7 mighty grilling marinades

Seven easy ways to kick your summer grilling into gear

Marinated steak

Photo by Iain Bagwell; styling by Randy Mon

Mouth-watering marinades

The key to successful grilling is starting with a tasty cut of meat. Give your proteins an added advantage with a soak in one of these delicious flavor-infusing marinades.

Plus, find the key components for making your own recipe.

Pictured: Flank steak with anchovy and herb marinade

beef marinades

Photo by Iain Bagwell; styling by Randy Mon

Perfect for beef

The best marinades for beef, from left:

Anchovy and herb: Capers, lemon zest, and parsley add brightness and acidity; the anchovy provides savory depth. Get the recipe

Orange and pale ale: Beer and onion juice both have a tenderizing effect on meat, making this marinade a good choice for tougher cuts. Get the recipe

Marinated chicken

Photo by Iain Bagwell; styling by Randy Mon

Marinade basics

Use these three components of a marinade to create your own recipe.

Acid: Wine, vinegar, citrus juice, beer, and yogurt weaken the proteins in meat and seafood, rendering them more tender and moist. Acidic ingredients also tend to make fish taste delicate and less fishy.

Fat: Usually oil but also coconut milk. It adds moisture and helps keep marinated food from sticking to the grill.

Aromatics: Garlic, citrus zest, lemongrass, minced chiles, and herbs penetrate the surface of the meat, giving it flavor. Experiment with whatever appeals to you, from pesto to pepper jelly.

Pictured: Chicken with honey lime marinade

Tasty chicken marinades

Photo by Iain Bagwell; styling by Randy Mon

Perfect chicken marinades

Clockwise, from top:

Honey lime: Lime juice softens the meat’s proteins, making them more tender, while honey helps to brown the skin. Get the recipe

Jerk: Brown sugar tempers the heat of the chiles and helps the skin crisp up on the grill. Get the recipe

Pomegranate molasses and mint: Lemon juice tenderizes the meat, and the molasses’s sugar burnishes the skin. Get the recipe


Marinated shrimp

Photo by Iain Bagwell; styling by Randy Mon

How long to marinate?

Tender proteins like fish need only a few minutes, unless the marinade is gentle; then overnight is okay. Firmer meats like flank steak should marinate at least an hour, even in a powerful marinade.

Pictured: Shrimp skewers with coconut and lemongrass marinade

Best seafood marinades

Photo by Iain Bagwell; styling by Randy Mon

Perfect seafood marinades

From left:

Green chile and ginger: Both ginger and lemon juice tenderize protein, so this is fast acting, especially on seafood. Get the recipe

Coconut and lemongrass: It’s bold and rich, like a Malaysian rendang (coconut meat stew), but works faster and has less fat. Get the recipe

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