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Here’s why each one matters. The acidic source weakens the meat proteins, leaving them tender and moist. Try creating a marinade based on wine, vinegar, citrus juice, beer, or yogurt. For a healthy fat, oil  or coconut milk  are good choices. Fat adds moisture and keeps the marinade mix from sticking to the grill as the meat cooks. For aromatics,  choose citrus zest, garlic, lemongrass, minced chiles, and/or herbs. Adding aromatics will infuse the meat with flavor.

Once you’ve got your mix, it’s time to apply it to the meat. Start by scoring the meat, then brushing on the marinade. Once the meat is thickly coated, place it in a plastic bag or in a large baking dish covered by plastic wrap to let the mix do its work. Flip the bag or stir the meat halfway through its soaking period to ensure overall distribution of the marinade. Remember to keep the meat and marinade in the refrigerator during this process to ensure proper food safety.

Feeling inspired? Try some of our favorite marinade recipes for beef, chicken, and seafood.

Beef

This classic Anchovy and Herb Marinade plays up the natural flavors of the steak, with a dash of zest.

This Orange Pale Ale Marinade recipe relies on the citrusy, hoppy flavor of beer to create an alluring, hearty taste.

In this unique spin on chilaquiles, steak gets a Cola marinade.

Marinated in soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil and garlic, this Korean Sizzling Beef is based on traditional  bulgogi seasonings.

Chicken

Drawing inspiration from the flavors of the Middle East, this Pomegranate Molasses and Mint Marinade is sweet and fresh.

Perfectly flavored for the summer season, this Cilantro and Lime Chicken Marinade is an easy-to-prepare crowd pleaser.

With the rich flavor of buttermilk accentuated by herbaceous notes, this Grilled Buttermilk Chicken makes an ideal outdoor meal.

This Jerk Marinade is sweet, spicy, and quintessentially Jamaican.

Seafood

Light, fresh, and perfect for seafood, this Green Chile and Ginger Marinade works for shrimp, fish, and any other ocean catches.

This umami-packed Soy and Lime Spicy Marinade was created for Grilled Shrimp but it’ll also pack a flavor punch for fish, too.

The marinade featured in this recipe for Grilled Garlic-and-Black-Pepper Shrimp is simple, classic, and mouthwateringly good.