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Mastering the art of marination: Tips for flavorful BBQ marinades

Essential BBQ Techniques - Part 1

In this blog series, Saus.Guru offers you a quick course on everything BBQ-related. Whether you’re an experienced BBQ master needing a refresher or lighting up a BBQ for the first time in your life, Saus.Guru is here to take your BBQ skills to the next level.

The perfect ingredients

As BBQ connoisseurs, we understand the crucial role marination plays in achieving the perfect flavor and tenderness for your BBQ dishes. That is why we make sauces with only the best ingredients:

  1. Vinegars: Vinegar can add a sour note and helps to tenderize meat. Balsamic vinegar provides a sweet and complex flavor, ideal for Italian-inspired marinades. Apple cider vinegar adds a lightly fruity acidity, which pairs well with chicken and pork. Rice vinegar has a milder, slightly sweet flavor and is often used in Asian marinades. White wine vinegar has a sharp, light flavor that works well with chicken and fish.
  2. Soy Sauce: Provides umami and saltiness. It can also give a darker color to the marinade and helps to enhance the flavor of the meat.
  3. Fruit Juices: These offer a sweet flavor and contain natural enzymes that help tenderize meat. Pineapple juice is particularly effective due to bromelain, an enzyme that tenderizes meat. Other popular fruit juices for marinades include apple juice, orange juice, and lime juice. Apple juice has a subtle sweetness, orange juice a fresh citrus flavor, and lime juice adds a sharp acidity.
  4. Salt/Flavor Enhancers: Salt enhances the overall flavor and helps retain moisture. Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is an example of a flavor enhancer that boosts the umami flavor.
  5. Cola/Cherry Cola: These can add a sweet and slightly tangy flavor. Cola contains phosphoric acid, which helps tenderize meat. Cherry cola provides a light cherry flavor to the marinade.
  6. Smoking: Smoking adds a deep smoky aroma to the meat and can enhance the flavor of the marinade. This can be achieved by adding liquid smoke or by smoking the meat after marinating it.
  7. Mustard: Mustard can provide a range of flavors, from spicy to mild, depending on the type of mustard used. It contains vinegar and can help tenderize meat. Mustard powder is often added for a subtle flavor, while Dijon mustard adds a more refined, spicy note. Additionally, mustard can help bind the other flavors in the marinade.

We use Soy Sauce in sauces such as our Tokio High and Royal Umami. Fruit (juices) in our Mexican Habanero Fever, Passion Liquorice and Raspberry Chipotle. Salt and flavor enhancers in all our sauces obviously. Cola in our Classic Cola BBQ sauce, smoke flavor in our MYST Smoke Flavor and mustard in our Honey Mustard BBQ sauce.


Time and method are key

The duration and method of marination are crucial for achieving the best results. Depending on the technique, you can choose a method that works best for the type of meat and the desired flavor profile.

One method is injecting. This involves using a marinade injector to push the marinade deep into the meat, ensuring a more thorough infusion. It’s ideal for large cuts like turkey or brisket, where surface marination might not be enough.

Another popular method is brining in salt water. This involves soaking the meat in a solution of salt and water (often with added sugar and spices) for several hours or overnight. Brining helps the meat retain moisture and can add a subtle flavor to the meat. It’s particularly effective for poultry and pork.

Coating is another common approach. This involves generously coating the meat with a thick marinade, like a paste or sauce, to create a flavorful crust. This method works well for grilling or roasting.

In addition, vacuum sealing can be used to marinate. This method involves placing the meat and marinade in a vacuum-sealed bag, allowing the flavors to penetrate deeply while reducing the marination time. It’s an efficient method and can be used for various types of meat.

Lastly, basting while cooking is an effective technique. It involves brushing the marinade or a similar sauce onto the meat during the cooking process to add layers of flavor and maintain moisture. This is a classic method for grilling and roasting.

With the right method and timing, you can create delicious BBQ dishes that will impress your guests.

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