbecuing.

To make this teriyaki marinade, add a cup of soy sauce to half a cup of water along with three quarters of a cup of white sugar, and a quarter of a cup of Worcestershire sauce. To this mixture, add 2 finely diced onions and 3 cloves of finely diced garlic, along with a dash of ginger. Stir this gently until the sugar is completely dissolved, and then use as a marinade immediately.

This tandoori marinade offers curry-inspired flavours

A tandoori marinade is the perfect way to add warming curry flavour to your barbecue. The marinade uses yoghurt as a base, so reduce your marinade timings a little, as yoghurt marinades can sometimes cause food to go mushy. This marinade works great with chicken, but tandoori grilled vegetables, like courgette, peppers, aubergine or mushrooms, are delicious grilled on the barbecue.

To create this marinade, mix 350ml of Greek yoghurt with some grated ginger and 4 crushed garlic cloves. Then, add a spice mix of a teaspoon of garam masala, a teaspoon of cumin, and half teaspoons each of chilli powder, turmeric, coriander and paprika. Mix this all together and use immediately for a delicious marinade.

So, armed with these tips and tricks and our top 3 marinades, it’s time to fire up the grill and try your hand at some tasty marinades. There’s no better way to infuse some flavour into the meats and veg you’re cooking on your barbecue. Find the first part of our series on BBQ seasoning here, and look out for the final part coming soon.