Manning the grill is about more than just playing with fire. Any experienced grill master knows that throwing a barbecue requires a lot of behind the scenes preparation. You'll want to arm yourself with the best marinades, rubs and sauces that will set your meat apart from the rest. With that in mind, we've come up with a guide to help you make succulent, tender meat and fish. All you need is a little know-how and imagination to throw the best barbecue of your life. Are you ready to grill like a boss?
When it comes to seasoning and tenderizing your meat, marinades are your best bet. A good marinade will contain aromatics like garlic, onions and herbs, as well as a source of acid. Oil, vinegar, buttermilk, yogurt and citrus are commonly used in marinades as they provide different levels of acidity. Your choice of marinade will depend on the type of meat you are preparing.
Are you making chicken tikka? Then you'll want to marinate your chicken in yogurt and spices. Preparing shrimp or fish? Go for a light citrus marinade but avoid marinading your seafood for too long, as the acid will 'cook' it. Steak? An olive oil-based marinade with garlic and herbs will hit the spot. Of course, the possibilities are endless. Feel free to experiment with different herbs and spices. Here's a quick recipe for a marinade you can use on virtually anything: extra-virgin olive oil, a touch of red wine vinegar, minced garlic, scallions, minced ginger and pepper.
Unlike marinades, rubs don't require any liquid ingredients. The power of rubs is that you can use any variety of spices and seasonings to create your signature blend. Rubs infuse flavor to the outside of the meat and form a nice crust when the protein is grilled or seared. Here's a handy info graphic from Big Poppa Smokers which helps you decide on what rubs to pair with your protein. For a smoky barbecue rub, mix together equal parts of smoked paprika, black pepper, dry mustard, cumin powder, garlic powder with a touch of salt.
Whether you like them on the side or slathered on your meat, sauces are the coup de grace of any barbecue. You'll want to serve your meat or veggies with a complimentary sauce, one that doesn't overpower the food (especially if it's been smoked). When it comes to meats, the best sauces are viscous, peppery, sharp and balanced with just a touch of sweetness. Since barbecue sauce preferences vary by region or state, we recommend you check out Amazing Ribs. This website is a great resource for scoring barbecue recipes from around the country. We're loving the Eat Carolina Mop-Sauce. Vegetables benefit from lighter sauces, such as one made from melted butter with minced garlic and a touch of lemon. Sometimes a simple drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a dash of coarse sea salt will do. Although who can resist the classic tzatziki or aioli?