The 411 on Rubs, Marinades and Brines


The 411 on Rubs, Marinades and Brines

Thursday, July 18, 2019

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When grilling sometimes we want something extra to make our dishes sing. Brines, marinades, and rubs are great ways of imparting flavour to grilled foods with each adding its unique touch. Here is the 4-1-1 about the benefits of each method.



Simply put, a marinade is any liquid that's a combination of herbs, spices, something slightly sweet (like sugar, maple syrup, molasses or honey) and an acid — citrus juice, vinegar, or alcohol. Marinades do double duty by tenderising the meat and adding flavour. The tenderising is due to the acid component helping to break down the protein's tissue. If you're cooking a protein that is already tender, like fish or chicken breast, keep the marinating time under two hours. Tougher cuts of meat, like flank steak or a whole spatchcocked chicken, can be marinated in the fridge anywhere between four hours and overnight.


Why: Marinate if you're looking for bold flavours.

What: Works well with beef, lamb, pork, poultry, shellfish, and vegetables.

How: Use 1/4 cup of marinade per pound of meat, poultry, shellfish, or vegetables.


Easy Asian marinade recipe


1/2 cup reduced-sodium soy


1/3 cup canola oil

1/4 cup water

2 tablespoons onion powder

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

1 tablespoon sugar

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon ground ginger

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper



Combine all ingredients in a bowl and marinade whole spatchcocked chicken or pork chops overnight.



Want to make your meat really juicy? Try brining. Brines are salt-based solutions that add juiciness to proteins and impart subtle flavours. The salt-water solution increases the juiciness of the meat by breaking down the protein structure. The broken-down protein traps extra water and flavours during the brining process; moisture and flavour are retained during the cooking process. This killer combination makes the meat oh-so-juicy and tender!


Why: Brining tenderises lean meat meats that tend to dry out on the grill.

What: Works well with poultry and pork.

How: Your protein can be brined in as little as 30 minutes; however, a whole turkey should brine for 24 hours.


Basic poultry brine recipe


2 gallons cold water

2 cups kosher salt

1 cup granulated sugar

3 teaspoons garlic, crushed

3 tablespons Private Label by Gregory Burrowes Italian Blend Seasoning

1 teaspoon all-spice berries, cracked

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper



Dissolve the salt, sugar, and seasoning in the water. Submerge the turkey or whole chicken in the brine and keep it submered by placing a plate on top and weighing it down. Refrigerate the turkey/chicken in the brine for 12 to 24 hours.



A rub is a spice mixture that seasons and adds flavour but does not tenderise. There are two types — dry and wet. Wet rubs are created by adding oil, soy sauce, or mustard, to a dry rub mixture to create a paste.

Note: Regardless of the type of rub you use, pat it onto the meat to form a nice crust when seared. However, dry rubs have a clear advantage as they don't add additional moisture to the meat's exterior, thus eliminating the time needed for the moisture to evaporate for a nice sear to develop.


Why: Use rubs to add flavour, plus the seasoning helps to form a crispy crust.

What: Works well with beef, lamb, pork, poultry, and shellfish.

How: Apply just before cooking. Remember to pat gently; don't rub hard.




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