A dip in chef Bill Kim's Asian or Latin grilling marinades add big flavor to everything from steak to squid.


"A good marinade does all the work for you," says Bill Kim. At his Chicago noodle and dumpling bar, Urbanbelly, and his Asian-and-Latin-inspired takeout shop, Belly Shack, the chef relies on marinades to make sure a dish always tastes the same, no matter which of his line cooks prepares it. Terrific marinades are critical for home kitchens too, he says, because they make seasoning so easy. In fact, he's been tinkering with new recipes to find a few worthy of bottling and will introduce his first, an Urbanbelly soy-balsamic vinaigrette, this summer. Here, he shares other favorite grilling marinades inspired by his Korean mother, his travels through Asia and even his Puerto Rican mother-in-law.

Spicy Thai Marinade with Basil and Cilantro for Spicy Thai Steak

Spicy Thai Marinade with Basil and Cilantro.

© Tina Rupp

Chef Bill Kim likes to use this spicy, citrus-scented marinade on steak, but it's also great on chicken and shrimp.

Marinade Ingredients:

Spicy Sambai Oelek

Sambal Oelek This fiery sauce, made from fresh red chiles, adds heat to marinades. Photo courtesy of Huy Fong Foods

Fish Sauce

Fish Sauce Popular in Southeast Asia, this pleasantly funky sauce has a rich, salty flavor. Photo © Kate Mathis.

Citrus-and-Soy Marinade for Citrus-Soy Squid

Citrus-and-soy Marinade.

© Tina Rupp

This marinade is Kim's version of ponzu, a Japanese sauce made with soy sauce and citrus. Here he uses mirin, a sweet Japanese rice wine, and yuzu, a floral citrus.

Puerto Rican–Style Marinade for Puerto Rican–Style Turkey

Puerto Rican-Style Turkey Cutlets.

© Tina Rupp

The inspiration for this garlicky marinade was lechón, a slow-roasted Puerto Rican pork dish Kim learned from his mother-in-law. In a twist, he also uses it on turkey cutlets.

Marinade Ingredients:


Curry The sweet spice blend adds depth to a classic Puerto Rican marinade. Photo © Kate Mathis.

White Vinegar

Vinegar Acidic ingredients like vinegar help a marinade penetrate meat. Photo courtesy of Heinz.


Video: Terrific Marinade Ideas from Star Chefs

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