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How Do I Choose the Best Chicken Barbecue Marinade?

By Lee Johnson
Updated May 17, 2024
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Choose the best chicken barbecue marinade by looking for marinades which include fresh ingredients, an eclectic blend of herbs and spices, and ones that fit in with a desired cuisine. Chefs should consider the palates of the diners when making a decision as to which marinade to use, and an evaluation of herbs and spices included in the dish can be helpful. Many types of chicken barbecue marinade include lemon or orange juice, which gives an acidic and fresh zest to the meat. Another common style marinade for chicken involves homemade barbecue sauce. Fresh, homemade marinades are generally preferable to pre-prepared, shop-bought marinades.

The most important factor for a chef when choosing a chicken barbecue marinade should be the guests. The chef should specifically look for marinades which are likely to suit the palates of most of his or her guests. This can be hard to determine in some cases, and as a result it is unwise to choose marinades heavily dependent upon things which people may not like. If the guests have a preferred style of food, the chef should choose a marinade consistent with that preference.

Evaluation of the specific herbs and spices used in the marinade can help a chef decide on the correct chicken barbecue marinade. A wide variety of herbs and spices is a good option if the chef is looking for a complex flavor. For example, a Jamaican style jerk chicken marinade typically includes thyme, nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, and black pepper. Chefs should taste the combination of herbs and spices prior to using them as a marinade to be sure that it has the desired taste, however. Other common ingredients such as cumin seeds and paprika may also be included in a chicken barbecue marinade.

Acidic flavors are very common in chicken barbecue marinade, and so many popular recipes include lemon or orange juice or zest. Fruit juices infuse fresh flavor into the chicken, and are often included in marinade recipes. Other acidic flavors such as white wine vinegar or cider vinegar, can be used instead of acidic citrus juices.

The use of fresh ingredients is important to a chicken barbecue marinade. Fresh ingredients such as onions, chili pepper, and garlic are common additions to a marinade and can help to infuse more flavors into the meat. Any granulated or pre-cooked form of these ingredients is likely to have a more mild taste, but chefs can add fresh ingredients into any marinade which does not include them. Likewise, freshly picked herbs have a stronger flavor than those that have been dried.

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