12 Cheap Rubs and Marinades for Summer Barbecues

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ingredients for bbq rub on cutting board
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Pulling out the grill and throwing a barbecue for friends and family is the quintessential summer pastime. Even without premium cuts of meat, fancy equipment, and expert know-how, it's easy to turn out delicious grilled dishes with the right combination of ingredients. New grillers should first check out the basics of marinating from Anne Livingston and advice from The Nest on using dry rubs. Then try one of these 12 cheap homemade marinades and rubs for summer cookouts.


Easy Coffee Rub
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Coffee has many more uses than waking people up in the morning. The rich aroma and undertone of coffee grounds can add incredible flavor to the chef's choice of meat (beef, lamb, duck, or chicken thighs). Besides coffee grounds, all that's needed are kosher salt and ground pepper. 

Recipe: Eating Well

Photo credit: stockcreations/shutterstock

What meat eater doesn't love baby back pork ribs? Everyone will be licking their fingers with this simple dry rub, rated an average of 4.5 stars by more than 400 people. The ingredients can be found in most kitchens: brown sugar, paprika, salt, ground pepper, and garlic powder.

Recipe: Allrecipes

Game Day Wings
Photo credit: Brent Hofacker/shutterstock

Enjoy these wings even when there's no game on TV. For wings that are wet like Buffalo wings, make a sauce by adding olive oil, garlic, and hot sauce to the spice mix.

Recipe: Guy Fieri

Caribbean-Style Jerk Rub
Photo credit: elena moiseeva/shutterstock

For plenty of spice, consider a Caribbean-style dry rub. The recipe calls for chicken, but don't be afraid to experiment with pork ribs, duck breast, or turkey meat.

Recipe: Epicurious

Garlic, Basil, and Lemon Marinade for White Fish
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Move over ribs and wings, and make way for a white fish marinade that's simple but packed with flavor. It can also be used for chicken, shrimp, and scallops (for which marinating time will vary).

Recipe: Kalyn's Kitchen

Tuscan Rosemary Garlic Rub
Photo credit: Gayane/shutterstock

If pasta and meatballs can't go on the grill, try the next best thing: a Tuscan-inspired rosemary garlic rub perfect for chicken, pork, or even potatoes. A few reviewers said they used less salt and added lemon (juice or zest) and oregano for even more herbal flavor.

Recipe: Allrecipes

Asian Barbecue Chicken Marinade
Photo credit: daystarphoto/flickr.com

Billed as "chicken teriyaki with a South Asian flair," this recipe starts with classic ingredients: soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, scallions, garlic, and curry powder.

Recipe: Once Upon a Chef 

Sriracha Marinade
Photo credit: Brent Hofacker/shutterstock

Sriracha is a must-have at dining tables now, and a crowd pleaser at barbecues, too. Delight hot-sauce-loving fiends with an easy sriracha marinade that works with grilled meat or seafood, and set aside a bit to brush on during grilling.

Recipe: Genius Kitchen

Lemon Pepper Salt Rub
Photo credit: Jozef Sowa/shutterstock

For those who love extra lemon flavor, it doesn't get better (or easier) than a three-ingredient recipe that works well on a steak, chicken, or fish.

Recipe: Epicurious

Curry Rubbed Pork Chops
Photo credit: farbled/shutterstock

Ribeye and chicken wings won't be the only stars at the cookout when joined by curry-rubbed pork chops treated with spices already in the kitchen (curry powder, garlic powder, ground coriander, and ground ginger).

 Recipe: Frugal Chef

Garlicky White Wine Grilled Shrimp
Photo credit: marysckin/shutterstock

All compliments will go to the grill master who serves these garlicky white wine shrimp skewers. But crustaceans can be expensive, so consider adding grilled vegetables to the skewers to make the shrimp go further. Serve with sides of steamed rice and buttery corn.

Recipe: Food & Wine

Simple and Easy Grilled Salmon
Photo credit: bitt24/shutterstock

Salmon lovers can rejoice with this quick recipe for tangy fillets. A few reviewers mentioned reducing the amounts of brown sugar and soy sauce to make it healthier.

 Recipe: Allrecipes

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