As much as I advocate against the skinless boneless chicken breast—you're better off with juicier and tastier thighs—it's usually a losing battle. The worst offender is chicken breast cubes on a stick, where small pieces of lean meat are extra-susceptible to overcooking, leading to dry and flavorless poultry that's a crime against grilling.
And yet, the people want breasts on sticks. I relent. Go ahead and take your chicken skewers to the flames this Fourth of July, but please do it in the most delicious manner possible. One suggestion? These bacon-wrapped chicken skewers with pineapple and teriyaki.
So how does this make all that's wrong go so right? First it starts with a brine, using soy sauce as the primary salt agent to give the chicken a bit of flavor, along with the insurance policy of added moisture. Then they're bacon-wrapped, which creates a layer of protection against drying out, adding both a physical shell and a delicious rendered pork fat bath for the chicken to baste in (plus the obvious bonus of bacon flavor). The wrapped chicken cubes are threaded onto skewers along with grill-friendly pineapple, and brushed with teriyaki sauce in the last minute of cooking.
Sweet, salty, fruity, smoky, meaty—these cover a lot of bases without one ounce of the cardboard-like chicken that adorns flame-cooked skewers all too often. So Serious Eaters, go forth this grand grilling holiday and celebrate both our independence, and our freedom from bad chicken.
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About the author: Joshua Bousel brings you a new, tasty condiment each Wednesday and a recipe for weekend grilling every Friday. He also writes about grilling and barbecue on his blog The Meatwave whenever he can be pulled away from his grill.