How Do I Choose the Best BBQ Rib Marinade?

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  • Written By: Jennifer Leigh
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 24 January 2020
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Marinating BBQ ribs before cooking them provides additional flavor in the cooked meat. Using a mixture of acidic ingredients, oils and spices will help impart flavor, particularly if the marinade is done for a few hours or overnight. BBQ, or barbecue, rib marinade can be made at home or store-bought depending on the desired preparation time and budget of the cook. Marinades do not always tenderize the meat, however, so the ribs will need to be cooked at a low temperature for a long period of time to dissolve the tough connective tissues.

BBQ rib marinade uses ingredients such as vinegar, wine and citrus fruits to provide flavor in the ribs. Additional ingredients such as oil and seasonings provide a variety of flavors. Making a BBQ rib marinade at home involves mixing a ratio of acidic ingredients with the oil and seasoning. Choosing to make the marinade at home allows the cook to have complete control over the types and amounts of various ingredients.


Homemade BBQ rib marinade should include wine, white or red vinegar, beer or citrus fruit juice combined with olive or vegetable oil. Seasonings can be added, including fresh or powdered garlic, onion or soy sauce. Salt and pepper provide some flavor, but other herbs and spices can be used such as hot peppers, oregano and grated ginger. If sweetness is desired in the BBQ rib marinade, you can add honey or molasses to the mixture, which should be tasted as it is prepared to make sure it is appealing to the cook.

Store-bought marinades provide an easy alternative when time is limited or ingredients are not available at home. Reading the ingredient label can be helpful in determining how the marinade will taste. Organic marinades are available for a higher price, depending on the budget of the cook. Prepared BBQ rib marinade might contain preservatives, high sodium content and sugar, so if health is a concern, read the label thoroughly.

Marinades do not necessarily tenderize the meat, so BBQ ribs should be cooked slowly over relatively low heat so that the meat will become tender. Additional sauce or rubs, either homemade or store-bought, can be applied to the ribs before they are cooked if additional flavor is desired. The longer the ribs are marinated, the more the flavors will impact the meat, so preparing them ahead of time is helpful in cooking delicious BBQ ribs.



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