Rubs & Marinades

Rubs are seasoning mixtures rubbed on meats before grilling to boost flavors; they could be spicy or smoky, etc. The best rubs enhance the flavor of the meat without being overbearing and are often blends of strong and mild spices and herbs. When you add oil or another wet substance, it is called a wet rub. A little moisture helps the rub adhere to the meat. Using rubs is an easy way to infuse your grilled meats with exciting ethnic flavors, -from Cajun to Korean. Setting aside rubbed meats for anywhere from 30 minutes to overnight allows the spices to permeate the meat.

Marinades are flavor-infusing liquids best suited for tougher cuts of meat. In addition to herbs, condiments, spices, and oils, marinades typically include an acid, like lemon juice, wine, vinegar, or even dairy. Adding sweet ingredients to the marinade can help form appealing caramelized, crispy coatings on grilled meats. Always marinate in the refrigerator and remember, if you're basting with a liquid in which raw meat marinated, do not apply it near the end of the grilling process (not within the last 3 minutes or so).


Verde Marinade

Ingredients:                                              Amount:

Tomatillos, cut in quarters                        1 pound

Jalapeños, chopped large                          2 each

Lime Juice from                                          2 limes

Garlic                                                           3 cloves

Thyme Leaves                                             1 teaspoon fresh or ½ teaspoon dry

Salt                                                               1 Tablespoon

Scallions (green onions)                            1 bunch

Cilantro                                                        1 bunch


Method of preparation:

  1. Place tomatillos, jalapeños, lime juice, garlic, thyme leaves and salt in a blender. Start on a low speed and blend till liquefied.
  2. Add scallions a couple at a time and blend until liquefied.
  3. Add cilantro half a bunch at a time and blend until liquefied.

Helpful Tips:

  • This marinade is very good on chicken, pork chops or loins and fish. This amount of marinade will work for 2 chickens or 6 – 8 chicken breasts; - 6 thick-cut or 8 regular-cut pork chops; 2 – 3 pork loins; or 2 pounds of fish.
  • I like to let the chicken on the bone marinate for 2 – 3 days, breasts 1 -2 days. Thick-cut pork chops should marinate 2 – 3 days, regular-cut 1 day. Pork loins can marinate 1 – 2 days. Fish is good about a day. Extra marinade can be held in the refrigerator for a week or frozen for up to 3 months.
  • Marinating is best done in a zipper closure bag. Place the meat in the bag and add the marinade. Massage the marinade into the meat at least a couple times a day to get the best flavor impact.
  • To avoid burning, shake off excess marinade before grilling.


Spice, Coffee, & Cocoa Rub

Ingredients:                                                    Amount:

Coffee                                                               ½ cup

Boiling Water                                                     ½ cup

Cumin, ground                                                    1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon

Coriander, ground                                               2 teaspoons

Brown Sugar                                                      ½ cup packed tight

Cinnamon, ground                                               1 teaspoon

Cloves, ground                                                    1/8 teaspoon

Chili Powder                                                       3 Tablespoons

Cocoa Powder, unsweetened                               ¼ cup


Method of preparation:

  1. Pour boiling water over coffee grounds, let steep for 5 minutes. Strain off the coffee grounds, let coffee cool.
  2. Combine the remaining ingredients in a medium sized bowl, blend together. Add coffee and mix into a dry paste.

Helpful Tips:

  • To add a smoky flavor note, dry toast whole cumin and coriander (there are good online videos that can show you how to dry toast spices if needed). Grind spices, once cooled, in a spice grinder. If using your coffee grinder, grind some rice in it afterwards so your morning coffee doesn’t have a spice flavor.
  • This rub is very good on chicken, pork chops or loins and steaks. This amount of marinade will work for 1 chicken or 4 - 5 chicken breasts, 4 thick cut or 6 regular cut pork chops or 2 pork loins, or 4 -5 steaks.
  • I like to let the chicken on the bone to marinate 2 – 3 days, breasts 1 -2 days. Thick-cut pork chops should marinate 1 - 2 days, regular-cut 1 day. Pork loins marinade 2 – 3 days. Steak is good in about 1 – 2 days. Extra rub can be held in the spice cabinet for up to 3 months.
  • Marinating is best done in a zipper closure bag. Place the meat in the bag and add in the rub. Massage the rub into the meat. As the moisture of the meat combines with the rub it will become liquid like. Massage the rub into the meat at least a couple times a day to get the best flavor impact.
  • It is best to rinse off excess rub prior to grilling. The sugars and spices will burn on the grill and become bitter.


Korean Short Rib Marinade (this marinade works well with almost any cut of beef!)

Ingredients:                                                                Amount:

Soy Sauce                                                                     ¼ cup

Sesame oil                                                                     1 T

Garlic cloves, roughly chopped                                        4 each

Light brown sugar                                                          2 Tablespoons

Rice wine vinegar                                                           2 Tablespoons

Black pepper                                                                  1 Tablespoon

Salt                                                                                2 Teaspoons

Asian pear, peeled & roughly chopped                             1 each

(can substitute w/ 2 kiwis if Asian pear isn’t available)

Beef short ribs                                                                2 lbs. (boneless 3 ½ to 4 w/ bone)


Method of preparation:

  1. Place everything but the beef in a food processor and puree. Pour marinade over meat and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Heat a grill over high heat. Grill beef for about 3 minutes per side, or until cooked medium. Remove from grill, and allow to rest for 2-3 minutes. Chop into 1/2-inch pieces. Taste and salt, if necessary.


Pork Baby Back Ribs -Dry Rub

Ingredients:                                                                           Amounts:

Whole slabs pork baby back ribs                                                2 each

Light brown sugar, tightly packed                                             8 Tablespoons

Kosher salt                                                                                3 tablespoons

Chili powder                                                                              3 Tablespoons

Ground black pepper                                                                  ½ teaspoon

Chipotle pepper                                                                         ½ teaspoon

Jalapeño seasoning                                                                    ½ teaspoon

Old Bay Seasoning                                                                    ½ teaspoon

Rubbed thyme                                                                           ½ teaspoon

Onion powder                                                                            ½ teaspoon


Method of preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 225 degrees.
  2. In a bowl, combine all dry ingredients and mix well.
  3. Place each slab of baby back ribs on a piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil, shiny side down. Sprinkle each side generously with the dry rub. Pat the dry rub into the meat.
  4. Refrigerate the ribs for a minimum of 2 hours (I prefer overnight).


Braising Liquid (you can make this while the ribs are refrigerating):

Ingredients:                                                                         Amounts:

White wine (or your favorite beer!-I used Guinness)             1 cup

White wine vinegar                                                                 2 Tablespoons

Worcestershire sauce                                                              2 Tablespoons

Honey                                                                                    1 Tablespoon

Garlic cloves, chopped                                                             2 each


Method of preparation:

  1. In a small pot or a microwavable container, combine all ingredients for the braising liquid. Heat until it’s warm.
  2. Place the ribs on a baking sheet. Open one end of the foil on each slab and pour half of the braising liquid into each foil packet. Tilt the baking sheet in order to equally distribute the braising liquid.
  3. Braise the ribs in the oven for 3 1/2 hours.
  4. Transfer the braising liquid into a small saucepot. Bring the liquid to a simmer and reduce by half or until the consitency of a thick syrup.
  5. Place the ribs onto a medium to high heat grill and brush half of the glaze all over them.
  6. Grill the ribs until they have a nice caramelized color and are hot throughout.
  7. Once the ribs are finished on the grill, brush on the remaining hot glaze and serve.