NDSU Extension - Mercer County


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It's Grilling Season!

grilling, rubs, marinades, sauces

Submitted by Dena Kemmet, Extension Agent/Family and Community Wellness

Having a couple warmer days gets me thinking about grilling. Rubs, marinades, and sauces are options for enhancing the savory flavor of foods prepared on an outdoor grill.

A rub is a mixture of dry seasonings or seasonings combined with oil to make a paste.  The dry seasonings or paste is rubbed onto the surface of meat before cooking.  Rubs add flavor and also help seal in juices and form a delicious crust.  However, don’t expect them to tenderize the meat. 

Rubs can be applied just before cooking, or if a more pronounced flavor is desired it can be rubbed onto the meat and then the meat can be refrigerated for several hours.

A marinade is a mixture of dry seasonings and liquid ingredients that add flavor. The marinade will also tenderize the meat if it includes an acidic liquid ingredient such as lemon or lime juice, vinegar or wine, or an ingredient such as fresh ginger, pineapple, papaya, kiwi or figs that contain a natural tenderizing enzyme.

Marinating meat not only adds flavor and potentially improves tenderness, but it may improve the health aspects. According to research conducted at Kansas State University, marinating meat cuts down the possibility of the meat forming heterocyclic amines. Some research has linked heterocyclic amines to various types of cancer.

For marinades, the ND Beef Council suggests these tips:

  • Allow ¼ to ½ cup of marinade for every 1-2 pounds of meat and place it in a food-safe plastic bag, non-reactive glass or stainless steel container.
  • If the marinade is meant to tenderize, marinate for at least 6 hours and up to 24 hours – always in the refrigerator, turning the meat occasionally to allow even exposure to the marinade.
  • Tender cuts of meat that do not need to be tenderized can be marinated for 15 minutes to 2 hours – always in the refrigerator, turning the meat occasionally to allow for even exposure to the marinade.
  • NEVER save or reuse the marinade.  If you wish to use it for basting or as a sauce when the meat is served, reserve the amount needed BEFORE placing the meat it the marinade.
  • To prevent steaming and promote browning, remove the meat from the marinade and pat dry with a paper towel before cooking.

Sauces are liquids or semi-solid foods that are serve on food or used in preparing other foods.  They add flavor, moisture and visual appeal to the foods that are being served, and are not normally consumed by themselves.

Grilling safety also includes safe food handling. For example, remember to bring a clean container to retrieve your cooked food instead of reusing the container with meat juices.

When cooking meat on a grill, slow down a little. Use a low flame and keep charring to a minimum. Add some veggies and fruits to the grill, too.

For a fantastic collection of more than 20 recipes for rubs, marinades and seasonings from NDSU Extension, visit https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/ansc/extension-1/bbqbootcamp/rubs-marinates-and-seasonings

Source: Savor the Flavor, ND Beef Commission.

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