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Marinades vs Rubs vs Glazes

The Barbecue season is almost upon us. For some people there is never a Barbecue season – it’s all year!

Whichever way you look at it, your Barbecue offerings will be interesting and tasty if you use a dry spice rub, marinade or glaze.

Every Barbecue Pit-master has their favorite. However, it is useful to remind ourselves of the difference between the three.

Pitmaster Recipes And Pitmaster Food

Rubs vs Marinades vs Glazes

Marinade: Best described as a liquid. It is a mixture of oil, spices, herbs and even wine. The food soaks in the marinade before barbecuing. This imparts flavor and helps to tenderize.

Mix the following to create a marinade.

  • Oil (Olive Canola Peanut Oils)
  • Acid (Citrus/Vinegar)
  • Sugar (Normally Brown sugars or molasses)
  • Salt (Kosher salt, Soy sauce )

Rub: Normally a mixture of spices, herbs, and seasonings. These coat the surface of the food. They will give flavor to the food but doesn’t tenderize. It also creates an attractive crust on the food.

Glaze: Liquid seasoning mixture applied directly during cooking and on completion. It is often glossy and gives a shiny finish. It is best drizzled over the food or applied with a brush.

Marinade Tips

  • Fish and seafood should not marinate for too long. A good time frame is 15–30 minutes before barbecuing.
  • Chicken: Usually two hours is the maximum time recommended for marinating chicken particularly when it is in pieces.
  • Beef, Pork, and Lamb: These marinate for longer times  1–12 hrs. Many recipes call for the meat to marinate in the fridge overnight
  • Vegetables: the dense kind i.e. sweet potato, carrots, turnip or fennel can marinate up to 4 hours. The softer kind should not be in the liquid for over 30 minutes.
  • It is not good hygiene practice, to use marinade that has been in contact with raw meat when barbecuing. Better to keep aside a small portion of the marinade to use.

Here is a Basic All Purpose Marinade Recipe to use on Meats /Chicken and Vegetables.


¼ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

¼ cup of Canola or Sunflower Oil

3 Garlic cloves–grated

3 Tablespoons Red wine Vinegar

2 Tablespoons Sugar

2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce

1 Tablespoon chopped fresh Thyme

1 Tablespoon Black Peppercorns

5 Dried Chilies (Dried are fairly strong so adjust to taste)

3 Bay Leaves

Combine all these ingredients and stir.


Dry Rub Tips

  • The main advantage is that they add no extra moisture to the outside of the meat.
  • Many barbecue pit masters prefer this as it results in a quick sear to the meat and caramelization to the crust.
  • Prefer a more liquid finish? Then brush a glaze over the meat after barbecuing.

Garlic and Herb Spice Rub

¼ cup Light Brown Sugar

¼ cup Kosher Salt

1 Tablespoon Ground Black pepper

1 Tablespoon Dried Oregano

1 Tablespoon Dried Parsley

1 Tablespoon Dried Basil

2 Tablespoon Dried Garlic powder

2 Teaspoon Dried Thyme

1 Teaspoon Lemon Zest

Mix all ingredients together. Add a small (teaspoon) amount of olive oil just to get the mix to stick together.

Glaze Tips:

  • Be careful to apply the glaze at the right time.
  • Most glazes are “barbecue sauce” which is sticky and tasty. The best time to apply the glaze is about 10 minutes before the meat or vegetables are done. This will allow caramelization but avoid burn.
  • Move the food to a cooler part of the grill gets too hot.

Basic BBQ Sauce for Glazing

These are ingredients that most people have in their kitchen cupboard.

½ half a cup of Ketchup/Tomato Sauce

¼ cup prepared Yellow Mustard

¼ cup Honey

Salt and Pepper to taste.

Mix all the ingredients together and warm.

The choice of how to impart extra flavor to your Barbecue is yours and yours alone. Many Cooks know that to get that perfect flavor, you need to layer.

A perfect marinade, dry your meat, add that perfect rub, then finish with your final sauce glaze.Keep experimenting to get that perfect result.


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