Steven Raichlen's Barbecue! Bible

The Only Marinade You’ll Ever Need

Recipe from Steven Raichlen’s Barbecue Sauces, Rubs, and Marinades

If I could use only one marinade for the rest of my life, it would be this one. Redolent with garlic, piquant with fresh lemon juice, and fragrant with extra virgin olive oil, it instantly transports you to the Mediterranean. I can’t think of a single food that doesn’t taste better bathed in it. You can use it as both a marinade and a basting sauce. Before marinating poultry, meat, or seafood, simply set a portion aside for basting.

  • Yield: Makes 1 cup, enough for 1 pound of meat or seafood

  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked black peppercorns, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt (sea or kosher), or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed with the side of a cleaver or minced
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley, basil, oregano, dill, and/or cilantro
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Step 1: Combine the lemon zest, juice, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes (if using) in a nonreactive (glass, ceramic, or stainless steel) bowl and whisk until the salt crystals are dissolved.

Step 2: Stir in the garlic and herbs. Stir or whisk in the olive oil. The virtue of this marinade is its freshness: Use it within 2 hours of making. Stir again just before using.


This marinade goes great with everything, and I mean everything: poultry, seafood, beef, veal, pork, lamb, and vegetables. The larger the piece of meat, the longer you should marinate it.

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