Here's Exactly When To Marinate Your BBQ

Summer's just about here and do you know what that means? It's time for grill-masters all over, from your father to your aunt to your next-door neighbor, to break out their flip-flops and delightfully tacky Hawaiian shirts, and get grilling. It's BBQ season, baby, and you better be ready to indulge in everything from burgers, chicken, ribs, and anything else that can be slathered in sauce.

But what makes the best grilled meat? It's a common question raised by many people. Marshall Cooper of Texas BBQ Posse claims that everything from smokiness to tenderness to a "good exterior bark" are all key elements of a good piece of BBQ meat. "The Naked Chef" Jamie Oliver offers 10 BBQ tips and puts an emphasis on getting the right fuel source and temperature to ensure that the meat is cooked well. In short, good BBQ isn't just some meat covered in liquid — there are certain elements that contribute to a truly good piece of BBQ meat.

One of those key elements is the marinade. A good marinade can help add flavor to even the driest cut of chicken or the toughest piece of beef. But when exactly should you add the marinade to the meat selection to get all that flavor and still have some mouthwateringly tender BBQ?

Try marinating your BBQ meat after they have been cooked

When you normally marinate something, it's usually before you put it on the grill or in the oven, right? Why would marinate your ribs after you just got done grilling them? According to Stacey Ballis of MyRecipes, doing this may seem out of the ordinary, but it actually has several benefits.

As Ballis explains, while marinade does add flavor to the meat, it's believed the sauce is only absorbed minimally by the meat and that acids in the marinade can actually "digest" the meat, leaving a mushy, slimy exterior. She also notes that, when placing your protein on the grate when it's soaked in sauce, the oily brine can drip down into your grill and create flames that can burn your meat, and also create a fire hazard if you're not careful.

By adding the marinade after you grill the meat, in contrast, the meat warms the marinade and brings out more flavor. Some of the juices also help to thicken the marinade to make what Ballis calls "instant sauce." Not only does this method create a perfect balance between meat and marinade, but the marinade is safe to use again if you so wish, as it hasn't been exposed to raw or uncooked meat.

In case you want to try this method, but feel a little rusty when it comes to marinade making, here 's how you can improve your marinade game.