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How to Add Flavor Before Grilling

How much marinade do you need for those four half-pound steaks and six chicken breasts? Too much and the food will be overwhelmed; too little and you won’t know it’s there. Here are some basic guidelines for getting the balance right.

Mild Marinades and Rubs

For marinades or rubs based on mild liquids, such as coconut milk or oil, you’ll need about one cup for two to three pounds of meat, poultry, fish or shellfish.

Sweet or Strong Marinades

If there’s a high proportion of sugar or a pungent ingredient in the marinade (Tamarind Ketchup Glaze and Hunan Marinade), lightly brush the food you're grilling.

Spice Rubs

For dry rubs, allow one to two teaspoons for each serving of meat, fish or poultry.


Score the skin of chicken and fish to allow the flavor of spice rubs and marinades to permeate the flesh.

Published July 1996
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