One of my favorite ways to enjoy the warm summer evenings is to grill. It’s also one of the best ways to make easy and delicious summer dinners. Whip together a quick zesty marinade before leaving for work and then throw everything on the grill when you get home. Dinner done.
So what is the best bbq marinade for summer grilling? We’ve rounded up five bbq marinades perfect for steak, chicken, fish, and melt in your mouth ribs. Whether you’re making a quick weeknight dinner on a gas grill or settling in for an afternoon of cocktails while keeping a charcoal fire burning, these bbq sauce marinade recipes have you covered.
Here are five easy and delicious BBQ marinades for next level grilling this summer:
1. ) Coffee Infused Balsamic BBQ Marinade
Coffee in a bbq marinade? Yes! Coffee isn’t just delicious in your morning cup of joe, it also adds great flavor to marinades for meats. Especially red meat. The combined acidity from the coffee and balsamic vinegar make for the most tender pieces of steak ever! And the flavor is even better.
Kara Golis, the nutritionist behind the blog Bite Sized Nutrition, uses cold brew to make the best bbq marinade with coffee I’ve ever tried. Seriously. But don’t take my word for it, try this easy bbq marinade for yourself.
BBQ Sauce Recipe: Coffee Infused Balsamic Marinade
- 1 lb flat iron steak
- 1/4 cup of cold brew coffee
- 2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 tsp of salt
- 1/3 tsp of pepper
- To marinate steak place it in a gallon zip lock bag.
- Add cold brew and balsamic vinegar.
- Toss to combine thoroughly.
- Seal ziplock bag and let steak marinate at room temperature for an hour before cooking.
- Season the steak with salt and pepper on both sides when ready to cook.
- Cook the steak on the grill or in the oven under the broiler for about 4 minutes each side.
- Let rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.
*Here’s a quick guide to help you avoid the 7 common mistakes when cooking the perfect steak.
2.) Blackberry BBQ Marinade
Nothing says summer like fresh berries and BBQ. Put the two together and you have one delicious bbq marinade. This simple blackberry bbq sauce recipe is perfect for grilling season.
It’s also low carb, all natural and deliciously sweet. If you’re ever wondering what to do with all that fresh summer fruit you brought home from the farmer’s market or picked in your garden, try this bbq marinade recipe. You can easily use other fruit like peaches, blueberries, or strawberries in place of blackberries.
This bbq sauce is best on grilled chicken. For a super easy summer dinner cut fresh peaches in half, throw them on the grill with the chicken and toss it all with fresh arugula when it’s done. For extra indulgence add fresh mozzarella or soft goats cheese on top.
BBQ Sauce Recipe: Blackberry BBQ Marinade
- 1 cup of fresh blackberries (or frozen)
- 1 tsp of fresh grated ginger
- 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp of smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp of garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp of salt
- 4 tbsp of tomato paste
- 2 tbsp of coconut oil
- 1-2 tbsp of molasses
- 1/2 tsp of onion powder
- Put all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat.
- Stir to combine and simmer until the sauce become thickened, about 10-15 minutes.
- Blend smooth in a blender or mash any thick clumps with the back of a fork until smooth.
- Store in an airtight container or use right away. This sauce is best added to grilled chicken right before it’s done. If you use the sauce too early it might burn.
- This bbq sauce stores in the fridge for one week and in the freezer for one month.
3.) Orange Herb BBQ Marinade
This BBQ marinade is so tasty on grilled fish like salmon. The orange herb marinade couldn’t be easier to whip up either. It only has four ingredients and all of them are healthy.
Dietitian Lindsey Janeiro of Nutrition Fit, combines zesty orange juice, Italian seasoning, olive oil, and sea salt into a heart healthy bbq sauce. You probably already have most of the ingredients in your kitchen. Shake the ingredients up in a ziplock bag, add your omega rich salmon fillets, and marinate for 1-2 hours before grilling. Dinner is done!
Recipe by Nutrition Fit
- 1 pound of salmon cut into 4 pieces
- 1/2 cup of orange juice
- 1/4 cup of olive oil
- 1 tablespoon of Italian seasoning
- 1/4 tsp of sea salt
- Combine marinade ingredients in a resealable bag or airtight container.
- Add salmon to the marinade and evenly coat.
- Allow to marinate for at least 1-2 hours.
- Grill salmon for 3-4 minutes per side when ready.
- Remove from grill and serve.
4.) Korean BBQ Marinade
If you’re a fan of Korean BBQ you need to try this marinade. It’s tangy and delicious. To really enjoy the flavors use it on Kalbi, also known as Korean-style or cross-cut short ribs.
Buy 2 pounds of cross-cut short ribs and cut them into 1/3 inch strips. You’ll want to let the ribs marinade for at least 3 hours to really let the flavor seep in. When you’re ready to eat, throw the ribs on a charcoal grill. The smoky flavor from the charcoal really adds to the BBQ taste in this recipe.
Recipe by Bon Appetit Test Kitchen
- 1/2 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
- 1 1/2 tbsp of raw turbinado sugar
- 1 tsp grated fresh peeled ginger
- 1/2 tsp of fresh ground pepper
- 1 tsp of Asian sesame oil
- 1/2 cup of chopped scallions
- 1 tbsp of minced garlic
- Whisk everything but the scallions together in a bowl.
- Stir in scallions.
- Cover and chill for up to a day.
- Place Korean short ribs in a resealable bag and pour marinade over. Marinate in the fridge for 3 hours.
- Let come to room temperature before grilling.
- Build a medium fire in a charcoal grill. If using a gas grill set it to medium-high.
- Grill the ribs 2-3 minutes per side.
- Let rest 5-10 minutes before serving.
5.) The Best 4 Ingredient Chicken BBQ Marinade
This is the easiest and BEST chicken BBQ marinade I’ve tried. You only need four ingredients and all of them are kitchen staples. When you’ve run out of dinner ideas, fire up the grill and try this BBQ chicken recipe from Kami, of No Biggie.
Easy, delicious recipes are her specialty. Getting the marinade just right and following Kami’s grilling directions can make or break this recipe though. Follow the directions below closely for perfect grilled chicken every time.
Recipe by No Biggie
- 1 cup of brown sugar
- 1 cup of oil
- 1/2 cup of soy sauce
- 1/2 cup of vinegar
- 1 pound of boneless skinless chicken breasts
- Mix all ingredients together in a bowl or ziplock bag.
- Place the boneless, skinless chicken breast in the marinade.
- Marinate for a minimum of 30 minutes and overnight at the most.
- For grilling: Fire up the grill to medium high.
- Place the chicken breasts on the grill and do not touch for 6 minutes.
- Right at 6 minutes flip them over and then don’t touch them again for another 4-5 minutes.
- Remove chicken from the grill and let rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.
Pick your favorite bbq marinade recipe and head to the beach for outdoor grilling with friends. Find out why you should go beach camping on your next summer vacay & where to go!