Meat Rubs and Marinades

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A good marinade or rub can turn a tougher cut of meat into something that is juicy, tender and bursting with flavour. Rubs are a collection of herbs, spices and seasonings that are generously rubbed onto the outside of meat, whilst a marinade is a seasoned liquid that can add flavour and excitement to even the most boring cut of meat. Meats that have a rub on them can be used immediately, but can also be left for a few hours to allow the rub to fully penetrate the cut. With marinades, the longer you leave the meat soaking in the liquid, up to 24 hours, the better, and allowing it to marinate in the fridge overnight will always give you the most intense flavours.

Marinated Chicken


Rather than giving your local Indian a call this weekend, why not try making your own Indian tandoori chicken at home? A tandoori spice mix can be bought at most supermarkets, saving you from having to buy many spices that you may not end up using much. For 1kg of chicken thighs or drumsticks, mix 9g of the tandoori masala spice mix with 80g of natural yoghurt and 8.5g of vegetable oil. Using a sharp knife, cut diagonal stripes into the chicken, rubbing the marinade deep into them. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours in the fridge, before placing the chicken into a roasting tin and roasting for about an hour at 200 degrees C.

A tasty way to jazz up a healthy skinless, boneless chicken breast is to use an exciting rub. For a Moroccan grilled chicken breast, mix together 1 tsp sweet paprika, ½ tsp each of black pepper and ground cumin, and ¼ tsp each of ground ginger and sea salt. Halve the chicken breasts before rubbing with the mix, and then grilling until the juices run clear.

Sticky chicken drumsticks that have you licking your fingers are always a welcome treat. For a sticky soy marinade, mix together 2 tbl soy sauce with 1 tbl honey,1 tbl olive oil and 1 tbl Dijon mustard. Add one tsp of tomato puree, before using a sharp knife to make a couple of slashes on each of the 8 chicken drumsticks. Coat the chicken fully with the marinade until it is time to cook. Then, tip the chicken into a roasting tray and put into a 200 degrees C pre-heated oven, cooking for just over half an hour. Turn the chicken regularly, and when you see that it is moist and glistening, it is likely to be ready.

spice rubbed raw  beef fillet


One beef rub that has seen particular success is celebrity chef Bobby Flay’s steak rub, which he uses in many of his restaurants. To make this famous rub, whisk together the following; 1 cup chilli powder, 1/3 cup paprika, 3 tbl each of ground coriander, ground oregano and dry mustard, 1 tbl each of ground cumin, sea salt and ground pepper. This will make a large quantity of rub, which can be stored in a container for up to six months in a cool, dry place. Try this rub on a boneless rib-eye, grilling them over a high heat for about 4 minutes, until slightly charred, before turning them over and grilling for another 3 to 5 minutes, depending on how rare you like your meat. If you are not confident about your meat temperatures, it would be best to purchase a meat thermometer.

Beef in oyster sauce is a favourite at Chinese restaurants around the world, and, with the right marinade, you can easily make this dish at home. Combine the following ingredients; 3 tbl oyster sauce, 3 tsp rice wine, 3 tsp light soy sauce, finely grated 1 inch cube of ginger and garlic, 2 chopped red chillis, a pinch of five spice powder. Cut 300g of beef fillet into strips, before coating with the marinade. The beef can be stir fried in a wok along with a whole variety of vegetables, although sliced peppers and chinese cabbage never disappoints.

For burgers with a twist, try using a coffee rub, which always goes well with a tangy BBQ sauce. For the rub, mix together the following; 1 tbl freshly ground coffee, 2 tsp golden sugar, 2 tsp black pepper, ½ tsp each of ground coriander, sea salt and dried oregano. Use 1 tsp of the rub on the top side of the burger before placing it onto the grill, before cooking for about 4 minutes until the burger is slightly charred. Turn it over and cook for about 4 more minutes, adding bacon and cheese if you truly want to indulge.

marinated juicy pork ribs on grill


For easy Thai-style pork chops, mix together a marinade made up of 6 tsp of soy sauce or terriyaki sauce with 2 tsp each of caster sugar and fish sauce. Add the juice of 2 limes, a chopped red chilli, and some chopped garlic and ginger, adjusting quantities to your own personal taste. If you like your food spicy, add more chilli, and if you like it sweeter, add more sugar. Grilling the chops is a healthy alternative to frying, and can be done on a grill pan or over an open flame. Cook the first side for about 4 minutes, until the chops release themselves from the grill, and then turn over and cook for another 3 minutes.

A delicately seasoned pork tenderloin can be served with an endless array of dishes, but a good rub is essential. In one bowl, use a fork to mix together 1 tsp each of garlic powder, dried oregano, ground cumin, ground coriander and dried thyme. In another bowl, mix together 1 tbl olive oil with 1 tsp minced garlic. Sprinkle the dry mix onto the pork, and then use the wet mix to gently press this into all sides of the meat. Sear over a high heat for about 10 minutes on each side, before transferring the meat to a roasting pan and cooking for a further 20 minutes.

For racks of ribs that are practically falling off the bone, try using this delicious rub. Mix together 1 tsp each of garlic powder, red pepper flakes, black pepper and mustard powder. Add ½ tsp paprika, 2 tsp of salt and 3 tsp of brown sugar. Cut the ribs into sections of about 3 or 4 bones each, before rubbing the mixture into the meat. Seal each section of meat in tin foil, adding a tablespoon of water into each package. Bake in the centre of an oven for 2 hours, being careful when opening each package up as the steam can be extremely hot!

Roast rack of lamb on tinfoil


A leg of lamb is the perfect cut of meat for a special occasion, and when a marinade seeps into the meat overnight, the lamb never fails to be succulent and juicy. For a simple but delicious leg of lamb marinade, mix together 4 tbl honey with 2 tbl each of Dijon mustard and chopped fresh rosemary. Add 3 cloves of minced garlic, 1 tsp lemon zest and some salt and pepper, before mixing well and applying to the lamb. When it comes time to roast it the next day, preheat your oven to 230 degrees C, and place the lamb onto a rack on a roasting tin. Bake for 20 minutes before reducing the heat and roasting for a further hour.

Lamb kebabs are delicious when thrown onto a barbecue, and this marinade can work its magic in just 30 minutes, making it ideal for a last-minute meal. Using a pestle and mortar, bash together the following spices; 1 tbl smoked paprika, 2 cloves, ½ tsp cumin seeds, 2 tsp coriander seeds, sea salt, black pepper. Mix this with some olive oil, until you have a thick marinade paste. With your lamb cut into 2.5cm cubes, cover the meat with the marinade. Once the barbecue is ready for them, place the meat onto skewers, alternating the pieces with onion and pepper slices. Grill for about 5 minutes, until you have a crispy char on the outside and juicy flesh on the inside.

If you are planning on grilling some lamb chops, try out this quick yet tasty marinade. Using a food processor, combine 2 crushed cloves of garlic, 1 tbl fresh rosemary leaves, 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves and a pinch of cayenne pepper and salt. Pour in 2 tbl olive oil and mix until a paste is formed. Rub this over both sides of the lamb chops and let them marinate in a fridge for at least an hour. Ensure that the chops are room temperature before cooking, and add them onto a grill pan that has been heated to an almost-smoking heat. Sear for about 2 minutes, before turning them over and cooking for another 3 minutes for tender, medium-rare lamb chops.

When using a rub or marinade, always give the meat as much time as possible to soak up the other ingredients. Scoring the surface of the meat will help them to seep further in, intensifying the flavour of the meat and giving you an even tastier meal.

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