Marinades & Rubs Are Necessary to Flavorfull Cooking

     MARINADES & AND SPICE RUBS: Before you do anything else, you need to know how to season your food with more than just salt and pepper.
     Most of the recipes on these pages are enough to make approximately 2 cups, or enough to cover 2 lbs meat.
With this short repertoire of homemade rubs and spices, you will always be able to grill on short notice, and you will never need a store-bought one again. As you use them, you will be able to adjust the sweetness or spicy-ness to your own taste. Have fun playing around with these, as well as the ones already included in the recipe pages.
     It is as important to properly flavor your meats and fish as it is to be sure they are fresh.  Whether you are cooking them inside or outside, the seasoning makes the difference. As a result, you will see some of these recipes again, along with some different suggestions in the Grilling Section, associated with meat and grilling fish.
     Happy Cooking!



Balsalmic Marinade: This sweet-tart balsamic vinegar spiked with garlic and Italian seasoning makes a fast and flavorful marinade for just about anything you’re inspired to grill for dinner. You will need 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil; 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar; 2 cloves garlic, minced; 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning; 1 teaspoon salt; 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper. Whisk oil, vinegar, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper in a bowl until well combined.  Another variation appears below:


Balsamic and Herb marinade:
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
11/2 tbs roasted or minced garlic
1 tbs chopped rosemary
1 tbs chopped sage or oregano
1/2 c olive oil.
Whisk all ingredients, and combine with meat in a ziplock bag, refrigerate:
Fish & shellfish - 20-30 minutes
Chicken, beef, pork or lamb - 1 hour up to overnight.

Bourbon and Brown Sugar marinade:  Ok, I admit it, this is my favorite, and if anyone of you out there know me, you know why. Its best on steak (any kind) but I also use it on pork and lamb. Now don't worry, the alcohol will unfortunately cook out while you cook your meat!
1/2 c soy sauce
1/3 c bourbon (or other whiskey)
1/3 c firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 tbs Dijon mustard
1 tsp hot sauce (your favorite)
Whisk all ingredients together until the sugar dissolves. It's a strong marinade and will give you a beautiful crust, so use a stand-up meat. I would hesitate to use it on delicate fish. 

Ginger-Citrus Marinade:
2 scallions thinly sliced
1/4 c orange juice
1 small lemon thinly sliced
2 tbs honey
2 tbs ground ginger, or 1 2" piece fresh, thinly sliced
1 tsp lime zest
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 c canola or vegetable oil.
Wish all ingredients in small bowl. Combine with your meat in ziplock bag 30-40 minutes for fish, anywhere from 1-12 hrs for meat.

Korean Beef Marinade: This is a wonderful marinade when you want to have something different.  It tastes good with beef sliced thin, on skewers, on the grill, or even on a grill pan inside.  You can turn the leftover marinade into a tasty Satay Sauce.:  Marinade: 1 onion, finely minced; 1 tbsp garlic, finely minced (or granulated garlic); 1 tbsp ground ginger; 3/4 c. soy sauce; 1/4 c. sugar, 1/4 c. sesame oil (or extra virgin olive oil); 1 tbsp chili oil (or paste or ground chili).  Wisk all ingredients together, and if not completely smoothe, use a blender or other food processer to obtain the desired consistency.  You should have abour 2 cups of marinade.  Korean Satay Sauce:  When you are done with the marinade, take out the meat, put the marinade into a small pot and bring to a boil to sterilize any raw meat juices left in it.  Then add approximately 4 tablespoons of peanut butter and  up to 4 tablespoons of water to obtain the desired consistency.  Enjoy.

Deviled Marinade: (Not for use on a delicate fish): This spicy marinade might overwhelm delicate fish but is appropriate for just about everything else, including grilled turkey.
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon red or green Tabasco sauce
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Buttermilk Marinade:  Instead of dill, try finely chopped chives. Or substitute limes for the lemons. Use with chicken, fish, or other seafood.
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons chopped garlic (3 cloves)

Thai Marinade:  This vibrant marinade goes well with shrimp, scallops, and firm-fleshed fish, such as red snapper.
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1/4 cup coarsely grated shallot (1 shallot)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon chili paste

Indian Marinade:  The yogurt helps keep chicken especially moist; add chopped fresh cilantro and ginger for deeper flavor.
1/2 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

**credit to Martha Stewart, Everyday Cooking, for Deviled through Indian Marinades.  Each one is full of flavor, easy on the spice, and pleasing to the palate.  Thanks Martha!

Spice Rubs

    You Should keep in mind, when using any spice rub, that it is very important to oil your meat, chicken or fish, because there is no oil in the Rub.  Not only will this help your spices to stick to the meat, but it will also help your meat from sticking to the grill.  Once the spices are nicely rubbed in and your are ready to cook, be sure to oil the grill too!

Basic Spice Rub

Start off by knowing a basic spice rub. Mix equal amounts of cumin, thyme, sage, oregano, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and double the amount of paprika for a basic spice rub. The flavors all complement each other without any one being distinctive. Once you have a simple rub that you can return to any time, you can begin experimenting with various spices to create your perfect pork roast. Vegetables such as caramelized onions or mushrooms are delicious with a basic spice rub as neither flavor overpowers the other (but don't put them on until your almost done cooking, or serve them alongside your meats.

Sweet Spice Rub**

Use this sweeter spice rub recipe on pork, beef, chicken, veal or lamb, especially if it will be paired with fruits. Apples and grapes, for example, pair very nicely with pork and chicken, and are complemented by a spice rub that has a sweet taste as opposed to overly spicy. Root vegetables such as potatoes and carrots also taste excellent with a sweet spice rub. Use brown sugar and white sugar as your base (about 1/3 cup each) for a sweet spice rub. You'll want a tablespoon of salt, pepper, onion salt, dry mustard and garlic powder, while using about one teaspoon each of ground ginger, cumin, paprika and thyme.

Hot Spice Rub**

A hot spice rub is a spicier rub. The seasonings pack a substantial amount of heat into a pork roast. Add peppers and roasted corn to a pork roast with a hot spice rub to enhance the flavor. Mix paprika, onion salt, oregano, garlic powder, thyme, chili powder and white pepper to create a hot spice rub. You should use about 1/8 cup of paprika and teaspoons of the other spices. The herbs get about two teaspoons and use the peppers more sparingly as a little goes a long way. This rub also pairs nicely with lamb or steak.

Cajun Spice Rub**

For a variation on a hot spice rub, try a Cajun spice blend with cayenne pepper, black and white pepper, mustard, oregano, salt, and thyme. The key with this Cajun recipe is to melt a couple tablespoons of butter and mix with the spices before rubbing into the meat. (I would use olive oil to prevent burning, and it would still creates a crisp skin over the meats.  I like to use this one on baby back and St Louis ribs, and even on boneless, skinless chicken thighs (a favorite for the grill).

Sweet & Spicy Spice Rub**

Combine the best of both worlds by mixing brown sugar, salt, garlic powder, black pepper, ground cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and a dash of cayenne pepper together and rubbing it into the pork roast. The sugar base keeps it sweet, the cayenne adds heat and the cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg add a savory/sweet taste. Save yourself having to pack tons of spice bottles by mixing together a double or triple amount of this rub ahead of time and store it in an airtight container or ziploc bag for future use. Mix together 2 teaspoons espresso powder, 1 teaspoon garlic salt, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 teaspoon chili powder, and 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Store in an airtight container or bag and pack with your other non-chilled items. savory flavor.

Memphis Spice Rub
2 1/2 tbs hot chili powder
2 tbs ground cumin
1 tbs ground coriander
1 tbs salt
1/2 tbs paprika
1/2 tbs dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne
Mix all ingredients in a small bowl and cover tightly until ready to use. Perfect on pork, lamb, or just about any chop.

Steak Spice Rubs: (adapted from Cooking Light) 

Rub # 1: Save yourself having to look through tons of spice bottles at the last minute by throwing together this rub ahead of time. Mix together 2 teaspoons espresso powder, 1 teaspoon garlic salt, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 teaspoon chili powder, and 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Store in an airtight container until ready to use. 

Rub # 2 1 teaspoon garlic salt, 1 teaspoon ground cumin,1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.  (This works especially well on flat-iron steaks)   

Asian Spice Rub:
1 tbs dark brown sugar
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground turmeric.
Perfect for chicken and fish like tuna or swordfish. Be sure to oil your meats first to keep the rub on the meat and to prevent the meat from sticking to your pan or grill.

*thank you to Cooking Light for the Steak Rubs and **credit graciously given to e-how for basic Rub information.


     I came across this recipe in the latest Food Network magazine and I thought it was the perfect way to save all the fresh basil we have in the summertime. 

All you need is 1/2 c. Kosher Salt and 1/2 c. packed Fresh Basil

     Place both ingredients in a food processer until ground, then spread on a baking sheet, and bake at 225 degrees until dry, approximately 30 - 40 minutes, tossing halfway through.  Let cool, then pulse again.  Done!

     Pack away in a sealed container.  You can serve with fresh tomatoes and mozzarella, salads, potato salads, just about anything that calls for basil & salt.

The Wild Green Sauce

Excellent on Pork, Chicken and Steak. You can spice it up or down, to taste.

Makes about 3/4 cup

Prep time
5 - 10 minutes
mini food processor, food processor, or blender. In the countryside of Peru,
it is made in a mortar and pestle, so you can just use a sharp knive and chop well. 

large bunches of finely cut and chopped dandelion leaves,
chives, sorrel, lambs quarter, shallot and nasturtium leaves (or as much of
that as you can find here)
1 handful fresh cilantro, leaves and stems (approx. 1 -1 1/2 cups packed)
6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice (approximately 2 medium limes)
1 large or 2 small cloves of garli
1/2 c. cottage cheese,
1 c. plain yogurt,
2 tbsp white vinegar
1 hot pepper (or more to taste) , seeds and stem removed. Jalapeños work
fine. (if you like the spice.
black pepper to taste (I use 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper)
salt to taste (I prefer Kosher salt and use 1/2 teaspoon)

1. Wash and coarsely chop the greens, leaves & stems.
2. Pulse all ingredients in a food processor or blender a few seconds until
smooth if you have one, otherwise just finely chop well. Do not
3. Taste the sauce and add hot peppers, black pepper or salt as needed.
The sauce tastes best when fresh, but can be stored for up to a week
refrigerated in a covered container. If freezing the sauce, do not heat to