BBQ chicken wings with a rub and a sauce
Angela Slater
Daughter of a farmer and market gardener so have always had a connection with the outdoors, whether it was keeping animals or producing fruit, vegetables and cut flowers. Along with my work at Hayes Garden World I also have a smallholding, mainly breeding rare breed pigs. I gained an HND and BSc in Conservation and Environmental Land Management, as a result I am an ardent environmentalist and have a keen interest in environmentally friendly gardening. In my time at Hayes I worked for several years in the Outdoor Plant and Houseplant areas

How To Master Marinades, Rubs And Sauces

Infuse your BBQ food with a mix of herbs and spices for extra flavour

Up-grade your barbecuing instantly by just adding a rub, a marinade or a sticky sauce. A rub can be applied immediately before cooking but a marinade must be left for at least a couple of hours to let the flavours permeate through into the meat or fish. Sauces, particularly ready prepared ones, usually have a high sugar content so only apply these about 5 – 10 minutes before the end of the cooking period otherwise they tend to burn and leave the food with a bitter burnt taste. Using a sauce as well as a marinade or rub will impart an extra level of taste to your meat; just don’t over-do too many strong flavours otherwise they will over-power the meat.

King prawns marinated in chilli, lime and garlic cooked on the BBQ

King prawns marinated in chilli, lime and garlic

The length of time you need to leave a marinade will depend upon the size of the piece of meat. Small chunks of meat for threading onto skewers will only need a couple of hours, but a joint of pork weighing several kilos will benefit from being left overnight in the fridge. A large cheaper cut of meat will definitely need marinating in something which includes an acid component, such as vinegar, lemon juice or red wine, as this will help break down the tougher fibres. Don’t add too much sugar or processed components, such as tomato ketchup, which have a high sugar content as they will tend to burn before the food is cooked.

Rubs are a mixture of dried herbs and spices with salt and sugar added. The salt adds flavour and the sugar helps give the meat that lovely caramelisation on the outside. The taste of the rub in its raw state will taste nothing like when it is cooked into a lovely rack of ribs. There are masses of BBQ rubs on the market but if you make your own you can tailor-make it to your own requirements. Sweet, savoury, hot, mild you are in control. Rubs are applied before the meat goes into the BBQ.

Lamb shoulder on the Traeger wood pellet grill rubbed with mint sauce, sea salt and ground black pepper

Lamb shoulder on the Traeger Wood Pellet Grill rubbed with mint sauce, sea salt and ground black pepper

Rubs don’t need to have a lot of ingredients; if you have a particularly tasty steak, such as rib eye or sirloin, just sea salt and ground black pepper is sufficient. Try putting on a rub before cooking and also adding a sauce just before the end of the cooking period for an extra level of taste. You can add a small amount of liquid, such as olive oil, to the dry ingredients to make a paste which will better stick to the meat. For a simple rub for lamb, just spread on a jar of concentrated mint sauce combined with a couple of grated garlic cloves, sea salt and ground black pepper.

Weber rub:

  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • 1tbsp salt
  • 1tbsp garlic powder
  • 1tbsp black pepper
  • 1tbsp paprika
  • 1tbsp onion powder
  • 1 teasp cayenne pepper
  • 1 teasp white pepper
  • 1 teasp cumin

Combine all ingredients and store for up to 6 months in an airtight jar.

Mackerel fillets cooked on the BBQ griddle with a soy sauce, lime, chilli and ginger dressing

Mackerel fillets with a soy sauce, lime, chilli and ginger dressing cooked on the BBQ griddle

Try Jamie Oliver’s marinade for chicken, which will leave your BBQ chicken with a subtle flavour and lovely caramalisation:

  • 1 orange; zest
  • 1 dried chilli; crumbled into small pieces
  • 1 ½ heaped teasp smoked paprika
  • 1 ½ teasp Dijon mustard
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 3 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 1 teasp olive oil
  • Sea salt and ground black pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and place in a plastic bag with the chicken. Massage the chicken so that all the pieces are coated and leave for 10 – 20 minutes. Don’t use this on large pieces of meat as there is too high a sugar content and it will burn.

This sauce is by the BBQ Pit Boys and is for all you serious chilli-heads; definitely not one for the faint-hearted!
Habanero Hell Fire Hot Sauce:

  • 40 habanero peppers; seeds and membrane removed
  • 4 serrano peppers; seeds and membrane removed
  • 2 – 3 jalapeno peppers; seeds and membrane removed
  • 10 whole garlic cloves
  • 1 cup distilled vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 – 4 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp treacle
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 teasp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp hot pepper sauce

Use gloves when handling the chillies and make sure you don’t touch your face; the juice will burn.

  1. Heat a shallow griddle on the BBQ over indirect heat to about 300F.
  2. Oil the bottom of the griddle; place on the peppers and garlic and coat in a little more oil.
  3. Place the lid on the BBQ and leave for 20 – 25 minutes.
  4. Remove and place in a blender with all the other ingredients; puree until smooth.
  5. Store in sterilised jars.

Watch the video showing Gourmet BBQ chef Richard Holden cooking Herb Encrusted Leg of Lamb on the Weber Rotisserie attachment.



For more BBQ hints, tips and recipes head to our youtube channel.