Marinades for memorable BBQ’s

This entry is filed under Editorial.

char-grilled-chicken-saladIt’s National BBQ Week. So dust down the barbie and get cooking…

Everyone knows the English summer is unreliable, but in true Brit style we won’t let a bit of rain dampen our spirits and prevent us from enjoying  some alfresco dining. 

That said, the weather for the coming weekend is looking promising – yeah!
So dust down the barbie, slather on the sunscreen and pray the weather holds out. (for my top 12 BBQ tips scroll down the page )

But this year don’t be boring and just slap on a few bangers and burgers. For very little extra effort you can spice things up with a few simple but exotic tasting marinades. They are perfect for zipping up mundane meat and making it taste exciting. Plus you can throw marinades together in seconds and leave them to impart their flavour in the same time it takes you to prepare the barbie and heat the coals. Simples!

Jamaican Jerk Chicken and Oriental Salmon are the hot favourites in our house. It was a toss up which one to include here, so I’m giving both. And if you’re cooking beef or pork, I strongly recommend my spicy paste marinade – I use it all the time for  beef satay but it’s great spread over steaks too and the char su marinade, is perfect with pork.

Marinades are a cinch to make, especially the one for Oriental Salmon. For ease and speed, I use chilli, garlic and ginger from a tube,  just point and squeeze – no mess. It’s wonderful! Gourmet Garden Herbs & Spices are my particular favourites but if you can’t get hold of them, most supermarkets sell their own brand tubes. They won’t be as good, but they’re perfectly acceptable for marinating.

Gourmet Garden Spices & Herbs

Gourmet Garden Spices & Herbs

Oriental Salmon Marinade – enough for 4 fillets
4 skinless/boneless salmon fillets
2 tbsp Gourmet Garden ginger
1 tbsp Gourmet Garden chilli
1 tbsp Gourmet Garden garlic
4 tbsp Kikkoman soy sauce
2 tbsp Yutaka Mirrin
1 tbsp Squid Brand fish sauce

Squeeze the tubes and blend with the soy sauce, fish sauce and mirin. Add the salmon fillets turning them in the marinade to coat both sides and return to the fridge for 20 minutes or longer.

Jamaican Jerk Chicken Marinade – enough for 12 pieces

12 chicken pieces
50ml Yutaka rice vinegar
2 spring onions
2 tbsp Gourmet Garden chilli
1 tbsp Gourmet Garden ginger
1 tbsp Gourmet Garden garlic
1 tbsp heaped ground allspice
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp soft brown sugar
½ tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp salt
1 lime

Roughly chop 2 spring onions and place in the liquidiser with the remaining ingredients (except the chicken) and blend until smooth.

Place the chicken in a large plastic bag, pour on the marinade and shake well, coating thoroughly. Leave to marinade in the fridge for a minimum of 20 minutes.

Don’t mix different raw foods (i.e. fish and chicken) in the same marinade. Always keep them in separate containers.

Have everything prepared in advance. This includes marinading and threading food onto skewers.  If you are making kebabs, make sure you thoroughly soak the skewers first, otherwise they will burn on the grill.


1) Light the barbecue well in advance and use plenty of charcoal. Throw on some bay leaves or rosemary for their aroma.

2) Disposable BBQ’s heat up fast and burn out fast so they’re best if you’re only having a small BBQ and grilling fast cooking food like steaks, chicken breasts or fish fillets

3)If you’re grilling a lot of food on the BBQ use briquettes. They’ll take a good hour before they’re ready to use, but they remain hot for far longer.

4) Wait until the coals are glowing red before starting to grill. The optimum temperature is when a thin layer of ash appears around the charcoal.

5) For safety and speed, you can half cook whole chickens, chicken legs/thighs in the  oven first.

6) Brush prepared food with olive oil to prevent it from sticking. Don’t brush the grill or you’ll end up with a burnt brush.

7) Generally speaking, most meats (especially lean cuts) are best seared over a high heat first, then moved away from the heat to finish cooking.

8) Turn the meat often. If it starts to burn, raise the grill height or reduce the heat of the charcoals by spraying the charcoal with a little water or partially closing the air vents.

9) Flame flare-ups are caused by too much fat dripping onto the coals, so keep a bottle of water close by.

10) Cross-contamination can take place on the grill, so keep raw meat away from meat that’s grilling.

11) Beef: Use only choice cuts of meat. Trim all surrounding fat and season with salt just beforehand so the juices aren’t drawn out. Allow the meat to come up to room temp before BBQing then and rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Burgers: Use top quality beef with a minimum of 20% – needed to keep the burger succulent. Make the burgers approx 125-150g in weight and approx 2.5 cm thick. Create a dent in the middle of each burger to stop them puffing up in the middle. 

Chicken: Keep the skin on where possible as it prevents the meat from drying out. Carefully pull back the skin and season underneath before replacing it. Cover chicken breasts with cling film then flatten to ½ cm with a rolling pin for even cooking.

Seafood & Fish: Frozen fish often works just as well as fresh. Tuna, salmon and monkfish BBQ well because they’re dense and are unlikely to fall apart. Sea bass is best cooked whole. King prawns, crayfish and lobster also grill well. Fish and shellfish are done when the flesh turns opaque.

12) If you’re not comfortable with touch/feel cooking, use a thermometer. Buy one that gives a reading in degrees besides reading rare, medium and well done. Beef is cooked and free from bacteria once the interior reaches 145º and chicken is free from salmonella when it reaches 165º

13 Responses to “Marinades for memorable BBQ’s”

  1. I was looking for recipe related articles and this is superb!

  2. Sharon says:

    Totally dig your website thanks a lot for the info!!!

  3. Linda says:

    Hi Uma,

    I just found your website via google. I am the owner of several good quality health related websites and I was just wondering if you might consider exchanging links with me? If so, let me know and I’ll send over the URLs of my sites so you can take a look. Thanks!

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  4. Frank Lapard says:

    Interesting article. Were did you got all the information from… 🙂 ???

  5. We just couldnt leave your site before saying that we truly enjoyed the high quality information you offer to your readers… Would be back often to check up on new stuff you post!

  6. Shirley says:

    Hi Uma
    I’ve got your recipe book (which I love and use all the time) so regularly make oriental salmon and jerk chicken as we all love them including the kids which is unusual as they’re normally so fussy. I’ve just made both pork and beef marinades ready for our barbie tonight – they smell amazing! We’re also having jerk chicken, plus teh usual bangers/burgers as we’ve got a bunch of friends coming over. I just hope the weather holds out, it’s starting to cloud over here.
    Sorry you’ve been having trouble with your neck again, I hope it isn’t anything serious.
    Get better soon!

  7. Linda says:

    Get better soon Uma.

    I’m loving your top tips book – so many to choose from, I thought it was just 27 tips not 227!!!
    I can see it’ll come in very handy.
    Thanks very much.

  8. Julia says:

    Perfect timing Uma!

    I made your char su marinade yesterday morning as I had some pork and all the ingredients needed, so lit the BBQ and had a very pleasant supper.
    PS: Can I have yout tips book please!

  9. Kamil Soder says:

    Very interesting article, thanks very much!

  10. Joe says:

    Nice post, I’ll share this with my friends as well, thanks!

  11. Sad I took this long to find your blog, but I’ve bookmarked you and shall visit again soon. Just keep writing as you do and people like me will follow you.

  12. admin says:

    Thanks Nicola! Let me know how you get on with the recipes. It’s always good to get feedback.
    Happy Cooking! Uma

  13. Nicola Fine says:

    I have been receiving your mails for a while, but never recognised the name – I have only looked at them properly now and WOW, you are an inspiration! Please keep them coming.

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