Orange Marinades, Brines, and Glazes

First, about the difference between a brine and a marinade. The brine need only be salt and water—a lot of salt—and the brine period is long, to allow the salt to penetrate. A brine will keep your meat moist and tender. A marinade uses salt, too, but the focus is on the flavors it adds to the surface of meat. Marinating can be as short as 30 minutes and as long as several hours. I guess you could brine something overnight and then put it in a marinade prior to cooking. Anyway, I usually try to combine the two processes by using a good amount of salt plus a lot of flavoring ingredients—that’s why I often use the brine/marinade designation in my recipes.

After making ribs with a dry rub earlier this spring and lamenting how much sugar was in typical barbecue sauce, I took the advice of a reader to try fruit juice instead of those added sugars, resulting in the next batch of ribs I wrote about making for Memorial Day. In that recipe, I used both an overnight brine/marinade, and a glaze during the grilling. Here are those two recipes again:

Orange-Asian Brine/Marinade and Glaze

  • Servings: for 1-2 racks of ribs
  • Difficulty: easy
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Overnight brine/marinade:
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1 -2 tablespoons grated garlic
  • 1-2 tablespoons grated ginger
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil

Combine all ingredients and pour over ribs in large glass dish or in sealable plastic bags. I cut my rack in half and put each half in a plastic bag, dividing the marinade between them. Marinate in the refrigerator overnight, removing from refrigerator about 1/2 hour before cooking.

Orange-Asian Grilling Glaze:
  • 2 cups orange juice, reduced over medium-high heat to 1 cup
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 heaping teaspoon Huy Fong Vietnamese Chili Garlic sauce

After orange juice is reduced by half, remove to a measuring cup, then stir in other ingredients. Use to baste the ribs every 15 minutes on the grill.

So, then I still had a ton of orange juice left, because I bought the gallon jug. Next I used it in a brine for a whole chicken, which was roasted on the grill, in beer-can fashion, on my Weber chicken roaster component. It’s a much simpler recipe:

Orange-Beer Brine

  • Servings: brines a whole chicken
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 3 bottles (36 oz) beer—mine was Yuengling
  • 36 oz orange juice
  • 6 tablespoons kosher salt

Mix ingredients in smallest bowl or container that will hold your chicken. I used my 6 qt. stainless steel stockpot. Brine in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours—I went 36 hours. Remove the chicken 30 minutes prior to roasting to come to room temperature, seasoning the chicken with any sort of flavorings or rubs.

I still had plenty of orange juice left, so I marinated a pork tenderloin for about 6 hours, before cooking it indoors in a cast iron skillet. The honey in this marinade creates a nice glazed surface in the browning. As usual, I finish a pork tenderloin in the oven after browning.

Orange-Honey Marinade

  • Servings: 2 cups of marinade
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

Because of the shorter marinating time, I dissolved the salt in the honey and 1/2 cup of the orange juice over low heat. Then this mixture needs to cool in the refrigerator or freezer before adding to the rest of the orange juice. I used a sealable plastic bag for the marinating process.

Lastly, using up just about the rest of the orange juice, I marinated some skinless pheasant breasts in an orange-beer marinade, before cooking them on the grill. This was similar to my brine for a whole chicken, but less salty.

Orange-Beer Marinade

  • Servings: about 3 1/2 cups
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

1 bottle (12 oz) beer—mine was Yuengling

2 cups orange juice

2 tablespoons grated or minced garlic

2 tablespoons kosher salt

Mix all the ingredients and add to a sealable plastic bag with about 2 pounds of boneless poultry. Marinate for 2-3 hours.

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