Our Favourite BBQ marinades, sauce and salsa recipes

Our Favourite BBQ marinades, sauce and salsa recipes

That little blast of heat the other week got us rushing to the garden centre for charcoal and firing up the BBQ at Parva HQ, we love cooking al fresco with a beer or two.

We raised our BBQ game some years back when we started making our own burgers, kebabs, sausages, marinades, sauces and relishes instead of buying flat stamped rubbish in the superist of markets. I encourage you to do the same. With just a little foresight you can enjoy superior tasting food from your grill. 

I'm sharing some of my favourite recipes here for you to enjoy. Most marinades will work in two hours but (with the exception of fish) if you can give them longer it will show in the results. There is an art to barbecuing and I'm sharing these recipes with the assumption (I know....) that you know how to cook on a barbie properly. Not wishing to be preachy but if you don't understand how to use the oven then how can you expect to get good results? I posted a BBQ tips and tricks article a good while ago, seek it out! 

Moroccan Ras al Hanout Marinade
This is really good for lamb but will work with fish, bird or meat. Makes about 120ml or enough for 1kg of aforementioned meats etc. 

3 tbsp Ras al Hanout 
Zest of 2 lemons
1 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp natural yogurt
3 tbsp chopped coriander
3 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tbsp chopped mint 

Combine all the marinade ingredients together in a bowl, mixing well. Apply to chosen main ingredient and leave in the fridge. 

After grilling items with this marinade we like to add freshly squeezed lemon juice. 

Thai Green Chilli Marinade
I love this marinade, even if I am occasionally guilty of adding too many chillies. The flavours are really bright and will cut through the heat if you only use the suggested amount of chillies below!

Ingredients – Makes enough for about 1KG of chicken or meat. Can be used on fish too but restrict to a 2-hour marinade

2 tbsp sweet Thai basil (normal basil will be ok)
1 ½ tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp chopped coriander (leaves & stalks)
1 tsp sesame oil 
5-6 kaffir lime leaves, shredded (or zest of 2 limes if no kaffir leaves) 
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tsp ground ginger
2 pieces of lemongrass, tougher outer leaves removed, finely chopped 
4 large green chillies finely chopped with seeds

Blitz all of the ingredients together in a blender before rubbing all over your chosen meat, fish or veg. I think this is best on chicken wings, thighs or drumsticks. Use the juice of 2 limes to coat before serving.


This is a wonderful chilli paste that can be used as a marinade or dipping sauce. You can go as hot as you like with this but to do so diminishes the taste of the wonderful additional spices. A simple harissa would traditionally consist of tomato paste, dried chilli flakes and salt, not much else. The addition of a few extra ingredients however bring this to a whole new level. The recipe below makes about 15 tablespoons.

120g large red chillies 
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp caraway seeds
3 roasted red peppers
1 tablespoon tomato puree
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
Olive oil to cover

Cut the stalks off of the chillies and decide how hot you want the harissa to be? Leave the seeds in for heat, if not slice in half and scrape them out.  Chop them up roughly and put in a blender with the garlic and blitz to a rough paste.

In a frying pan gently toast the cumin seeds, coriander, fennel and caraway until they become aromatic, about a minute. Use a spice grinder or pestle and mortar to blitz the seeds into a coarse powder. Add them to the chillies in the blender along with the red peppers, tomato puree and vinegar. Blend until the mixture becomes smooth, use a little water or additional red wine vinegar to help it if necessary.

Decant into a sterilised pot and smooth the surface over. Layer the top with olive oil which prevents mould growing and this will then keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks.


Toum – Lebanese Garlic Sauce

Toum is delicious, I simply love garlic. This works really well served with steak or the Moroccan lamb I mentioned in the first post. You can keep this for up to a week in the fridge but be warned it may split after a couple of days. 

Makes about 340ml – enough for 20 people

20 cloves of garlic, peeled chopped 
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
280ml light olive oil
Juice of 2 lemons or to taste

Put the garlic and about 4 teaspoons of lemon juice in a blender and pulse into a smooth paste. Slowly add the oil a teaspoon at a time pulsing briefly before adding another. Once you have added all of the oil adjust the lemon juice to taste.

Mexican Coriander & Jalapeno Relish

This aromatic and intense emulsion is amazing spread over chicken, firm fish or meat. If you want to marry it with another sauce try sour cream and chives. The red jalapenos look great in contrast to the coriander but if you can't find them then it's fine to use the more common green ones. 

Ingredients Serves 10 - 12 people
8 tbsp chopped coriander, stalks n all 
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 - 3 tbsp drained, jarred red jalapenos  (to taste)  I used  2 fresh green jalapenos
3 tbsp toasted pine nuts
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
4 tbsp olive oil

Whizz all the ingredients together in a food processor. Done! 

Chimichurri Sauce

This makes a great two hour marinade as it has really punchy flavours that do not need a long time to add great taste to your chosen food. There are no flesh eating ingredients in this one so other than fish if you want to marinade for longer you can. 


Ingredients - for approx 200ml, enough to use on 10 steaks
1/2 onion roughly chopped
6 garlic cloves, peeled
4 tbsp parsley, roughly chopped
2 tbsp coriander, roughly chopped
1 tbsp roughly chopped oregano (or 2 tsp dried oregano)
2 tsp jalapeno chilli - from a jar if not fresh, drained 
1 tsp smoked paprika
100ml olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
salt & freshly milled pepper 

Place everything apart from the salt & pepper in a blender and whizz together. Now season to taste.

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