Get Your Adobo On

What's an adobo? Good question. Depending on where you ask, adobo may generically mean "sauce" or "marinade" or a meal created with such a sauce (in Mexico and the Carribean) or specifically mean the national dish of the Philippines. Adobos vary quite widely in taste and ingredients, but most rely on marinating meats in a highly seasoned concoction.

My adobo is a Cuban-style marinade adapted from a recipe in Steven Raichlen's The Barbecue! Bible. I've tweaked the spices a bit, keeping notes on what works and what doesn't, until the recipe found a sweet spot. It's very easy to prepare and has won rave reviews from coast to coast.

This recipe will marinate and generously baste six boneless chicken breast halves and a nice sirloin steak. If in doubt, go easy on the marinade and reserve some adobo for basting.

1 cup fresh-squeezed lime juice (about 4 large limes)
1/4 cup olive oil
12 medium cloves garlic
2 teaspoons kosher salt (or more to taste)
2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon Tabasco or Garlic Tabasco (optional, but highly recommended)
Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until the garlic is completely liquefied. Save about half of the adobo for basting (put it in the fridge), use the rest to marinate chicken, beef, pork, fish or vegetables for 1 - 8 hours before grilling.

Tip: Use zipper sealing plastic bags for marinating - they do a better job of coating the meat and there's no clean up.

Don't forget to baste! Use a brush or spoon to keep your grillables moist and create a tasty caramelized crust.

Serve your adobo with grilled veggies (onions and sweet peppers are the norm in our house), black beans & rice and warm flour tortillas. Offer lots of fresh cilantro, sour cream and shredded cheese as garnishes, if you like. I like a nice Mexican beer with adobo, but a spicy red wine also goes well.

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