When it comes to grilling food, using the right barbeque sauce can make all the difference! While you can buy a number of different types of barbeque sauces at your local grocery store, you can also easily whip up a new sauce that will give your favorite grilled food a fresh kick. In fact, by switching up your barbeque sauces, you can instantly change a traditional American meal into an exotic treat for you and your guests.
As you prepare and enjoy grilled food, keep in mind that adding barbeque sauces as you grill is only one way of flavoring your foods. If you have more time to prepare the food, consider preparing a marinade or buying a ready-made marinade. Marinating your food before you cook it, especially if those foods are meats and/or fish, will not only add more flavor, but it will also tenderize, or soften, the food, which makes for a more succulent meal!
Cooking Marinades versus Barbeque Sauces
A marinade is a type of sauce or a combination of dry herbs that you can use to flavor and tenderize food before you cook it. In contrast, barbeque sauces are liquids you use on food as you cook it. In most cases, you can use marinades before and during the cooking process. However, barbeque sauces generally don ”t make good marinades, as they aren ”t acidic enough to penetrate, tenderize and flavor uncooked meats and fish.
Marinating and Cooking Times
If you simply need some guidance on marinating times for different foods or are entirely new to marinating, consult the table below for the marinating and cooking times associated with various types of food.
|Type of Food||Marinating Time (for medium-sized foods)||Cooking Time in minutes per side(for grilling medium-sized foods)|
|Chicken breast (boneless, skinless)||2 hours to overnight||7 minutes/side|
|Chicken thighs (bone-in, skinless)||2 hours to overnight||20 minutes/side|
|Lamb chops||2 hours to overnight||5 minutes/side|
|Pork chops (bone-in)||2 hours to overnight||4 minutes/side|
|Salmon||30 minutes||15 to 30 minutes/side|
|Scallops||5 minutes||3 minutes/side|
|Shrimp||30 minutes||2 minutes/side|
|Strip steak (bone-in)||2 hours to overnight||5 minutes/side|
|Tofu (extra-firm)||30 minutes to overnight||2 minutes/side|
As you marinate your chosen food, remember that the precise amount of time you need to leave your food in the marinade will depend on the size and thickness of that food product. The smaller the piece of food, the shorter the associated marinating time. For example, a smaller piece of fish will fully marinate faster than a thicker piece of steak.
How to Marinate Food
Marinating food is one of the easiest steps of the cooking process. Once you have chosen the type of food and the marinade, follow these steps to properly marinate it:
- Place the raw food in a bowl or a glass baking dish. Avoid using metal bowls when marinating, as the acidic marinades can react with the metal, making your food unsavory or unhealthy to eat.
- Season the food on both sides with salt and pepper.
- Pour the marinade over the food. If your food has a layer of fat or thick skin, peel back part of the fat or skin so that the marinade can reach the flesh more easily.
- Rotate the food in the marinade so that both sides are covered in the sauce.
- Cover and refrigerate the bowl or glass pan for half of the marinating time.
- Once the half of the marinating time has passed, flip the food over so that its other side is submerged beneath the marinade.
- Cover and refrigerate for the remainder of the marinating time.
Once the marinating time is up, you can start cooking your flavored and tenderized food. Remember to toss out any remaining marinade and don ”t reuse it, as its contact with raw meats and fish makes it unhealthy to ingest.
Barbeque Sauce Recipes
As with marinades, you can buy or make a number of different types of barbeque sauces at home. From traditional southern recipes to spicy dry rubs to unique beer-flavored barbeque sauces, the choices are seemingly endless. As you start to play around with making new barbeque sauces for your grilled foods, think of the flavors you like or want to try out. Invariably, you can make a sauce based on that flavor!
Some of the most common ingredients used to flavor barbeque sauces include (but aren ”t limited to):
- bourbon and other liquor
- citrus and other fruits
Alternately, you can make barbeque sauces that are specifically geared toward the foods you plan on cooking. A number of recipes for rib, steak, fish and vegetable marinades are specifically compiled to perfectly suit the texture and flavors of each distinct type of food. If you are looking for some exciting new barbeque sauce recipes, look no further. Try out one of these barbeque sauce recipes today!
Eating Well (n.d.). Essential Grill Guide. Retrieved January 17, 2008, from the Eating Well Web site: http://www.eatingwell.com/eat_drink/food_guides/grill.html.