A Yummy Marinade

credit: “Pig” by Boston Public Library

This is a marinade that I concocted last week for some pork chops. To the best of my knowledge, this is wholly an original recipe, as everything I googled for my basic idea of “lemon basil soy” only came up with lemon-basil recipes which were breaded, while this is a marinde/dipping sauce (assuming you reserve some before marinating it).

Essentially, I started with the idea of “lemon basil soy”, and added ingredients that I found in the house as I was mixing. I’m not convinced that the olive oil is really necessary, but it didn’t really detract from the overall taste of it. I specifically went out and got a lemon & fresh basil, since those were two of the original idea ingredients. The rest was truly ingredients that we already had in the house, which is the best way to find ingredients late at night!

Anyway, here’s the recipe:

2 oz lemon juice
fresh is best, one decent-sized lemon should yield about this much
1/3 c soy sauce
you can probably get away with low sodium, I just used regular. Definitely use naturally brewed. If the ingredients have “hydrolized” anything, you’re not using real soy sauce.
1/3 c olive oil
Save your extra virgin for dipping, I used just “olive oil” that’s for “sauteeing and grilling”.
2 oz maple syrup
Use real maple syrup, not that fake flavored sugar syrup.
1 Tbsp ginger paste
We had it from some recipe we made a while ago in the fridge. Fresh grated would probably be even better!
1 Tbsp minced garlic
That’s about 6 medium cloves of garlic. We go through so much, we have the huge tubs of pre-minced stuff. Lazy, I know…
7-8 large fresh basil leaves, shredded
I have no idea how much this works out to, I just grabbed a bunch of basil, rinsed, and shredded it. I’d guess it could be about 1-2 Tbsp. Dried…eh, use about 1/3 that (1-2 tsp) if you have to…

Just combine all the ingredients in a container with a good seal, mix really well, then add to a zip-top bag & add your pork chops. Flip periodically to ensure even coverage. A few hours should do it, overnight would be better, just be sure to keep it in the fridge if you’re doing more than a few hours. Then grill.

A word of warning, though. The sugar in the maple syrup (or honey) will cause everything to stick to the grill, so a spatula will probably be needed…or oil your grill like I didn’t do this time.

If you reserved some, you can spoon it over the cooked chops, or serve it on the side for dipping. I just made another batch, mixed it with an immersion blender, and served it up on the table for whoever wanted it.

While I originally made this for pork, it will probably go well with chicken or seafood as well. It might go with red meat, maybe, but I haven’t tried it on anything other than pork at this point.

One thing to be aware of is, as the meat’s marinating, the oil will separate from the rest of the ingredients, and if refrigerated will partly solidify. Leaving everything out for an hour or two before cooking, the solids will liquefy again. Leaving the meat out will allow everything to come to room temperature anyway, which means easier cooking, and with the amount of salts and acids in the marinade, there’s probably (I say with nothing to back it up) very little danger of bacterial growth, and proper cooking will take care of everything else…

I hope that someone else will be able to enjoy this. Let me know if you have any variations.


I’ve already had reports of a few variations, which all sound good.

  • Substitute honey for the maple syrup. Honey is probably more readily accessible (not to mention affordable) for most people.
  • Add 1 Tbsp of toasted sesame oil. This sounds really good to me, keeping with the overall Asian-inspired theme of the ingredients.
  • Add some red pepper flakes or chili oil, again to give it a bit of a kick while keeping with the overall theme.

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