Special of the day: May is National BBQ Month, Get your Marinade On!

16 May Special of the day: May is National BBQ Month, Get your Marinade On!

Sweet and Spicy Grilled Chicken

Special of the Day:

May is National BBQ Month

Get your Marinade on!

May is National Barbecue Month!  What better time than now to ignite your marinade mojo?

The miracle of marinades is that they not only tenderize meat by breaking down fibers, but can also prevent the growth of bacteria in meat. In some cases, marinades reduce the production of carcinogenic heterocyclic amines (HCAs) produced when meat is cooked at a high temperature.

The basic formula of a marinade boils down to acid + fat + aromatic= flavor booster and tenderizer of meat. Acids include such staples as citrus juice, vinegars, wine, beer and yogurt.  Fats commonly used in marinades include olive oil, other flavored oils, melted butter and coconut milk. Aromatics are often fresh herbs, spices and chilies, but can be almost anything you have on hand that adds flavor to your marinade mixture.

Three easy examples follow the formula, providing flavorful fixes for chicken, shrimp and Portabello mushrooms, all marinated in advance in the refrigerator and finished on the barbecue. Something as simple as pepper jelly whisked together with orange juice and melted butter becomes a sweet and spicy marinade for grilled chicken.  Red curry paste pairs perfectly with coconut milk and lime juice to bathe Thai Red Curry Coconut Shrimp Skewers in before grilling with fresh mango. An Italian infusion of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, rosemary and thyme transform mushrooms into something special served over herbed risotto for dinner.

Because direct contact is needed in the marinating process, a large sealable plastic bag works well. You can pour the marinade mixture over the meat, squeeze air out of the bag and seal it before marinating in the refrigerator.  Massaging the meat periodically throughout the process will encourage interaction between meat and marinade, maximizing the tenderization and flavor-enhancing effects.

A word of caution on food safety is warranted when marinating meat. Because of the risk of cross contamination and food-borne illness, it is best to discard the mixture left after marinating meat. If recipes call for using the marinade mixture as a sauce or for basting, make sure to reserve the amount you need before using the rest for marinade.

Celebrate National Barbecue Month with this week’s Special of the day: May is National Barbecue Month, Get you Marinade On! and recipes for Sweet and Spicy Grilled Chicken, Marinated Grilled Portabellos and Thai Red Curry Coconut Shrimp and Mango Skewers. Happy Marinating!

Recipes and food photography by Sydne George.

Sweet and Spicy Grilled Chicken

Sweet and Spicy Grilled Chicken

(serves two)

¼ cup butter, melted

1 cup pepper jelly

¼ cup orange juice

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

In a medium bowl, whisk together marinade ingredients until mixed.

Place chicken breasts in large sealable plastic bag and pour marinade over.

Seal and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

When ready to grill, preheat barbeque to 350 degrees.

Remove chicken breasts from marinade and grill on preheated grill for 5-7 minutes, then turn and grill other sides an additional 5-7 minutes, until chicken is nicely browned and cooked through.

Remove from grill, tent with foil and let rest briefly before slicing.

Serve sliced Sweet and Spicy Grilled Chicken over Buttered Brown Rice with orange peel.


Marinated Grilled Portabello

Marinated Grilled Portabellos

(serves two)

½ cup olive oil

½ cup balsamic vinegar

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves, stems removed and minced

1 teaspoon fresh thyme, leaves only

¼ teaspoon Kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

2 large Portabello mushrooms, washed dried and stems removed

Combine all marinade ingredients in medium bowl and whisk to combine.

Put Portabello mushrooms in a large sealable plastic bag.

Pour marinade over mushrooms, seal bag and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Remove mushrooms from marinade.

Grill on preheated 300 degree barbecue grill for 2-3 minutes a side.

Turn and grill other side of mushrooms an additional 2-3 minutes.

Remove from grill.

Slice and serve over herbed risotto.

(Risotto recipes at http://sydnegeorge.com/special-of-the-day-ready-set-risotto/ )

Garnish with additional sprigs of fresh thyme.



Thai Red Curry Coconut Shrimp and Mango Skewers

Thai Red Curry Coconut Shrimp and Mango Skewers

(serves two)

½ teaspoon freshly grated lime peel

1 teaspoon Thai red curry paste

1 cup coconut milk (stir first)

¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice

¼ teaspoon Kosher salt

¾ pound #26-30 large shrimp, thawed, shelled, tails removed

Combine all marinade ingredients in a medium bowl.

Whisk to mix.

Transfer shrimp to large sealable plastic bag.

Pour marinade over shrimp.

Squeeze air of bag and seal.

Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

Make the Thai Red Curry Coconut Sauce:

1 cup coconut milk (stir first)

1 tablespoon Thai red curry paste

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1/8 teaspoon Kosher salt

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine all sauce ingredients.

Cook, stirring occasionaly until mixture comes to a simmer.

Simmer until slightly thickened, about 6-8 minutes.

Remove from heat and reserve until serving.

When ready to serve:

Preheat barbecue grill to 300 degrees.

Peel and slice 1 large ripe mango and dice into large chunks.

Thread marinated shrimp and mango chunks onto medium metal skewers.

Grill on preheated grill for 3-4 minutes on each side, cooking until shrimp are pink and cooked through.

Serve with Thai Red Curry Coconut Sauce.


Sydne George is a food journalist specializing in recipe development, food writing and food photography. She can be reached at sydnegeorge@hotmail.com . Sydne’s recipes from “Special of the day” are archived at http://sydnegeorge.com/blog/.



  • Marnie
    Posted at 05:26h, 18 May Reply

    This chicken recipe is perfect for a summer BBQ. It is on the menu for us this weekend!

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