The Secret to Successful Grilling

What to pair with your favorite grilled dishes


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Grilled chicken can take many forms and here the saucing, or marinade, takes over as the most important element of the dish.

First off, let’s get one of my all-time favorite pairings out of the way. Jerk chicken loves lighter bodied Petite Sirah. If you’re grilling chicken, particularly over aromatic wood, and you’ve used a spicy rub or marinade, you’ve got to try this! End of mini rant.

If you’re grilling chicken in a European style, think of a marinade with olive oil, wine, garlic, and herbs for example, a nice rosé or Cabernet would be perfect here. Make it a little spicier and something a touch sweeter, say a nice Spanish rosé, would be appropriate.

If your marinade or sauce has more of an Asian bent (ginger, soy, maybe some sesame even), I would recommend a nice white with a touch of sweetness and spice.  Riesling could work, but Gewurtztraminer would be better.

And if you’re going the full-on American barbecue route with sticky sweet sauce, you might want to consider beer; but if you have your heart set on wine, this is a job for a fruity red, better still one with a touch of sweetness. I’m thinking Lambrusco could clean this mess up!

Photo courtesy How to Grill Book

Mentioned in this article


  • Snooth User: Mark Angelillo
    Founding Member Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    2 5,355

    Damn GDP - why must you mock me and my lack of grill? This makes me want to spend a weekend in the country.

    Jul 27, 2011 at 11:56 AM

  • Snooth User: TomG
    40947 44

    Hi Greg - a question and a suggestion:
    - question: I usually grill a mix of vegetables of all three types (tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, eggplant, peppers, squash, etc.) What would you suggest for a wine to work with the lot?
    - suggestion for grilling fish: I've never been able to get my grill clean enough or well-oiled enough to keep fish from sticking. Two things have helped. One is to put a piece of heavy-duty foil, just big enough to hold the fish, on the grill before I start it, then slice the foil between the grill rods so that each is covered by a strip; then pinch the strips around the rods so that they're loosely wrapped. The other thing is to let the grill heat up completely before putting the fish on. As the metal rods heat up, they expand and if the fish is on while this is happening, the skin bonds to the metal. I usually get the grill hotter than I want, then put the fish down to get nice grill marks, then immediately reduce the heat to cooking temperature. Hope this helps!

    Jul 27, 2011 at 3:23 PM

  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    89065 238,748

    For grilled vegetables, especially if some good olive oil is involved, I've never found a better wine than Barbera. Even a Barbera with some age works well here. You've got all that succulent acidity and the oak in the wine can be matched by all the smoke and char created by grilling your veggies.

    Nice tips for grilling fish, both very effective. Thanks for contributing!

    Jul 27, 2011 at 5:09 PM

  • We love grilling at our house but I don't know where you come up with the idea that there are no dishes to do. If you are entertaining with wine and great grilled food then you need beautiful dishes to serve it in. Just saying.....

    Aug 04, 2011 at 10:20 AM

  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    89065 238,748

    I manage to get through with few to none, though admittedly while not entertaining. One trick I've developed for some of my meals is to use flour tortillas over a plate, you then get to eat up the mess!

    Aug 04, 2011 at 10:32 AM

  • Snooth User: Richard Foxall
    Hand of Snooth
    262583 4,003

    Sure, you eat on dishes, but pots and pans are reduced. Major advantage to the grill.

    Aug 10, 2012 at 7:41 PM

  • wine for spare ribs and brots

    Aug 31, 2012 at 11:24 PM

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