Delicious BBQ Marinade

By David J. Stewart

       This is my favorite barbeque marinade, which is a favorite in the Pacific islands, especially in the Chamorro and Micronesian culture. This marinade is great for pork, country ribs, chicken or beef shortribs. Let the meat marinade for about 1-3-hours. Note: Chicken takes longer to marinade because of the skin. So the chicken needs about 3-hours to marinade for a good flavor, but you can use less time for the beef and pork if you want.

I recommend taking a sharp knife and cutting a slit down to the bone on your chicken thighs or breasts, which enables both the marinade and the heat while cooking to penetrate the meat. The longer the time for marination, the more flavorful your meat will be, but leaving it overnight may make the meat too pungent. I usually marinate my meat for a couple hours.

This recipe is for about 3-4 lbs of meat.

Marinade Ingredients:

Combine all the ingredients into a large bowl or gallon-sized freezer bag. You can also do an all night marinade if you'd like. You may want to adjust the amount of ingredients to suit your taste after the first go. Each time I make my marinade it comes out a little different. I don't use measuring cups anymore (but you should to start).

Learning to taste your recipe as you go is truly at the heart of cooking in general. Following a recipe is great to get started, but if you're going to really learn to cook, then you've got to use your greatest tool available, which is your taste buds.

Here's some tips...

1 teaspoon of orange zest is also something that you might want to add for a twist. Using a grater, just scrap the orange skin off of an orange. It has a very strong orange aroma that adds flavor to all kinds of recipes. Albeit, I usually just use orange juice. It depends on what I have on hand to use.

I usually marinate my meat for 2-days. The beef short ribs don't absorb enough of the marinade in my opinion over night. As I'm typing this, I have 5 fresh chicken thighs with the skins, half of a slab of skirt steak (Ranchera), and a pack of thin-cut beef short ribs on the bones marinating together in one big bowl. They'll marinade for two days before I barbeque. You have to experiment to see what you prefer. If you like a milder marinade, then over night may be enough for your meat. I like the meat very flavorful.

Barbecue Techniques

I've learned a few barbeque techniques over the years that most people don't know. A lot of people just dump their charcoal into the barbeque, like I used to do; but a better method is to make a pyramid so that the heat can center within the pyramid. This way you won't have to reignite your charcoal a dozen times to make it go. Also, you don't need to cover the entire grill. In fact, it's best not to so you can move food to the sides when it is almost done to prevent burning.

Also, a lot of people burn their food because the heat is too high. A lower heat and a longer time to cook makes the meat more juicy. Although some chefs don't like to poke their barbequing meat with a fork or knife because it'll let all the juices out, I find that cutting a slice along chicken helps it cook. Beef shorts ribs are fine as they are. Cooking low and slow makes meat more juicy.

Believe it or not, an electric fan is great for getting a stubborn fire going. Fire needs air and a fan provides forced air. Also, keep a little spray bottle handy with water, so if the juices in the meat catch fire you can gently spray the fire away (or you can just move the meat to the sides of the grill until the fire settles down). Another method is to place the barbeque lid over the meat to smother the fire. Keep the bottom vents open and the top vents closed. This helps make the meat juicier and also more flavorful from the smoke. The key is not to have the heat too high. I used to put way too much charcoal in my grill, which produced way too much heat and dried out the meat. Just make a pyramid in the middle, almost to the underside of the cooking grill. Turn the meat often.

I always cook my beef short ribs well done, which I think tastes best. Of course, my ribeye steaks are always cooked medium-rare. For short ribs, when nearly done I dip them in the marinade again to flavor them and keep them from burning. The sugar in the marinade tends to catch fire in an open flame, but it gives the ribs a delicious taste. What ribs you don't finish, store overnight in a plastic bag or container in the refrigerator (they are great the next day). I love marinated BBQ beef short ribs!!!