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Is your mouth already watering just thinking about your first BBQ of the season? Before firing up the grill, make sure to whip up a batch of tasty marinade! Marinades not only infuse your meat with flavour, they also make it tenderer and prevent it from drying out while cooking. Here are a few tips on making the most out of this year’s BBQ season.

Base ingredients

Making a mouth-watering homemade marinade isn’t rocket science! You simply need to follow this simple formula: an acidic ingredient to tenderize the meat (think vinegar, juice, yogurt, or mustard), fresh herbs and spices for added flavour, and a fatty ingredient, such as oil or butter. For example, if Indian chicken skewers are on the menu, you could make a marinade using yogurt, curry, and olive oil. In terms of proportions, the general rule of thumb is to use three parts fatty ingredient for every one part acidic ingredient.

Let it sit

It’s always a good idea to let your meat sit in your marinade for a while, that way it’ll take on all those yummy flavours. How long you let it sit depends on the type of meat you’re dealing with; fish only requires a short marinating time, while red meat takes a little longer. For more delicate flesh, such as vegetables, fish, or tofu, let marinate between 30 and 60 minutes. If you’re making pork, chicken, or veal, give it a good 2 hours at least. And for thicker meats, such as beef or lamb, your best bet is to let it sit between 3 and 24 hours.

Types of marinade

Chicken

For chicken, we suggest making a marinade with vinegar or lemon. Because chicken pairs nicely with sweet-and-salty flavours, add a drizzle of honey or maple syrup to your marinade. Feeling inspired by Indian cuisine? Make a marinade using coconut or pineapple juice, curry, or paprika. Simply succulent!

Fish

To highlight the delicate flesh of fish, a lemon and olive oil marinade is ideal. This classic combo is often seasoned with thyme or dill. For a more festive evening, prepare a Mexican marinade using lime juice, lime zest, cilantro, and orange juice—delicious poured over white fish!

Red meat

Red meat goes hand-in-hand with a red wine marinade seasoned with cracked black pepper, olive oil, honey, or ketchup. You could also highlight your meat’s flavours by seasoning it with rosemary or bay leaves.

Tip

If you’re working with thicker fleshed meat, make a few incisions in it using a fork, that way the marinade will soak right through to the centre.

Vegetables and tofu

Marinade is also a great way to add flavour to your vegetables and tofu. Because tofu tastes pretty neutral, you can really lather it in aromatic sauces and spices. But remember to follow the same formula as your meat and fish marinades and balance out the flavours. For an Asian touch, combine rice vinegar and ginger, then balance out the acidity by whisking in some maple syrup or honey.

Whether you’re grilling up some salmon, chicken skewers, or pork chops, homemade marinade is the way to go. Simple, economical, and oh-so-tasty, marinade is sure to become your BBQ BFF this summer!