Grilling — Wet or Dry?

Grilling — Wet or Dry?In grilling, there are a few ways to go…but the most popular would be a wet marinade or dry rub. Both taste great and they serve two different purposes. Some cuts of meat work better with one or the other. We’re here to help you figure out what works best for your BBQ.

Dry Rubs
Dry rubs are a dry mixture of spices and herbs that you sprinkle or rub on to the meat before grilling. Typically a rub will include salt, pepper, paprika and brown sugar but that combination depends on region and cuisine.

Dry rubs can be used in two ways, either as a seasoning or a cure. When used as a seasoning, the blend is rubbed on right before grilling. If used as a cure, the rub is applied four or more hours ahead of time so it can flavor the meat more intensely. Memphis style ribs are famous for their dry rubs.

Dry rubs are better suited to more tender cuts like beef fillet because too much time in a marinade can make already tender meats mushy.

Marinades are wet seasonings that are used for flavoring foods that tend to dry out when cooking, like chicken breasts. Most marinades are made up of oil, like olive or canola, an acid like lime juice or vinegar and a whole range of aromatics like onions, chilies, spices or herbs.

The time required for marinades depends on the type of meat you are planning to cook. Chicken breasts can take as little as 30 minutes while a larger cut like leg of lamb might require overnight marinating. It is important that you refrigerate any meat that needs to marinate for more than two hours. Keep in mind that pieces of meat left in the marinade too long can lose their firmness.

The purpose of marinades is mostly to flavor meat but they also serve as a means to tenderize less tender cuts of meat like flank steaks or beef sirloin. The tenderizing properties come from the acid that is in the marinade.

One of our all-time favorite marinades is this recipe for Santa Maria Style Tri-Tip Marinade. It is quick to throw together and may become one of your favorites, too.

Santa Maria Style Tri-Tip Marinade Recipe

1 cup lemon juice
1 cup canola oil
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup black pepper
1/2 cup garlic powder
1/2 cup chopped fresh garlic
1/2 cup chopped onions, about one small onion
2 (4-pound) tri-tips, trimmed

To make the marinade, mix all of the ingredients except for the beef in a large mixing bowl. Place the trimmed tri-tips in a plastic container and pour the marinade over. Let stand in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours.

Heat grill to medium temperature.

Place tri-tips on the grill and cook about 25 minutes (we like ’em on the rare side), or until cooked to desired doneness. Remove the tri-tips from the grill and let rest about 2 to 5 minutes before slicing. Serve with your favorite side dishes.

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