Add flavor with marinades

One of poultry’s selling points is its mild flavor, which marries well with all sorts of other ingredients. A second plus is its low fat content. The only time those attributes can become a drawback is when you broil or grill skinless pieces. Without added fat, the meat can become tough and dried out. Without a sauce, accompanying vegetables or other flavor enhancers, the poultry can be quite bland.

Marinades can remedy both situations. These flavorful liquids, which don’t need a speck of fat to be delicious, infuse poultry with big flavor and help it stay moist during cooking. White meat does best with light-tasting mixtures; dark meat can take something a bit stronger.


Mix the marinade in a glass or other nonreactive dish, add the poultry pieces and turn them to coat them all over. Refrigerate for at least an hour; flip the pieces occasionally. To cook, remove the pieces from the dish and grill or broil as usual. Baste often with the leftover liquid, then discard whatever remains. (If there’s enough marinade left and you want to turn it into sauce, boil it for a few minutes to kill any bacteria that might be present from the raw meat.)


Below are a few sample combinations that may inspire you to create blends of your own.




  • Orange juice, tomato puree, honey, grated orange peel, minced garlic, chopped thyme and ground black pepper.
  • Lemon juice, minced garlic, chopped oregano and snipped chives.
  • Yogurt, chopped mint, minced garlic and hot-pepper sauce.
  • White wine vinegar, chopped basil, minced shallots and ground black pepper.
  • Lime juice, yogurt, curry powder and minced garlic.
  • Buttermilk, ground cumin, ground ginger, turmeric, chopped coriander and minced garlic.
  • Chicken stock, orange juice, soy sauce, grated ginger and five-spice powder.

Grilled Lemon-Lime Turkey

You’d never guess the secret ingredient in this dish: lemon-lime soda. It’s used as a marinade and adds a pleasant hint of tartness and sweetness to grilled turkey breast.

Extra health benefits: better blood pressure, stronger immunity
Times: Prep: 10 min.; Chilling: at least 2 hr.; Grilling: 1 1/4 hr.; Standing: 10 min.
Makes: 8 servings

Per serving:

Calories 141 cal.
Fat 2.1 g. (14% of calories)
Dietary fiber 0 g.
Cholesterol 68 mg.
Sodium 113 mg.
  • 1 bone-in turkey breast half (2 pounds)
  • 1 1/2 cups or 1 can (12 ounces) sugar-free lemon-lime soda
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder cups hot cooked rice

Rinse the turkey and pat dry with paper towels. Place in a large self-closing plastic bag. In a small bowl, stir together the soda, oil, soy sauce, horseradish and garlic powder. Pour the soda mixture over the turkey in the bag. Seal the bag and marinate the turkey in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, turning the bag occasionally.

To prepare the grill for cooking, spray the unheated grill rack with no-stick spray. Then light it according to the manufacturer’s directions. Place the rack on the grill. (If using a charcoal grill, place a foil pan in the center of the fire box to catch the drippings. Arrange the hot coals around the pan.)

Remove the turkey from the bag and discard the marinade. Place the turkey, skin side up, on the rack. (If using a charcoal grill, make sure the turkey is over the drip pan, not over the coals.) Insert a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the breast. Cover and grill for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours or until the thermometer registers 170 degrees F to 175 degrees and the turkey is no longer pink in the center. Loosely cover with foil and let stand for 10 minutes before slicing. Remove and discard the skin before serving. Serve with the rice.

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