I Use This 5-Ingredient Marinade on Literally Everything I Grill|Recipes Spots

I Use This 5-Ingredient Marinade on Literally Everything I Grill

grilled chicken on the grill
Simply Recipes / Myo Quinn

Every summer I look forward to the week I get to spend on Lake Huron, at my husband’s family’s cottage. Three generations gather, whiling away the long hot days dipping in the lake, kayaking, and lounging on the sand. 

After many visits to the cottage, I’ve learned that—especially for a big crowd with picky kids—simple meals are best. It’s tough to cook in bulk and satisfy everyone’s taste preferences. (One time I made our nephew cry because I added Parmesan cheese on his spaghetti. What kid doesn’t like cheese!)

We take turns preparing meals, which I love because it’s also the only time that I, as an apartment-bound New Yorker, get unlimited access to a grill. So I take advantage—grilled Korean marinated short ribs, a couple of fat eggplants for a smoky dip along with grilled flatbreads, and halved peaches made juicy by the fire. 

For the crowd, I lean on simply grilled chicken or tender grilled steaks—it’s always a hit.

grilled chicken on a white platter
Simply Recipes / Myo Quinn

Since the cottage is shared amongst my husband’s relatives, the pantry is a mishmash, and I can’t reliably find ingredients I need at the local grocery store. 

These are the circumstances in which I developed this super simple five-ingredient marinade. It ensures a tasty grilled meat (any kind!) with just the right balance of tang and smoke. Best of all, I can easily find all of the ingredients, and marinate whatever meat we have in the fridge for the grill in a matter of minutes, just before I head out to the lake for a quick dip before dinner.

5 ingredients to make marinade
Simply Recipes / Myo Quinn

The Easiest 5-Ingredient All-Purpose Marinade For Grilling

Here are the ingredients I use for two pounds of meat:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 1/3 tablespoons chili powder

In a zip-top bag or container large enough to hold the meat, combine all of the ingredients and mix thoroughly. 

Salt and pepper the meat and submerge it in the marinade. Chill it in the refrigerator for 2 to 6 hours until ready to grill.

Marinade in zip top bag with chicken
Simply Recipes / Myo Quinn

Make the Marinade Yours

Since this simple marinade relies on pantry staples, it’s easy to substitute or add ingredients based on your personal preferences.

If I’m out of soy sauce, I’ll use Worcestershire sauce for a similar umami note, or add a bit more richness and color by substituting half of the apple cider vinegar with balsamic vinegar. 

Also, throw in whatever spices will work well with your meal, like cumin and oregano for a Mexican spin, or gochugaru and ground ginger for a Korean kick.

Chicken marinating in zip top bag
Simply Recipes / Myo Quinn

Use the Marinade on Anything, Really

While my go-to proteins for this marinade are bone-in chicken thighs and breasts and steak—both are delicious grilled—it’s equally tasty when used to marinate veggies like eggplant, peppers, and mushrooms, or to pack tons of flavor into sliced firm tofu. 

Make a big batch of the marinade and fridge it for up to a week, so you can baste it onto grilled kebabs, pork chops, or shrimp skewers.

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