Yes, with Labor Day in sight, we are approaching the end of that stretch in the year that is unofficially known as grilling season. But before you say bye-bye to the briquettes (or put away the propane tank), you need to round up the best marinades you can buy.
Whether you’re trying to ratchet up the vinegar kick on skinless chicken breasts or add a dash of acid (hello lime juice!) to those pork chops, trust us, there’s nothing that adds a better flavor to meat than a delicious marinade. Sure, following a recipe and whipping up your own simple marinade is one way you could go (mincing all. that. garlic.), but each of these ready-made versions is a simpler way to soften the meat and add serious flavor—without having to shop for a ton of ingredients.
Check the bottle to see how long to let your meat sit (the longer meat sits in a marinade, the more flavor it will absorb; the same holds true for tofu—but some marinades are more acidic and might start “cooking” raw meat or seafood if it sits too long). May of these marinades also make great sauces when the meat is actually grilled—just set some aside before you add the raw protein for its flavor bath.
Related Reading: Dry Rubs Are Another Great Option for Grilling
All the cool kids are talking about turmeric—it’s an Indian spice that’s said to fight inflammation. So add this citrusy cocktail—which is also Whole30-compliant—to shrimp or fish before you throw it on the grill.Buy Now
Paleo acolytes love this line. But even if you’re eating carbs, dunk your chicken wings in this finger-licking sauce before they hit the grill, and you’ll get a game-day snack that’s better than any sports bar’s version. For real. (If you can’t wait for it to come back in stock, snag it directly from The New Primal site.)Buy Now
We’re just going to say it: Chicken breast is boring. But adding this lemony, garlicky marinade is a simple way to make even a bland chicken breast sing with flavor when grilled. (You can get it cheaper directly from the Tessamae’s site.)Buy Now
You don’t have to wait until Taco Tuesday to make the best carne asada of your life. Just add this jalapeño and garlic mixture to a slab of steak and let it sit for 30 minutes. Then grill it up, and get ready to fall deeply in love.Buy Now
Add some serious zing to your chicken or shrimp before it hits the grill with this Italian-leaning sauce that’s got all the best flavors (praise be garlic and rosemary). No more sad chicken dinners!Buy Now
The lemony dill flavors in this marinade were made for summertime grilling—even if you don’t own a home in the Mediterranean. Just soak some salmon in this savory sauce before getting your grill on (and see the best fish to grill for more things to use it on).Buy Now
Pining for a trip to Jamaica? Get a taste of the island at home with this authentic jerk sauce that has some serious kick thanks to scotch bonnet peppers. Throw it on chicken before tossing the bird over an open flame.Buy Now
Chicken breasts, pork, and beef will get a whole new life thanks to this sweet (that’s the pears and apples) and tangy Korean sauce. Bulgogi literally means “fire meat” in Korean, so, well, you know what to do.Buy Now
Some of the best BBQ in Austin comes from Stubb’s, and now you don’t have to travel to the Texas town (or wait in line) to get that smoky sweet flavor anytime you want it. Add this guy to anything from pork chops to ribs and let the chiles, lime, and ginger take over.Buy Now
Garlic lovers will rejoice over this flavor-packed marinade and sauce (it also has sesame, pear, citrus, sake, jalapeños, and gochujang) that’s deadly on chicken and steak, in a good way. Just make sure you don’t have plans to kiss anyone who might mind garlic breath because, well, you will have garlic breath. And it’ll be worth it.Buy Now
Love Vietnamese food? This punchy Omsom starter sauce and marinade infuses your meat (or shrimp, or tofu) with lemongrass, fish sauce, garlic, and soy for super-flavorful protein you can grill, broil, or char in a skillet on the stove. And don’t miss the other two flavors inspired by Thai and Filipino cuisine; these versatile and delicious sauces are fabulous additions to your pantry staples even after grilling season winds down.Buy Now