Lemongrass-Cilantro-Lime Marinade (for chicken or pork)

September 13, 2016 § 2 Comments

Over the years (decades really) I’ve experimented with various herbs. My first set of cooking explorations were with dried basil. Which evolved to other dried herbs like oregano, marjoram, thyme, rosemary, sage, etc. As my cooking skills improved I moved on to fresh herbs and even grew my own. I eventually moved on to experimenting with less common culinary flavorings like rose water, sumac, and galangal. With the melting pot of produce available these days I’ve been able to explore a whole new world with fresh ingredients. My latest…Lemongrass.

I’ve always enjoyed the lemongrass flavor in southeast asian cuisine. I tried using dried lemongrass but found the flavor never truly carried through and the hard splintery pieces often ruined the texture of the food.

I am certainly not an expert in utilizing lemongrass but below is a recipe that I’ve made several times and the results have been consistently good. To help infuse the flavor of the lemongrass into the marinade I slice the stalks lengthwise and hammer it with a meat tenderizer. I keep the chunks big enough so any chewy strips can be easily picked out.

NOTE: I like to serve this with two toppings – a fresh chopped herb combination and fried shallots (recipes below). You can also spice-up this dish with Korean Bi Bim Bap sauce as a condiment.

Lemongrass-Cilantro-Lime Marinade (for chicken or pork)

¼ cup Lime Juice
2 Tbls. Fish Sauce
1 Tbls. Soy Sauce (use gluten free soy to make this a GF recipe)
1 Tbls. Sherry or Brandy
1 tsp. Brown Sugar
1 Tbls. Garlic, chopped
2 Tbls. Cilantro, fresh chopped
1 Tbls. Scallions, chopped
1 stalk Lemongrass, fresh crushed*
White Pepper

1 to 1 ½ lb. Chicken, boneless breasts or thighs
1 rack Pork Baby Back Ribs
1½ to 2 lb. Country Style Ribs, or bone-in pork chops

* Crush lemongrass by slicing stalks into 3-4 inch pieces, then slice them lengthwise and hammer it with a meat tenderizer. This will help the flavor blend into the marinade better.


Marinade – In a bowl, combine lime juice, fish sauce, soy sauce, sherry or brandy, brown sugar, garlic, cilantro, scallions, lemongrass, and white pepper.


Pour mixture on meat, coating well. Place chunks of lemongrass between meat to help the flavor disperse. Let it marinate at least 1 hour to overnight.


Grill meat – Grill chicken on medium high heat with an open lid. Meat should be browned and cooked through. Thin pieces generally cook in 10-15 minutes.


Grill ribs on low heat with a covered lid. Depending on the thickness of the ribs, it will take about 20-30 minutes on each side. Monitor grilling because fatty areas of ribs may cause flame to flair and cause charring of ribs.


Alternately, chicken can be cooked using a grill pan and ribs can be baked in an oven.

¼ cup Basil, fresh chopped
¼ cup Cilantro, fresh chopped
¼ cup Mint, fresh chopped
1 Tbls. Scallions, chopped (optional)

In a bowl, combine basil, cilantro, mint, and scallions, stirring herbs until they are mixed evenly.

2 lg. Shallots, sliced
1 cup Vegetable Oil (or Canola)

Heat oil in small pan so oil is about ½-inch deep. Carefully add 1/3 of shallots into hot oil and cook until light brown. Remove cooked shallots with slotted spoon onto paper towel. Repeat with each third. Shallot flavored oil can be saved for use in other dishes.


Serving suggestions – Serve meat on cooked sushi or long-grain rice. Sprinkle herb mixture and fried shallots on top. If you like a hot kick to the dish, add Korean Bi Bim Bap sauce (seasoned red pepper paste). You can also make a side dish of Spicy Cucumbers – Slice cucumbers tossed in some Bi Bim Bap sauce.

NOTE: Below is a photo of the ribs without fried shallots. I forgot to take a plated photo of the chicken version (sorry).



Beef Back Ribs with Herb Marinade

July 28, 2012 § Leave a comment

I’ve been rather lax on the blogging this Summer but not on the grilling! I’ve been experimenting with a variety of recipes but still working on ones that I deem “blog-worthy.” Here is one that I feel makes the cut.

Normally when I make ribs, either pork or beef, I automatically think “Barbeque Sauce” – tangy, orange-red, thick sticky sauce with a little kick. But with the abundance of fresh herbs bursting out of my garden I decided to do something different. The result was a refreshing change. Instead of the sauce being the highlighting flavor, the herbs enhanced the taste of the beef ribs.

Beef Back Ribs

There is a distinct difference between “Beef Back Ribs” and “Beef Short Ribs” – The Back Rib runs along the side of the Ribeye Steak and is usually carved 6 to 8-inches long and has very little meat except what is found between the bones. Of course, that’s why there is so little meat left on these bones, the tender flavorful meat is carved onto the boneless Ribeye Steak. The Short Rib is cut along the Flank Steak and Brisket, is generally 3 to 5-inches in length and has a nice thick marbled piece of meat along one side of the bone, which makes them perfect for braising.

You can bake or grill the ribs for this recipe. I chose to cook them for a shorter time than some recipes you may find because I found the longer cooking time dried them out or over crisped the edges and made them too chewy. With the shorter cooking time the meat will still stick onto the bones a little but the meat will still be tender and full of flavor.

3 ½ lbs (about 8 ribs) Beef Back Ribs
2 Tbls. Garlic, chopped
1 tsp. each – Rosemary, Thyme, Sage, and Oregano, fresh chopped
2 Tbls. Lime Juice
2 Tbls. Worcestershire Sauce
2 Tbls. Port Wine
1 tsp. Black Pepper
½ tsp. Salt
2 Tbls. Olive Oil

In a bowl, combine garlic, rosemary, thyme, sage, oregano, lime juice, Worcestershire Sauce, Port Wine, black pepper, salt, and olive oil. Stir or whisk until combined evenly.

Beef Back Ribs Herb Marinade

Rub the marinade all over ribs and place in a platter or Ziplock bag to marinate overnight or for at least six hours.

Beef Back Ribs

OVEN METHOD: Preheat oven to 325° and line a baking pan with aluminum foil. Place ribs in a single layer on pan. Pour any residual liquid from platter or Ziplock bag onto ribs.

Beef Back Ribs

Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. The ribs should be well browned but not burnt and the meat will pull away from ends of the bone. Remove the pan from the oven and cover with a piece of aluminum foil for 15-30 minutes. This will soften the dry ends of the ribs and help the meat retain the juices.  Serve while still warm.

Beef Back Ribs

GRILL METHOD (using a gas grill): Heat the grill to 450°. Place the ribs on the grill and lower the burners to low, maintaining a temperature of 350° or slightly lower. Cook for 20 minutes with the lid closed, being careful not to over char the ribs. Flip the ribs over and cook for another 20 minutes. Flip the ribs a third time and cook another 20 minutes (the lid should be closed throughout the cooking time). Total cooking time 1 hour. Remove the ribs to a platter and cover with a piece of aluminum foil for 15-30 minutes.

(Sorry, I have not taken photos of the grill method but I will add them soon)

For those of you who are like me and like to have an old fashion printed copy of recipes, the below link is to a PDF (minus photos to keep it on one page).

Beef Back Ribs with Herb Marinade.pdf

Grilled Lamb Leg (boneless)

April 5, 2012 § Leave a comment

I know many people enjoy it but I never could understand why people have mint jelly with lamb. To me, it seemed like serving ketchup with fillet mignon – you really shouldn’t need a condiment. The earthy flavor of lamb should be enhanced with fresh herbs and seasoning.

This recipe adds a subtle fruity flavor to the traditional garlic and rosemary herbs used to season lamb. Flattening a boneless lamb leg also speeds up the cooking time. Season the meat overnight and it can be grilled under 30 minutes.

For information about the difference between American and Australian/New Zealand lamb see my blog for Lamb Shanks with White Beans and Gremolata.

Grilled lamb leg, boneless

NOTES: This recipe is prepared on a Weber gas grill with three horizontal burners and a temperature gauge on the cover. You may need to adjust the cooking method if you are using a different burner configuration or if you are using a coal or wood fueled grill. I did not use an internal meat thermometer, simply because I don’t have one, so I could not note the meat temperature in this recipe. The lamb in this recipe is prepared “medium” – evenly pink throughout the meat.

4 lbs. Lamb Leg, boneless
2 Tbls. Worcestershire Sauce
2 Tbls. Orange Juice
2 Tbls. Olive Oil
1 Tbls. Balsamic Vinegar
2 tsp. Lemon Juice
1 Tbls. Tomato Paste
1 Tbls. Garlic, chopped
1 Tbls. Flat Leaf Parsley, fresh chopped
2 tsp. Rosemary, fresh chopped
¼ tsp. Black Pepper, fresh ground

PREPARE LAMB: In most cases, when purchasing boneless lamb leg, it will be tied with string or held together by netting. If this is the case, remove all string or netting and open lamb so it is a thick flat fillet of meat. If necessary, slice into meat so it will lay fairly flat. The meat should be about 3-inches thick (if it is thinner, adjust grilling times). Try to keep the thickness even so it will cook consistently. If there is a layer of fat on the outer side of the meat, leave a thin layer, about 1/8-inch. Too much fat may cause the grill to flare and char the meat but too little will make the meat a little dry. Place the meat in a rectangular pan that will allow the meat to lay flat or place meat in a Ziplock bag. Set aside in refrigerator while mixing marinade.

MARINADE: In a bowl, combine all the ingredients except the lamb.

Grilled lamb marinade

Mix well and pour onto meat, being sure to cover all surfaces. Let meat marinate for at least one hour to overnight.

Grilled lamb leg, boneless

NOTE: The piece of lamb photographed in this blog is 2 lbs (half a lamb leg) but this recipe is written based on preparing a full leg, approximately 4 lbs.

GRILL: Turn the grill onto high heat, covered, until the grill temperature reaches 400°. Brush a thin layer of vegetable oil onto grill to prevent meat from sticking. Place the lamb onto grill, fat side (outer side of the meat) down first. Turn the center burner to the lowest heat setting and turn the side burners to medium. Maintain a grill temperature of 375°. Cook with the grill covered for 7 minutes. Check half way through cooking to make sure fat is not causing meat to char too much. If it is, lower heat or cook with lid open for a short time. Turn meat over and continue to cook with the cover closed for 14 minutes. Continue to maintain a grill temperature of 375°. Remove the meat to a platter and cover with aluminum foil for 10 minutes.

Grilled lamb leg, boneless

Cut the meat into ¼-inch slices. Serve while still hot.

Grilled lamb leg, boneless

SERVING RECOMMENDATIONS: Try my recipe for Smashed Potatoes or if you want something very simple, try boiling small potatoes for 15-20 minutes, drain, coat them with olive oil, salt and pepper. Serve the potatoes as is or prepare them in advance and put them on the grill next to the lamb to warm them up.

For those of you who are like me and like to have an old fashion printed copy of recipes, the below link is to a PDF (minus photos to keep it on one page).

Grilled Lamb Leg (boneless).pdf

Three Rose Marinade (for Lamb Chops or Cornish Hen)

February 15, 2012 § Leave a comment

Roses for Valentine’s Day is wonderful but even better if you can eat them. Well, not really eat them because you just don’t know what has been sprayed on them. So instead I offer a recipe using rosemary, rose peppercorns, and rose water.

This is a recipe I developed quite a while ago when I first saw the movie, Like Water for Chocolate. As I sat there in the dark movie theater, the cooking-nerd in me thought, “Wow! Can you really cook with roses?” For those who have seen the movie, you can probably guess which scene inspired my culinary creativity . For those who have not seen the movie I’ll just say that I hope this recipe will invoke feelings of pleasure and excitement…

NOTE: Updated this page on March 8th – corrected typo in PDF and added two photos of Cornish Hen.

Three Rose Marinade (for Lamb Chops or Cornish Hen)

If using lamb rib chops, slice each steak with two ribs so the meat is about 1 ¼ to 1 ½ inches thick.  This will help keep the chops medium to medium rare. Lamb Kidney Chops (looks like a mini T-bone steak) are generally sliced thick. This marinade also works well with Cornish Hens. Split each hen in half (neck to tail).

1 ¼ to 2 lb Lamb Rib or Kidney Chops or 2 Cornish Hens, split
2 Garlic Cloves, chopped
2 tsp. Brown Sugar
1 tsp. Rosemary, fresh chopped
½ tsp. Rose Peppercorns, ground
dash Cloves, ground
¼ tsp. Salt
2 Tbls. Balsamic Vinegar
¼ cup Port (or Red Wine)
2 Tbls. Rose Water
¼ cup Olive Oil

Combine garlic, brown sugar, rosemary, rose peppercorns, cloves, salt, balsamic vinegar, Port, rose water, and olive oil. Mix with a fork or whisk until sugar is dissolved. Add to meat and marinate at least 30 minutes and up to overnight.

IF PREPARING LAMB: Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a grill pan. Sear chops on each side for about 4 minutes on medium-high heat. Alternately, chops can be cooked on an outdoor grill or broiled in the oven.

IF PREPARING CORNISH HENS: Bake hens in a preheated 350° oven for 35 minutes, basting once about 20 minutes into cooking. Alternately, the hens can be prepared on an outdoor grill. Sear skin side first, then cook bone side down at medium heat if using a gas grill or indirect heat if using coal or wood.

SERVING RECOMMENDATIONS: This recipe pairs well with roasted potatoes or rice pilaf.

SALAD RECOMMENDATION: Arugula Salad – mix baby arugula, radicchio, and Belgium endive. Top with slices of ripe but firm pear and slivers of red onion. For dressing drizzle one part Sour Pomegranate Syrup and two parts Greek (Kalamata) olive oil or one part fresh lemon juice and two parts Greek (Kalamata) olive oil. Sprinkle with fresh ground salt and pepper.

For those of you who are like me and like to have an old fashion printed copy of recipes, the below link is to a PDF (minus photos to keep it on one page).

Three Rose Marinade (for Lamb or Cornish Hen) (GF).pdf

* Gluten allergy and intolerance has become increasingly common.  I will not go into detail about the specific symptoms, causes, or differences but I will note beside the recipe titles “(GF)” for those recipes that are gluten free.  Please note that although I have labeled these recipes to be gluten free you must do your due diligence to review ingredient labels of prepared products to verify that they are truly gluten free. Also consider the side you choose to serve. In some recipes I recommend pasta or bread, which in most cases are not gluten free.

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