Grilling 101: Marinades, Brines and Rubs Article -
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Marinades, Brines and Rubs

Sometimes meat just needs a little extra love before it's ready for the grill.


Marinades are flavor-infusing liquids best suited for tougher cuts of meat. In addition to herbs, condiments, spices, and oils, marinades typically include an acid, like lemon juice, wine, vinegar, even dairy.

Adding sweet ingredients to the marinade can help form appealing caramelized, crispy coatings on grilled meats.

Always marinate in the refrigerator. And remember, if you're basting with a liquid in which raw meat marinated, do not apply it during the last three minutes of grilling.


Brines are salty solutions that help lean meats hold their moisture so they stay juicy and tender during grilling.

Brining is a popular method for preparing poultry, particularly turkey, and lean meats, like pork, that tend to dry out on the grill. Sugar, spices, and herbs are sometimes added to the liquid as well.

Soak meats in a container large enough to submerge the meat completely without allowing it to float in the solution. Store in the refrigerator.

Before grilling, rinse brined meat to remove excess salt and dry it with paper towels.


Rubs are seasoning mixtures rubbed on meats before grilling to add spicy or smoky flavors. The best rubs enhance the flavor of the meat without being overbearing and are often blends of strong and mild spices and herbs. When oil or another wet substance is included, it is called a wet rub. A little moisture helps the rub adhere to the meat.

Rubs are an easy way to infuse your grilled meats with exciting ethnic flavors--from Cajun to Korean.

Setting aside rubbed meats for anywhere from 30 minutes to overnight allows the spices to permeate the meat.

Fired up? Explore our complete barbeque and grilling collections.

Jul. 10, 2009 5:37 am
I suggest that most marinades, especially those that contain solids like garlic or onion, that include any kind of oil will benefit greatly from a "whirl" in the blender first to incorporate the solids and all the other ingredients and create an "emulsion." This step will create a blended marinade that now involves all the flavors going to work on the meat, poultry or fish being marinaded. Make enough marinade to reserve some for heating and use as a basting sauce during or after grilling. mmmmmmmmm..
Jul. 31, 2009 1:50 pm
According to Alton Brown, the great chef, acids in marinades don't tenderize! Commercial tenderizers use enzymes like papain, not acids. If you want to tenderize your food with acids, go get some stomach or battery acid!
Feb. 22, 2010 4:27 pm
can you grill a cornbeef brisket ?
May 30, 2010 10:08 am
to leftoverQueen: yes, you can grill a corned beef brisket. The challenge is in keeping it moist and tender. I'll admit that I am unfamiliar with the taste and texture of brisket, corned or otherwise, but based on the general size and area from which its cut I'd suggest 4-8 hours on your grills lowest flame (hopefully you use propane as I can't suggest an easy way to do it with charcoal), basting and turning every hour. Of course its a trial and error thing based on size and flavours. If anyone out there that is more familiar with this cut would like to axpand on this, I'd welcome the advice myself! poor little canadian me, corned beef is something we usually see pre packaged next to the bologne in the supermarkets. :(
Sep. 21, 2010 8:59 am
Can I brine in advance, rinse, and refrigerate until I'm ready to cook? The pork brine recipe I want to use calls for only 2 hours of marinating in the brine. The reviews say definitely to not exceed that, which makes life difficult for a working mom who only has a half hour to fix dinner when she gets home!
Smokin' Foods 
Dec. 21, 2010 1:46 pm
Very important. Make sure your brine is cold, and your meat is cold. They both need to be at the same tempature to work properly, otherwise you will get uneven, over seasoned, or under seasoned meat.
Jan. 17, 2011 2:49 pm
we are brining deer meat I want to soak it in refrig until we are ready to add a tasty marinade. Is that ok?
Mar. 25, 2011 6:12 pm
HAS ANYONE BRINED BONELESS PORK CHOPS? Was it worth it? Thanks so much!
Jun. 13, 2011 7:50 am
I am afraid to try brining as I am concerned about the sodium content of the meat, and also that the meat will taste too salty. Any suggestions or comments?
Linda McFadden 
Jul. 24, 2011 1:06 pm
I had the best Carne'Guisada I have ever eaten ,that came from a mexican shop in Arizonia.I am not all that familiar with spices.I do know there were pieces of oranges and onions.Was this a brine or a marinade?Does anyone have a good recipe ?And what kind of meat do they use ?
Apr. 17, 2012 10:29 am
Thanks for the information on brines, it's something I haven't yet tried!
Apr. 23, 2012 3:03 pm
Anyone know how to thicken a BBQ sauce? Or make it not as sweet without making it more runny???
Jun. 15, 2012 9:21 am
You can thicken BBQ sauce with a tablespoon of corn starch mixed with 1-2 ounces of warm tap water--Just enough water to take the lumps out of the corn starch. Mix this into the BBQ sauce while the sauce is simmering on the stove and it should thicken up nicely without much change in the flavor.
Oct. 20, 2012 8:18 am
Hello. I see that I'm supposed to boil any chicken that's been marinated. Doesn't that kill the marination? Wouldn't the marinade be boiled off of the chicken? Maybe I don't understand the process correctly.
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