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Cooking: Rubs, Marinades, Bastes and Glazes

There are all sorts of different recipes to enhance the flavors of meat, these are predominantly used when grilling ("barbequing" to those outside of the US). But have you ever wondered what the difference is between a rub, a marinade and a baste? Here is a brief guide to the differences:


A rub is all about flavor and nothing else. It's used to enhance the flavor of the meat and poultry you're grilling. A spice or herb mixture is rubbed over the meat, usually just prior to grilling. There are two different kinds of rubs:

A dry rub is a combination of herbs and spices that are mixed together and then rubbed over the meat. A dry rub develops a crust on the meat during cooking, sealing in the moisture.

All Purpose Dry Rub

A wet rub, or sometimes referred to as a spice paste, starts the same way as a dry rub but has the addition of a liquid such as water, oil, fruit juice or yogurt, to create a thick paste which is then rubbed on the meat.

Fresh Herb Rub


The main difference between a marinade and a rub, is that a marinade has two purposes. The first is to tenderize the meat, and the second is to add flavor. Marinades are used especially when using inferior cuts of meat.

A marinade is made up of several components including oil which is used to help keep the meat moist, an acid liquid such as vinegar or citrus juice to help tenderize, as well as herbs and spices for flavoring.

For the meat to be tenderized, it is usually marinated between 1 hour and 48 hours prior to cooking.

Marinated Lamb

Marinated Shrimp

Steak Marinade

Rosemary, Lemon, and Garlic Marinade


Bastes are liquid solutions that are applied to the meat during the cooking process. A baste generally contains some oil to keep the meat moist, and to seal in the juices.


A glaze is a sugar based solution, usually applied at the end of cooking to create a sweet flavored crust.

Grilled Fruit Kebabs

Posted on June 25, 2007

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