Wanted to grill something this past weekend. But we didn’t have much in the house and this is the season when all the yard work makes every weekend minute precious– no time in the schedule for a last-minute grocery store run. Let’s see what we have…hmmm, some boneless chicken breasts. OK, but how to season them…a spice rub? Nahh, done that many times. Maybe some kind of marinade, but what kind exactly? What to make, what to make… finally decided on a quasi-Asian style marinade. Only had a few hours to marinate it, but it turned out great! For a side dish I made some fried rice with ingredients I had on hand– that’s what’s in the background of the pic above. The rice turned out really good too– I’ll make a separate post on the fried rice next week.
- 4 Chicken Breasts, Boneless or better yet, Bone-in. Dark meat such as chicken thighs work really well for this recipe too.
- 1/2 Cup Water
- 1/2 Cup Peanut Oil
- 1/4 Cup Mirin (Rice Vinegar)
- 2-3 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
- 1 Teaspoon Fine-Ground Black Pepper
- 1/2 Teaspoon Toasted Sesame Oil
- 1 Whole Head of Garlic
- Meat Thermometer
- Garlic Press (optional)
Separate the cloves from the head of garlic and remove the skins. Dice up the garlic, or better yet, crush the cloves in a garlic press. Mix the garlic with the rest of the marinade ingredients. Marinate the chicken for at least several hours, preferably overnight.
As always, heat up enough charcoal to cover half the grill, and either burn some of your favorite hardwood down to coals or soak some wood chips for smoking. What I’ve been doing lately is lighting the charcoal in a chimney starter, then pouring out the coals onto the bottom of the grill when they’re good and ignited (but before they’re covered in gray ash, meaning they’re ready for cooking). I put some pieces of wood on the charcoal so it has a chance to catch fire, burn down to coals and be ready for cooking when the charcoal’s ready. the slightly quicker, easier method is to briefly soak wood chips, and throw the chips on the charcoal when it’s ready for cooking. I used apple wood, and it worked really well with this recipe.
Here’s a tip for cooking marinated meats when the coals and the smoking wood are ready– I tried this with the chicken, and it worked nicely. Usually you want to cook the meat on the hot side of the grill first to get a nice sear on the outside, then move to the cooler side of the grill to finish cooking. This works great if you used a dry rub, or you’re cooking some nice steaks seasoned only with a little salt and pepper. But if you take marinated meat directly from the marinade to the hot side of the grill it will drip on the coals and create a sooty smoke that may give the meat an off-taste. Also, it’ll be hard to get a good sear on the wet marinated meat right away. Works better to cook on the cooler side of the grill first– put down a drip pan or some foil to catch the excess marinade. Use the meat thermometer and when the chicken is close to temperature, move to the hot side of the grill to brown both sides of the chicken last. Cook to 165 degrees, let the chicken rest for a few minutes, serve and enjoy!