For deliciously perfect barbecued meat, try our basic marinades or a Tex-Mex, Mediterranean or Asian variation.

By Megan Bingham

"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.

Basic Marinade

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.