herbs commonly used in BBQ

Herbs commonly used in BBQ: Unlocking Flavor in Your BBQ

When it comes to barbecuing, the right combination of herbs in your marinades and rubs can elevate your dishes from ordinary to extraordinary. Herbs add depth, complexity, and aromatic qualities that can transform meats and vegetables. Let’s explore some essential herbs commonly used in BBQ marinades and rubs, along with a few tips and recipes to get you started.

Key Herbs for Marinades and Rubs

  1. Rosemary:
    • Flavor Profile: Piney, slightly peppery, and woody.
    • Uses: Ideal for beef, lamb, pork, and chicken. Rosemary works well in both dry rubs and marinades, imparting a robust flavor that stands up to the heat of grilling.
  2. Thyme:
    • Flavor Profile: Earthy with minty and lemony notes.
    • Uses: Versatile for all types of meats and vegetables. Thyme enhances the flavor of chicken, beef, pork, and grilled vegetables, adding a subtle yet complex taste.
  3. Oregano:
    • Flavor Profile: Bold, slightly bitter, and peppery.
    • Uses: Commonly used in Mediterranean and Latin American BBQ. Oregano pairs well with beef, chicken, and pork, particularly in marinades and spice blends.
  4. Sage:
    • Flavor Profile: Earthy, slightly peppery, and aromatic.
    • Uses: Great for pork and poultry. Sage adds a deep, savory flavor that complements rich meats and hearty vegetables.
  5. Basil:
    • Flavor Profile: Sweet, slightly peppery, with hints of mint and clove.
    • Uses: Best for chicken, pork, and seafood. Basil is often used in marinades to add a fresh, aromatic quality to the meat.
  6. Marjoram:
    • Flavor Profile: Mild, sweet, and slightly floral.
    • Uses: Works well with lamb, chicken, and pork. Marjoram is excellent in dry rubs and marinades, providing a gentle, aromatic flavor.

Sample Marinade and Rub Recipes

Rosemary Garlic Marinade for Lamb

  • 1/4 cup fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Mix Ingredients: In a bowl, combine the chopped rosemary, minced garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
  2. Marinate Lamb: Place the lamb in a resealable plastic bag and pour the marinade over it. Seal the bag and massage the marinade into the meat. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
  3. Grill: Remove the lamb from the marinade and grill to your desired doneness.

Thyme and Oregano Dry Rub for Chicken

  • 2 tablespoons dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  1. Combine Ingredients: In a small bowl, mix together the thyme, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, salt, and black pepper.
  2. Apply Rub: Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Generously apply the dry rub to all sides of the chicken, pressing it into the meat.
  3. Grill: Let the chicken sit with the rub for at least 30 minutes before grilling. Grill until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).


Herbs play a vital role in enhancing the flavors of BBQ marinades and rubs. By incorporating herbs like rosemary, thyme, oregano, sage, basil, and marjoram, you can create a variety of delicious and aromatic BBQ dishes that will impress your guests and elevate your grilling game.