Classic Marinade Recipes

Written by admin on August 4, 2009

………. and Ideas For Ultra-Flavorful Eating
By Billy Bristol

What is a marinade and what does it do? Generally, a marinade is a mixture of ingredients (usually liquid) used to add flavor, moisten, and tenderize foods, especially meats. Liquid marinades are usually acidic based, which allows them to break down the food enough to soak into it.

How long should meat be left in the marinade? The times will vary depending on the strength of the marinade, but most importantly, the food you are marinating determines marinading times the most.

If your marinade contains ingredients like hot chiles and spices, soy sauce, or liquor, it is very easy to overdo it. You want the food to still taste like whatever food it is. Chicken should taste like chicken, and fish should taste like fish. Also, if an acidic marinade is left on the meat too long, it can become mushy or dry on the surface.

Here are some guidelines to help you from over-marinating your food. Remember, marinating time also depends on the type of marinade used, so be sure and use common sense with these guidelines.

15-30 minutes-Small foods, like fish fillets, shellfish, cubed meat, and tender vegetables.

1 to 3 hours-Thin cuts of boneless meat, like chicken breasts, pork tenderloin, steaks, chops, and sturdier vegetables.

2 to 6 hours-Thicker cuts of boneless and boneless meat, such as whole chickens, leg of lamb, and beef roasts.

6 to 12 hours-Big or tougher cuts of meat, including whole hams, racks of ribs, pork shoulders and butts, and turkeys.

Let’s take a look at some classic marinade recipes. Just mix all ingredients together, place the food in a large plastic zipper bag, pour in the marinade, seal the bag, and shake well. Place in the refrigerator until cooking time. These can always be doubled if you are cooking larger amounts of food.

Lemon-Sage Marinade

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon finely ground lemon zest

3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage

2 tablespoons whole grain mustard

2 tablespoons minced shallot

1 tablespoon cracked black peppercorns

1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic

Makes about 1 cup of marinade mix.

Teriyaki Marinade

1 cup pineapple juice

1/2 cup finely chopped onions

1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger

1 tablespoon dark sesame oil

Makes about 2 cups of marinade.

Mojo Marinade

1/4 cup fresh orange juice

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon finely chopped jalapeno peppers, including seeds

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt

Makes 3/4 cups of marinade.

Greek Marinade

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

1/4 teaspoon crushed red chile flakes

Makes about 1/2 cup of marinade.

You can always experiment with these marinade recipes. Add flavors here and there to create your own flavors.

Billy Bristol is the editor and chief bbq pitmaster for, an outdoor cooking and entertaining website devoted to backyard living. has been providing barbecue recipes, cooking tips, grilling techniques, and backyard entertainment ideas since 2005.

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