Advice Needed for Barbecuing Meat

Updated on July 01, 2010
S.K. asks from Bothell, WA
24 answers

In the past, we have only barbecued hamburgers and hot dogs, but this summer, we would like to expand our meal ideas for the grill. My questions are what kind of steak and chicken parts are the best to get for barbecuing and what is the best way to marinate or get them ready for the grill? We have tried some steak rubs and marinades from the store, but they were either too salty or did not make the meat tender. We are looking for something that will also not break the bank! Any advice is appreciated. Thank you!

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answers from New York on

chicken legs and thighs are good for grilling b/c they tend not be dry out and are cheaper than breasts. A low-sodium, healthy easy marinade is white wine, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil. Put all in big ziploc bag w//chicken and marinade in fridge overnight.

Also- for making red meat super tender- a good trick is to add a tiny bit of fresh ground up kiwi to the marinade. It is an awesome tenderizer. You can use about 1/4 of one kiwi for a lb of meat or so. Mix with soy sauce, garlic and sesame oil for quick and easy marinade or just add to a pre-made BBQ sauce.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Albuquerque on

You could skewer up some chicken or steak along with veggies and marinate them in italian dressing. Yumm!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Don't bother with the marinades, they are expensive. Use a salad dressing instead! Italian works great. And I just lay the meat into the dressing and after a bit flip it so the other side gets a good dose. Hope that helps.

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answers from Los Angeles on

I love to grill and the two simplest and inexpensive, but tastey things I do are london broil and chicken. I can usually find boneless, skinless chicken breasts on sale for around 1.99/ lb. and london broil is also usually on sale for under two dollars a pound... just check your local store ads and stock up when someone has it on sale. I usually buy several pounds at a time and split it up and freeze it to use later. For the chicken, Lawry's makes a 30 minute marinade that is pretty resonable. They have several different flavors. I love the Mesquite one. For the london broil, I usually sprinkle the meat with a seasoned meat tenderizer (be careful not to use too much because it will make it more salty), then I make a marinade using

1 clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

Mix everything together and pour it over the meat. I'd let it marinate several hours or overnight if you can. If you can't it still tastes great even if it has only been on for thirty minutes, the meat just may not be quite as tender.
After you grill the steak, cut it into thin strips against the grain of the meat.

This marinade works well on any other kind of steak too.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

For steak: Rib Eye is the best, and soft/tender.

Chicken: I used boneless chicken thighs. Breasts are too dry.
Bone-in chicken, will take longer to cook. Too long for my patience.

For Marinating: I use "Ponzu" sauce. Or Teriyaki sauce. It is a Japanese sauce that you can buy in a bottle. I marinate all my meats in a Ziplock bag... add a little olive oil so the meat does not get dried out on the grill... and then on the grill, I sprinkle some sea salt.
Marinate the meats in the Ziplock... the longer the better. At least 4 hours.

"Rubs" for me, it too dry. I prefer marinating.

For veggies on the grill, just cut them up in chunks (not too small or they will get too soft on the grill), and then put them in a Ziplock bag with extra virgin olive oil. Toss it around while in the bag. Put it on the grill and sprinkle with salt to taste.

You can also grill a whole tomato. It is real good. Just coat it in a Ziplock with some olive oil, and sprinkle with sea salt.

For fruit, pineapple is good grilled. Just slice a fresh pineapple, and put it on the grill.
"Clementine" oranges are also GREAT grilled. Just peel it, leave it whole, and put it on the grill. Grill it until is is browned or has grill marks on it. It gets REAL sweet and yummy.
Also good for grilling is: short ribs. Marinate it as I mentioned above. Real good.

all the best,

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Medford on

What a fun question! We are entertaining this idea as well. My husband is hands-down the best marinador we know. He does all sorts of different things. I will list some tips:
1. Stay away from rubs (except when smoking your meat).
2. Use BBQ sauce, worchestersire (however that is spelled), soy sauce, garlic, etc...whatever combo sounds good. My husbands favorite Marinade is Masterpiece (any flavor).
3. Add some Coke to your maridade. That's right, good ol coke-a-cola. It tenderizes the meat.
4. Marinade at least 24-hours for the tenderist most flavorful steaks.
5. Pick your steak carefully. We only buy Petite serloin or top serloin because of the price, but make sure you pick them carefully. We love New York and Rib-eye, but it has to really be on sale!
6. Tri-tip is great also, you can get it already marinaded at the counter, or if you have a grocery outlet they have them there for a really good price.
7. I haven't BBQed chicken yet (always nervous), we usually smoke our chicken...however I have been curious, so I asked around. The consensous is that you can either bake the chicken with a little salt, pepper, garlic for 30 minutes at 350 and then grill it about ten minutes while basting it with BBQ sauce...OR some say you can throw it straight on the grill, but it takes longer more like an hour or so..."low and slow" meaining put your charcoal (assuming thats what you are using) at the lowest level on the grill and let it take its time cooking. My friend's dad said that chicken is a 3-beer cook (its done when he has finished 3 beers :)).
8. Drum sticks take the longest to cook.
9. invest in a meat thermometer. They run about $6.00 at safeway and they relieve a lot of the stress of not knowing if your meat is safe to eat.
10. DON'T OVER COOK YOUR STEAK!!! NO matter what you do before
hand, it will be dry and tasteless if you overcook it!
11. Make some ice tea and enjoy the sun!!!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

You can also grill in tin pans if you want to make it easier. Two very easy things are sausage and peppers and roasted potatoes. You can leave them on there for a while and sit and enjoy yourself :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

A great thing to marinate in is either wine or beer, even if you don't drink alcohol. The alcohol starts the breakdown process of the fibers in the meat and makes it tender. If you don't like the flavor of wine, use beer. Your meat doesn't taste like beer, I promise! I just pour beer on all sides of the meat and season it too, then let it sit either overnight in the fridge or at least a few hours.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

McCormick grillmates are SO yummy!! They come in envelopes near the spices. There are all different flavors, but our favorite is zesty herb. It works well with chicken breasts or pork chops!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Austin on

We grill almost every day that we cook, even in the winter.. It is so mild here we can get away with it..
Do you have an gas grill?
Does it have a top rack?

We mostly eat chicken breast, steaks and skirt steak for fajitas.sausage and .. Sometimes, we will cook good thick pork chops and we love grilling salmon and veggies.. I have an awesome brisket recipe that you actually roast in hour oven then finish up on the grill. It is to die for..

Heat the grill on high for about 10 minutes.
We purchase Chicken breast on the bone. Salt and pepper.
Place on the top rack of grill. Close the lid and turn heat down to med. Cook for 20 minutes.. DO NOT LIFT THE LID. It will be perfect every time! Let it sit on the plate for about 5 minutes to finish cooking.

This chicken is now good as is, or shredded for fajitas.. Great on salads.. or for chicken salad.

BBQ chicken cut up a whole chicken s/p cook as above but, 15 minutes into the cooking, spread BBQ sauce on all of the pieces and close lid and cook another 5 minutes.

Depending on what types of steaks you purchase, the thicker the more tender. NY strip, Prime Rib.. it will need some good marbling..

I agree that McCormicks. "Grill Mates, Montreal Steak seasoning" Is the best. Season both sides of the steak with seasoning, let the steaks, rest at room temp for the 15 minutes. Pre heat grill on high. Place steaks on bottom grill over flames, turn down heat to med. Cook on first side for 4 to 6 minutes, flip the meat and close cover, continues to cook meat for 4 to 6 minutes, med.rare, 8 to 10 minutes, for med.. and longer for well done.. .

We LOVE our grill.. It keeps the house cooler not having to turn on the stove or oven all summer long..



answers from Dallas on

To keep chicken breasts from drying out - we figured out that after you grill the chicken breast until it is almost done place it in a foil pouch for a few more minutes - it is juicy and tender!

Don't put salt on meat until it almost cooked - the salt dries out the meat. Marinades make a big difference. Depending on the marinade, it can be for just an hour or overnight. The thicker the cut the better. You can place a metal bowl over the meat to help cook the thick cut and also retain the juice.

Grilled bell peppers, red onion, zucchini, squash & mushrooms sprinkled with seasoned salt is awesome! Using a tin pie pan is helpful with grilling veggies and fish too.



answers from Richland on

To marinade chicken I love this recipe from recipe Zaar -

My husband cooks the chicken (boneless skinless chicken breast) really slow and it's never dry, he does a great job.



answers from Portland on

We like to use a rub and just pour a little on and gently push it into the surface, especially with steak. I also like good old fashioned Worcestershire sauce. It isn't very expensive and a little goes a long way. Poke some holes in the steak on both sides with a fork, pour the sauce on and let sit for about 5 minutes, turn it over and do the same. We then add a little salt and pepper to taste and grill.

For steak, look at the packaging, it often gives hints or tips on grilling and marinates. In one of the corners on the front, there is a little sticker about cooking directions and which steaks are best for grilling. I find this to be very helpful.

Happy grilling,



answers from Richland on

I take a chicken breast, a foil pack (I take about 3 ft of tin foil, fold in half, fold in half again, roll both sides so it looks like an envelope) put in 1 chicken breast, and bbq sauce, or italian dressing and cover chicken. fold both sides down enough to leave a "vent" in the foil. Place on Bbq, flip once during cooking. Make sure you have a thermometer to check if its done. It will be the juciest chicken you will ever have!! We never cook chicken on the bbq a different way now. Hope that helps.



answers from Seattle on

So here is my new all time favorite way to cook chicken and it is inexpensive, easy and delish!

using a whole chicken - butterfly it. Basically take out the backbone and the whole chicken lays out like two halves of a chicken - just search it on google and you will find lots of info on how to do it. It sounds hard, but so easy.

6 hours before cooking - brine the chicken in 1/4 sugar, 1/4 kosher salt and 1 gallon of water. I put it all in a 2.5 gallon zip lock bag.

make a basting sauce - 1/4 olive oil, one whole lemon juiced, the zest of that lemon, chopped fresh basil, 1 clove of minced garlic, lots of fresh cracked black pepper or just use any seasonings you like. Mix it all together and set aside. I like to make this ahead of time too because the flavors infuse the oil. No need to add salt because the brine kind of does that, but doesn't make it salty at all.

Take chicken out of brine, rinse it and pat it dry. Turn on the grill to about 350-375 using indirect heat(using the outer burners only). Baste the chicken once, then put it on the grill inside of the chicken down, put the lid down. Baste about every 15 mins and try and keep the temp about 350-375 the whole time. cook for about 1 hour or until juices run clear (internal temp 165). you never need to flip the chicken or anything and when you use the indirect heat, it doesn't burn. Well, the inside part of the chicken gets a little charcoled, but doesn't affect the part you are eating.

The chicken is moist, flavorful and amazing. I make this all the time, especially for company and people are begging me for the recipe left and right. It is so easy and whole chickens are so inexpensive. Sometimes I do two at a time and freeze one chicken for later. I hate cutting the backbone out, so I get hubby to do that.



answers from Seattle on

We like flatiron steak. Great and alittle less expensive. not sure how much my husband alway picks it out.



answers from Seattle on

Ok, here is mine...have a few things we make on regular basis...
1. Chicken legs - I get a fresh pack from Costco - they come in, like, 4 packages for $10-15. For 4 people, I use 2 of them - I think it is about 12 legs. The other 2 packages, I freeze for another time. So, I rinse the legs and put them in a 9x13 pan, lined with foil. I sprinkle salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder - to taste. Then I "tent" the pan with foil and put in the oven for 1.5-2 hours on about 325. Check the legs with a thermometer to make sure they are done. My husband says to make sure that the chicken is pulling away from the bone at the thinnest part (that is when he says it is perfect). Once done in oven, put on grill (this is to finish and get the grill taste) and baste with sauce: during last 5 minutes of oven baking, mix 1/4 C Low Sodium soy sauce, 1/4 C butter in sauce pan and melt together. Baste on chicken on grill, turning a few times while basting. since the chicken is cooked, this takes about 15-20 minutes - like I said, my hubby likes it separating from the bone. Now, my daughter, who is 3, hates just about everything we eat, but she is like a feral animal over this.
2. Flank Steak or Flat Iron - marinate overnight in Kalbi sauce (can get at Fred Meyer in fresh meat case - or ask butcher). grill to desired doneness, but really is best at Med or Med rare. slice fairly thin and serve.
3. London Broil is a good one, you can cut and freeze half. Other half, marinate for 2 hours (really, longer the better) in equal part Newmans own Italian and red wine. Grill as with flank steak and slice thin.

Good luck!



answers from Pittsburgh on

We like to put pork tenderloin(s) on the grill. I buy the premarinated kind (either Smithfield or Aldi brand). Any chicken is great--boneless chicken can be used (it's all I buy) but it WILL dry out quickly if not marinated. Lawry's makes good marinades--teryaki is great--or at least marinate in italian dressing for an hour or so. My hubby cooks pork chops on the grill (but I think they get too dry and I prefer them in the oven) Of course steaks are good--look for sales!



answers from Seattle on

Chicken drums and thighs are inexpensive, we boil ours then sometimes marinate them before putting them on the grill to cut down on time, we also do the same thing with pork ribs. My mom buys the chicken breast from Costco and cooks them slow on the grill. She said they stay tender and moist. She was on a diet that only allowed her to eat chicken breast boiled, baked or grilled and this was the only way she could stand it. Pork tenderloins are a great, we sometimes buy them marinated, they are so good.



answers from Portland on

Boneless chicken breasts are good. And if you get the ones that come frozen in a big bag they can go from freezer to grill without thawing. Then you can just sprinkle with lemon pepper spice or anything else you like. I also like to marinate in Italian Salad Dressing. Cheap and a great marinade. And depending on how big your family is, a bottle will probably last you 2-3 meals.


answers from Kalamazoo on

Personally, I think it is hard to make steak tender on the grill unless you start out with a ribeye. We like grilled chicken legs/thighs. Another favorite is pork loin chops. I get a whole boneless pork loin on sale from time to time for like $1.79 a pound, which is way cheaper than already pre cut loin chops. I cut them fat, about an inch. Sometimes I by premade marinade on sale and sometimes I make my own. I marinade needs to consist of an oil (I use olive oil) and an acid (citrus juice, vinegar etc ) and spices and salts. A classic is simply evoo, lemon juice salt and pepper. Add parsley or anything else you can think of. You can spice it up with dried peppers etc. Italian Dressing also makes a good, simple and fast marinade, especially for the pork. And don't forget about the veggies!!! We love grilled zucc, yellow squash, eggplant, peppers, onions, cabbage - chop large and stir them around in a bowl with evoo, salt, pepper and parsley, oregano whatever!!! Big split chicken breast are good too, but a little tricky to make sure they are done in the middle without over cooking the outside because they are so thick.



answers from Portland on

We love to barbecue and do it alot. Well, my hubby does! But for marinades, you can do lime juice and cilantro with some minced garlic. Or just a good barbecue sauce. Or we have marinated chicken in teriyaki sauce. We make our own simple rub of brown sugar, paprika, cumin and garlic salt. And the trick is to put the marinade/rub in a ziploc bag and then the meat, and squish it all around and put it in the fridge overnight. If you are doing chicken on the bone, BBQ sauce is the best marinade, but for the rubs, you would use a good steak or boneless chicken breasts, or a good pork shoulder or pork butt is always delicious. And get a meat thermometer....overcooked meat is not good, even with a good rub! Have fun and experiment!


answers from Dallas on

Here's the key a lot of people don't know - let the meat come up to room temp before putting it on the grill. Otherwise the cold meat hits the hot grill and seizes up. That'll make the most expensive meat tough. It leads to burnt on the the outside, raw on the inside type scenarios too.
Since most commerical rubs, marinades, etc are too salty for your taste, you'll have to mix your own blends that are salt free. It's the salt itself that starts to break down the meat to tenderize. Most traditional bbq rubs have garlic, pepper, cumin, and paprika, usually a little cayenne, or chili powder too. Some offer reduced salt blends.
Marinate in anything acidic if you need to tenderize a tough cut of meat. (add seasonings to orange juice, oil and vinegar, coca cola, beer, soy saucewhatever ) The acid will break the meat down. Only for an hour. I find if you marinate too long, you get a mealy texture to your meat - gross. Do a teryaki chicken with orange and pineapple juices and soy sauce. Grill pineapple slices to go on top.
Chicken breasts are pretty, but unless you are really an expert, it's hard to cook them without drying them out. Much easier to make juicy flavorful legs and thighs. If using bbq sauce, don't put it on until the last 10 minutes. Boneless, skinless breasts do take marinade very well and cook up very quickly. You can flavor those any way you would in the house. Olive oil and italian seasoning. Lemon pepper. Mrs Dash. Motreal Chicken. Anything you like. Season the meat and set it to the side while the coals heat up.

We like to cook brats on the grill. (Bratwurst, not bad kids) Saute onions and peppers on the stove with a little beer. Soak the brats in beer. Grill and serve on a hoagie roll. Italian sausage links or hot links work well too.

Fish in a foil packet works well. I don't put it directly on the grate of the grill.
I like to do a skewer of shrimp for every steak. It makes a nice presentation
Also veggies are so good. My favorite is zuchini. I cut them length wise and marinate them in olive oil, salt, pepper, and italian seasoning. You can make corn still in the husk, just clean out the hair and wrap in foil.

Dont forget smores and banana boats!


answers from Seattle on

Another idea for the BBQ that is easy, cheap and is great for both adults and kids: Pizza on the grill.

buy POCKETLESS pitas (whole wheat or white)
put on the grill for about 1 minute - pull off
add your cheese/sauce/ onions.. whatever - on the side you just BBQ'd
Place back on the grill for 3-4 minutes (until heated)
serve hot!

A great alternative to hot-dogs and a favorite for anyone who is not a big meat fan. We added feta/tomatoes/basil or just plain cheese pizza on white sauce. It was fantastic!

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