I was thinking about bland chicken sandwiches, not only because I see these nameless monstrosities all over, but because there is an alternative in Chicago which is superficially similar, but differs in one small degree—it's not a shameful lying mockery of a sandwich. It is, in fact, the great unknown Chicago sandwich, except for the being great part.
'grilled chicken' on Serious Eats
Perfectly juicy, crisp, and smoky grilled cornish hens in a garlicky, lemony greek marinade flavored with oregano and peppers. Serve it with grilled zucchini, pita bread, tzatziki, and a greek salad.
When it comes to Peruvian roast chicken—I'm talking the kind served at places like the Pio Pio mini chain—it's all about that green sauce, right? I mean, sure, the tender chicken, kissed with the smoke of a live fire and a hint of spices and garlic is pretty damn good on its own, but it's that green sauce—spicy, tangy, and cooling—that keeps us coming back for more, right? Here's how to make'em both.
This Peruvian Style Grilled Chicken is a recipe I back-hacked from the awesome chicken and green sauce they serve at Pio Pio in NYC. The basics are simple: butterflied chicken with a vinegar and spice rub gets slow-cooked on the grill, followed by a quick stay directly over the coals to crisp the skin. It comes out tender and juicy and goes perfectly with a simple spicy and cream sauce made with jalapeños and aji amarillo peppers.
Barbecue chicken doesn't fall under the strict definition of the Southern term "barbecue," as it is not cooked hot or long enough for connective tissue to break down the way it does in ribs or a pork butt (indeed, there isn't really any connective tissue to break down in the first place), but it does fall under the wider umbrella of "barbecue" which includes any foods cooked slowly (not to be confused with slow-cooked) with the addition of smoke and a barbecue sauce. Of course, all conversation of whether or not it's proper to call it barbecue will end once you all agree that it's delicious.
Smoky barbecue chicken with perfectly juicy meat and a sweet, sticky glaze.
Young chickens—and Cornish hens are simply chickens under one month of age—have extremely tender, juicy meat. They're like the veal or suckling pigs of the farmyard avian world. But can you get excellent flavor and gush-in-your-mouth juiciness? Therein lies the rub.
Perfectly juicy, crisp, and smoky grilled cornish hens rubbed with rosemary and lemon zest.
For the best grilled chicken, start it off with a slow-cook over the cooler side of a two-level grill to allow the skin to dry and get ready to crisp. Finish it off directly over the hot coals to crisp up the skin until crackly and charred.
The problems with grilling whole chickens are similar to the problems with roasting whole chickens. After grilling a dozen Cornish hens, ten fryers, and six roasters, using methods ranging from a whole bird cooked over an indirect fire, to vertical grilling (beer can chicken-style), to make-shift rotisseries, here's what I've found.
A regional treat of Binghamton, New York, these super marinated cubes of chicken are skewered, grilled, and then delivered to a soft roll to make one amazing sandwich.
Grilled skinless chicken breasts are all-too-often more like pieces of cardboard than proper serious eats. With a little know-how, however, we no longer have to stand for this injustice. The key to juicy grilled chicken breasts is to brine them first, then to cook them over a two-zone fire, using a thermometer to gauge doneness.
When I went into my backyard to grill the chicken thighs for this recipe from Mark Bittman, I ran into a neighbor who was cooking some steaks at the same time. He took one look at my chicken and started shaking his head. "Chicken is so hard to cook well, I never grill it." And it struck me then that a lot of people probably feel that way.
Although these may be a bit much for backyard barbecue, this recipe shows exactly how competition barbecuers pack as much flavor into their meats as possible, along with a strong focus on presentation.
There are some choices additions for grilled chicken to boost its flavor all the more—especially spices. Stick to spices that complement the roasted, meaty flavors of grilling. Check out the slideshow for our favorite grilled chicken spices, and how to use them for your next grill session.
Almost every cuisine that cooks over a live fire has developed a method for overcoming the challenge of grilling a whole chicken. Americans spike chickens on tallboys of Schlitz and bathe them in low, smoky heat. Italians take another route, cutting out the backbone and cooking the butterflied bird over a hot fire. The Italian secret: The bird is weighted with bricks. But America's Test Kitchen improved upon the method with a novel twist. Watch the video above for step-by-step instructions or get the recipe at AmericasTestKitchen.com (free registration required).
If a secret fast-food constitution exists, I believe one of the laws would be "Food can claim to be spicy but not actually make a person break a sweat, let alone reach for a glass of water." Mass-marketed food can't get too high on the Scoville scale without turning off a huge audience, so we figured KFC's new Fiery Grilled Wings wouldn't be that crazy.
Poor KFC. It seemed like such a good idea. New product; launch it with a giveaway. And then another, with a big-name celeb like Oprah to announce the coupons. KFC gets foot traffic; the people of America get free chicken. (And Oprah gets a few million more hits on her website.) So simple, right? Not quite. First, the website couldn’t handle the sudden online crush of chicken-seekers, making downloading the coupon impossible. Then, a KFC near New York’s Grand Central Station refused to honor customer coupons—despite, some report, clearly visible chicken waiting behind the counter—sparking a pretty intense outcry. (But not a "riot," KFC insists.) And to add insult to injury, California-based chain El Pollo Loco started a giveaway...
Each Saturday evening we bring you a Sunday Supper recipe. Why on Saturday? So you have time to shop and prepare for tomorrow. In case you hadn't noticed, it's Memorial Day weekend here in the U.S. of A., and like...
I was discussing Memorial Day eats on the ride home with my coworker and mentioned the possibility of smoking some beer-can chicken this weekend. This utterance caused my workmate to drop his jaw, take his eyes off the road to stare directly at me and exclaim with puzzled excitement, "What the hell is that?!?!"