best marinade to buy
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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

Primal Kitchen Lemon Turmeric Vinaigrette & Marinade with Avocado Oil, $5.99 from Thrive Market

Primal Kitchen Lemon Turmeric Vinaigrette & Marinade with Avocado Oil

Primal Kitchen

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

The New Primal Noble Made Medium Buffalo Sauce, $4.89 from Thrive Market

The New Primal Noble Made Medium Buffalo Sauce

Noble Made by The New Primal

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

Tessemae’s Lemon Garlic Dressing & Marinade, 2 for $19.21 from Amazon

Tessemae's Lemon Garlic Dressing & Marinade


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

Frontera Carne Asada Marinade for Steak with Jalapeño and Garlic, 6 for $20 from Walmart

Frontera Carne Asada Marinade for Steak with Jalapeño and Garli

Frontera Foods/Facebook

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

Stonewall Kitchen Garlic Rosemary Citrus Sauce, $7.95 from Stonewall Kitchen

Stonewall Kitchen Garlic Rosemary Citrus Sauce

Stonewall Kitchen

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

Legal Sea Foods Lemon Dill Marinade & Dressing, $5.99 from Stonewall Kitchen

Legal Seafood lemon dill marinade

Stonewall Kitchen

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

Walkerswood Jerk Marinade, $13.99 from Amazon

Walkerswood jerk marinade

World Market

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

Korean Bulgogi BBQ Sauce, 2 for $24.95 from Walmart

Korean BBQ bulgogi marinade

World Market

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

Stubb’s Pork Marinade, $14.39 from Walmart

Stubb's Pork Marinade


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

Roy Choi Garlic Everything Sauce, $9.99 from Williams Sonoma

Roy Choi Garlic Everything Sauce

Williams Sonoma

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

Omsom Lemongrass BBQ Starter Sauce, 3 for $12 from Omsom

Omsom lemongrass BBQ sauce


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

Everything Else You Need to Know

Our Top Grilling Tips, Techniques, Tricks, and Tools for the Best BBQ Ever
Julie Vadnal is a writer and founder of the newsletter JULES. Her work has appeared in Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Esquire, Glamour, and Real Simple. Follow her on Instagram at @julievadnal.
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