How to Marinade Chicken Barbecue

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Baste the chicken with reserved marinade while grilling.
Baste the chicken with reserved marinade while grilling. (Image: Eising/Photodisc/Getty Images)

The key ingredients in a marinade are acid, oil and flavorings. Some recipes omit the oil to reduce the fat. The acid used varies, but wine vinegar, herb vinegar, orange juice, pomegranate juice, pineapple juice, lime juice and lemon juice are often used. The flavorings are entirely up to you and can be an herb mixture, a favorite seasoning blend or a single spice or herb. Marinate chicken in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight to allow the meat to tenderize and the flavors to be absorbed.

Things You'll Need

  • Chicken pieces
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice or wine vinegar
  • Seasonings of your choice
  • Meat thermometer

Clean the chicken and rinse it under cold water. Remove all visible fat. You can leave the skin on or remove it according to your preferences.

Mix the marinade ingredients in a self-sealing plastic bag. Seal and shake until the ingredients are well mixed. If you plan to use the marinade to baste the chicken while grilling or as a sauce later, reserve some to another container before adding the chicken.

Add the chicken to the bag. Seal, removing as much air as possible so all pieces are in contact with the marinade. Place the bag in a bowl or pan to catch any drippings.

Refrigerate the chicken for at least four hours and up to 24 hours.

Drain the chicken and discard the marinade. Cook the chicken as usual on the grill or under the broiler. The chicken is done when the internal temperature reaches at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Tips & Warnings

  • Seasoning Choices:
  • 2 tbsp. honey, 1 tsp. black pepper, 1/2 clove minced garlic, 4 tbsp. soy sauce and a pinch of curry. Sweeten with 2 tbsp. of honey.
  • Add 1/2 cup soy sauce, 1 tsp. oregano, ½ tsp basil, ½ tsp. garlic powder, and 1/4 tsp. black pepper.
  • Substitute balsamic vinegar for the wine vinegar and add 3 cloves minced garlic, 4 tbsp rosemary, salt and pepper to taste.
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