Tips and Techniques

Marinades & Rubs

Fire up your palate this summer with saucy marinades or spicy rubs. The beauty is they add deep flavor to meat, poultry, fish, tofu or vegetables without adding fat. All it takes is a little forward thinking and some pantry staples like lemon juice, honey, garlic, spices or vinegar.

The Basics

There are two ways to go: you can either marinate your food by soaking it in a seasoned liquid or rub it with a paste of herbs and spices. Not only do the two techniques flavor the food, in some cases they may tenderize it as well. Papaya (see Season's Pick), for example, is a natural way to tenderize meat, but critics say the end result is often mushy.

It takes a little planning. Most foods need to steep in a marinade for at least one hour and up to 24 hours for the flavors to set in. Keep one eye on the clock when you're marinating fish and skinless poultry. If the marinade is acidic, it can begin to cook the flesh (better known as ceviche) or dry it out. Be faithful to the time specified in your recipe.

Rubs are different. Their mission is purely flavor. Typically, you make a paste out of herbs, garlic and spices and rub it all over the food then head straight for the grill or oven.

Many marinades and rubs can be made in advance to cut down on the prep time.

The Gear

If you're making an acid-based marinade use a non-reactive container like glass, ceramic or stainless steel to prevent discoloration or adverse reactions. A plastic bag also works wonders because the food is encased in the liquid. Remember to turn or (if it's in a plastic bag) to shake your food periodically while it's marinating so it's evenly coated.

Sweeteners like sugar and honey cut the acidic flavor and provide a rich, crusty surface. Garlic, herbs, mustard etc. provide flavor, acid tenderizes and oil moisturizes.

Keep your meat, poultry, fish, tofu or vegetables covered and refrigerated while marinating.

At the Grill

    Marinade Mates
Olive oil
Soy sauce
Lemon juice
Lime juice

The oil in marinades can cause flare-ups on the grill or in the broiler, so shake off any excess marinade before you begin cooking.

Always be sure to boil any marinade before using it to baste or as a sauce. This will kill any bacteria that may be lingering from the raw food. Don't put your cooked food back in the container it marinated in.

Cancer Fighter

Marinating may help your health. Scientists believe that it creates a barrier against heat that dramatically lowers the formation of HCAs or heterocyclic amines. HCAs are potentially-cancer-causing chemicals which are created when meat, poultry, and fish are cooked at high temperatures on the grill or in the broiler.


Asian Marinade
Grilled Rosemary Flank Steak
Lemon Parsley- Dill Marinade



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