"The key to great barbecue is sealing in flavor," says barbecue pro Chris Lilly. Marinades do just that, seasoning while locking in moisture. Try saturating 1 pound of beef, chicken or pork for 30 minutes before grilling. Start with our basic marinade, then experiment with these festive regional variations.
Whisk together 1/2 cup each olive oil and cider vinegar, juice of 1 lemon, 2 cloves chopped garlic and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper.
Add 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, 2 teaspoons cumin and 1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce. Replace lemon juice with juice and zest of 1 lime.
Add 1/2 cup chopped mixed herbs, such as parsley, oregano or thyme, and a splash or two of Worcestershire sauce. Replace cider vinegar with balsamic.
Add 1/2 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice. Replace cider vinegar with rice vinegar, and salt and pepper with 2 tablespoons light soy sauce. Stir in 1/4 cup finely chopped scallions.
Originally published in the August 2011 issue of Family Circle magazine.