Marinating food before cooking is an age-old technique and there’s a reason it hasn’t ever fallen out of fashion. The verb ‘marinate,’ means to soak meat, fish, or vegetables in a seasoned liquid such as vinegar or wine with oil, herbs, and spices. Marinade is the liquid used for soaking before the cooking process.
Both words originate from the 17th century French word marine meaning brine. While the French use mariner to refer to brine, the Italians say marinare. In fact, classic marinara sauce made with tomato, garlic, herbs, and onions, is a derivative of the Italian term.
Whether speaking French, Italian, English, or the universal language of cooking, the common link between the terms and the purpose of the fundamental kitchen technique is pickling in brine. We marinate to tenderize food. Acid in vinegar or wine breaks down the proteins in meat and fish, and fiber in vegetables. Additional sweet and savory ingredients soak beneath the surface and add flavor to the food.
Not all marinated foods are cooked. For instance, cucumber salad with vinegar and onion uses marinade but needs no cooking. Try these marinade recipes on a range of food to apply a time-tested technique to your next meal.
Mix the marinade up and let the vegetables marinate in a shallow dish, 30 minutes to an hour before grilling. For larger quantities, double the ingredients. Use the marinade on onion, zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant, bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, and mushrooms before grilling or serve uncooked as a dish with bowtie pasta.
Lemon and Garlic
This marinade adds a bright citrusy tang to vegetables. Grilling the marinated vegetables will mellow the garlic and bring out sweetness.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon Three Little Pigs Memphis BBQ Rub™
Brown Sugar and Bourbon
An ideal marinade to use for grilled onions, stuffed mushrooms, and large slices of eggplant. This mixture brings out a smoky grilled flavor with a touch of sweetness, sass, and spice.
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons bourbon
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon Loot N’ Booty Everything Rub™
Mix the marinade up and let the meat marinate in a shallow dish for 30 minutes to an hour before grilling.
Five-Ingredient Chicken Marinade
This super simple marinade uses soy sauce to add color and salt as a flavor enhancer, vinegar to tenderize the meat, and a blend of sugar and spice for contrasting flavors on the palate.
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup oil
- ½ cup soy sauce
- ½ cup vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Up Yours Chicken Rub™
Garlic-Lime Pork Marinade
Lime, cumin, and garlic are a natural trinity of flavors that complement each other while enhancing the natural juices of pork. Boar’s Night Out White Lightning Rub™ adds extra zip for your lips.
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 lime, juice of
- 1 teaspoon lime zest
- 1 teaspoon Boar’s Night Out White Lightning Rub™