Grilling With Liquor for Beginners

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Plates on a table outside with man in backgroundWith summer right around the corner, our grills have probably been used once or twice this season already (shoot, some of us never fully shut them down for the winter!).

As I began to grill myself in my younger years, I encountered folks who had their own unique ways of using liquor to jazz up the meats they cooked. Still, many people never even bother trying to marinate, or otherwise beef up their….beef. So I thought I’d give 3 ways to marinating your meats with Grandpa’s Cough Medicine of various sorts, for a similar cost as your usual marinades.

First, this is an old family secret and I’ve come to realize lots of people have never tried it, mostly because of their unfamiliarity with the booze. You know Vermouth, that wine-based bitter/herbal stuff that they add to Martinis? Grab a cheap bottle (probably $6), and put it in a spray bottle.

Once your spray bottle is ready, dry-rub your steaks with salt and pepper, massage a lot of each deep down in the meat. Then get your steaks started on the grill, and as they start sweating, give them 3-4 sprays of the vermouth. After you flip them, give them 3-4 more. Spray more as necessary. You’ll find this adds a really lively flavor profile to your steaks (subtly herbal), and while you should take care not to let your Martini vermouth get too old, your steak vermouth can sit around all season. It tastes great throughout.

Marinade #2 is more of a plan-ahead affair, and one for the pork lovers. In your favorite marinating bag, toss in some pork chops (bone-in of course, and preferable not frozen). Then grab a $10 bottle of Bloody Mary mix – Zing Zang is easy to find and one of my favorites – and dump it in the bag. Let your chops rest in the fridge overnight and pull them straight on the grill when you’re ready for ‘em.

Finally, a marinade I’ve alluded to before here at the Burn Blog! – using Tanteo Jalapeno Tequila to marinade chicken fajitas. In your marinade bag, splash in olive oil, salt, pepper, and a good 5-6 oz of Tanteo. I prefer to use chicken thighs for my fajitas, and they tend to dry out less when you’re using a hard liquor marinade.

Hopefully, I’ve given you some new and creative ideas to incorporate booze into your meat cooking this summer – let me know your preferred marinades!

Greg Mays is the Managing Editor of

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Cocktail Editor | Greg is the classic cocktail aficionado and recipe developer at Simple Cocktails, his “place for the intimidated home bartender to shed some fear.”

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