How to get the best results when preparing barbecue sauces and marinades

Basic barbecue sauces and marinades are divided into two main types: Moist or wet sauces and marinades, and dry rubs. Both use different methods and ingredients to achieve a similar result.

The basic moist marinades use an acid ingredient to break down the meat fibers and make the meat soft and succulent. These acid ingredients can include, but are not limited to, red or white wine, unsweetened citrus or citrus juice, vinegar, beer, mustard, yogurt and so on. Oil and spices, and sometimes aromatic fruits and vegetables, can also be added on occasion.

Some moist marinades are cooked beforehand, and are usually used to tenderize and mellow meats with a more distinct taste, and to flavor and preserve various foods.

The primary use of dry marinades or barbecue rubs is to flavor the meat, not necessarily tenderizing it.

The basic barbecue rub is a mixture of herbs, spices, aromatic mixtures mixed with oil. Other ingredients, such as maple syrup, honey, alcohol, Tabasco sauce, Worcestershire sauce, soy or Hoisan sauce will add sweet, spicy and salty flavor to the meat.

Barbecue Sauces and Marinades

Of course, everyone is familiar with the thick, often sweet, ketchup based barbecue sauces that line the grocery shelves on supermarkets. Those are fine - but barbecue sauce is much more than mass-produced off-the-shelf type products.

Barbecue sauces come in many different flavors and styles, sweet and hot, thin or thick, and are traditionally divided into three main categories according to their main ingredients: Tomato, mustard or vinegar barbecue sauces.

These sauces are used throughout the grilling process, apart from tomato- based sauces. While these are probably the most common type of barbecue sauce, tomato-based sauces are generally applied at the end of the cooking cycle because of their tendency to burn.

Try these marinades

Tomato based sauces:

The sauce should be thoroughly cooked to ensure that all the ingredients break down and blend nicely. As a matter of fact, it is best to prepare the sauce beforehand. The flavors of all the great ingredients will blend together nicely, resulting in a tremendously delicious sauce.

Vinegar-based sauce:

Vinegar-based sauces can be used throughout the cooking process. As a matter of fact, because the vinegar is acidic, it is able to penetrate the meat and deliver a great flavor deep into the meat.

Mustard-based sauce:

These delicious sauces are great for barbecuing pork chops and other wonderful cuts.

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Meat Marinades

Basic principles of marinating meat


Glass, porcelain or stainless steel containers or thick, quality plastic bags are best for marinating

Avoid aluminum, which will oxidize on contact with acid ingredients in the marinade and transfer a metallic taste to the food.

My preferred method is to place the meat in the bag, pour in the marinade, remove the air and set the bag in a bowl.


You should refrigerate the meat in an airtight container or plastic bag to avoid an increase of bacteria and to prevent transfer of the barbecue marinade aroma to other foods

Never reuse marinade that has been in contact with the meat. If you intend to use it to baste the meat while grilling or as a sauce, make an extra, fresh amount.

For thicker cuts of meat, prick the meat with a fork to allow the barbecue marinade to penetrate.

Marinating times:

Minimum marinating time should not be less than 1 hour.

The longer the meat marinates, the more tender and flavorful it will become. Best results are usually obtained when the the meat is left to marinate for 4 hours or longer, up to a maximum period of 24 hours.

Marinating time should not exceed 24 hours - after this time, the marinade will actually start to cook the meat.

Click here to choose a great barbecue marinade

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