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Marinating the meat before grilling or cooking on the barbecue is always a good idea.

Marinating flavors and tenderizes meat, fish or vegetables. There are some marinating mixes that are always popular.

Some marinades have become popular and their recipes have become standard.

Chinese five spice marinade

1 Tbs five spice powder; 1/2 cup soy or tamari sauce; 1/4 cup sesame oil; 1/4 cup rice vinegar; 1/2 cup pineapple juice or ginger beer - it will make 2 cups.

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl, whisking briskly to achieve a uniform mix. This marinade would keep for up to a month if refrigerated in a covered container. Use this marinade on brochettes, eggplants steaks and whole ears of corn. Marinate for at least half an hour, one hour best. Baste occasionally with the marinade while grilling.

Easy marinade for grilled steak

2 1/2 Tbs brown sugar; 1 1/2 Tbs sugar; 1 Tbs ground ginger; 1 clove garlic, crushed; 1/2 cup soy sauce; 1 Tbs tarragon vinegar.

Mix all of the ingredients together. Put meat into a large shallow dish and pour the mixture over meat. Marinate for at least 30 minutes, basting frequently and turning once or twice. Once meat is on the grill, brush often with the marinade. Makes enough for 4.

Garlic-rosemary marinade

2 large garlic cloves; 1 Tbs minced rosemary leaves; a pinch cayenne pepper; 2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil.

Press and puree the garlic cloves. Mix all ingredient together and rub the paste onto the meat. Allow to stand for 30 minutes. This marinade is particularly good with lamb chops.

Grilled chicken marinade

7 cup water; 4 cup vinegar; 1 cup oil; 1 Tbs butter; 1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce; 1/2 Tbs paprika.

Bring all ingredients to a boiling a large sauce pan. Dip chicken pieces to coat, and use it to baste chicken while on the grill Remaining sauce should be refrigerated. When ready to reuse, heat and follow same directions as above.

Mexican knock out marinade

1/2 cup orange juice; 1 cup pineapple juice; 1 chipotle chili (chili pepper in adobo); 2 Tbs minced coriander; 1 clove garlic, minced - it will make 2 cups.

Blend all ingredients with the help of a food processor –fitted with the metal blade- or hand held blender and process until smooth. It will keep in the fridge, in a covered container, for up to a month. Use on beef, chicken and fish. Marinate for 1/2 to 1 hour, then cook.

Simple grilled steak marinade

1/4 cup olive oil; 1/4 cup soy sauce; 1 tsp lemon pepper seasoning; 1 tsp garlic powder.

Mix together. Marinate the meat for two hours or more. Then, cook.

Thai bash marinade

10 cloves of garlic, peeled; one 2” piece galangal or ginger root, peeled; 2 (3-4” long) stalks lemon grass, trimmed and including the bulb; 1 hot red chili or jalapeno pepper, seeds included; 1/2 cup groundnut oil or olive oil – it will make 3/4 to 1 cup.

Blend all ingredients in a food processor –fitted with the metal blade- or use a hand held blender, until turned into a smooth puree. This marinade would keep for up to a month if refrigerated in a covered container. Brush this mixture on skewered vegetables, vegetable steaks, tofu or tempeh when grilling. Marinate meat for 1/2 hour before grilling, basting occasionally while cooking.

If you don’t have it, substitute lemongrass stalks with 1-2 tsp dried lemongrass.

Most types of meat benefit from marinating before grilling.