Weekly Winner – My New Go-To Grilled Chicken – Lovely & Lacquered

sprite chickenWho doesn’t love grilled or barbecued chicken?  Done right, it’s a thing of beauty.  Too often; however it is done wrong…. horribly wrong.  Scorched, flabby, half raw, dry — you name it, I’ve achieved it on the grill.  Truth is, it is not easy to grill skin-on, bone-in chicken.  Which is why I was skeptical when I came across the recipe for Lemon-Lime Lacquered Grill Chicken from Milk Street Magazine.

What was their secret for picture-perfect poultry perfection?  Pop! Yep, lemon-lime soda (along with a whole lot of other tasty additions).  While apparently Filipino in origin, this will now become Donna’s Chicago Chicken.

Lemon-Lime Lacquered Grilled Chicken (Inihaw Na Manok)

Serves 4

Ingredients:

3/4 cup cider vinegar

1/2 cup ketchup

1/3 cup soy sauce

6 Tbsp packed light or dark brown sugar

6 medium cloves garlic, peeled

4 bay leaves

1 Tbsp black peppercorns

Kosher salt

1 cup lemon-lime soda, such as Sprite or 7Up (I used Sprite)

3 lbs bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts, thighs and/or drumsticks, trimmed and patted dry (I only used thighs and drumsticks)

1 Tbsp lime juice

Procedure:

  1. In a blender, combine the vinegar, ketchup, soy sauce, sugar, garlic, bay, peppercorns and 1-1/2 tsps. salt.  Blend until well combined and the bay leaves are broken into tiny bits, 15-30 seconds.  Pour the mixture into a large bowl, then stir in the soda
  2. If using chicken breasts, use a sharp chef’s knife to cut each in half crosswise.
  3. Cut 2 or 3 diagonal slashes about 1/2 inch deep through the skin and meat of each piece of chicken.  Add the chicken to the marinade and turn to coat.  Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
  4. Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for indirect cooking.  For a charcoal grill, spread a large chimney of hot coals evenly over one side of the grill bed; open the bottom grill vents and the lid vent.  Heat the grill, covered for 5 to 10 minutes, then clean and oil the grates.  For a gas grill, turn all burners to high and heat, covered, for 15 minutes, then clean and oil the cooking grate; leave the primary burner on high and turn the remaining burner(s) to low.
  5. While the grill heats, transfer the chicken to a large plate, allowing the marinade to drip off.  Pour the marinade into a medium saucepan, bring to a simmer over medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced to 1 cup, about 20 minutes. Stir in the lime juice and set aside.  Set aside 1/3 cup for serving; use the remainder as a basting sauce.
  6. Place the chicken, skin side up, on the cooler side of the grill. Cover and cook for 15 minutes. Generously brush the pieces with basting sauce, then re-cover and cook until the thickest part of the breasts, if using, reaches 160F or the thickest part of the thighs and drumsticks, reach 175F, another 15-20 minutes.
  7. Brush the chicken with the basting sauce, then flip the chicken skin side down onto the hot side of the grill.  Cook until deeply browned, about 1 minute.  Brush the bone side with more basting sauce, then flip a final time and cook until deeply browned, about 1 minute more.  Transfer skin side up to a platter and let rest for about 5 minutes.  Serve with the reserved sauce.

 

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