Saturday, March 6, 2010

Grilled Chicken with Uncle Matt's Marinade

Some of you are familiar with the marinade I have been bottling. The following are directions on how to most effectively use the marinade.

The marinade is apple cider vinegar based with spices, onion, garlic, oil, natural sugar and some other stuff. It does not contain meat tenderizer, MSG, nor any peanut by-products. It was developed from a recipe that is used on the eastern shore by the volunteer fire departments for their grilled chicken fundraisers. The basic recipe has been used many times in the past at Sargent Family 4th of July parties and other celebrations. I have taken that basic recipe and added some other ingredients that I have found improve the flavor and performance. My nieces and nephews, who inhabit our pool during the summertime, have named the chicken I prepare for them "Uncle Matt's Chicken" and they seem to like it a great deal.

8 Boneless Chicken Breasts
or 6-8 Chicken Breasts (bone in)
or 1 Whole Chicken cut into pieces
or 2 or 3 Cornish Game Hens Cut in half

1 pint of "Uncle Matt's Marinade"

Rinse and pat dry the chicken and place in a large zip lock back or other reseal-able container suitable for marinating the chicken. Shake the bottle of marinade and pour enough into the container with the chicken so that all pieces will get marinated, reserve some of the marinade for basting the chicken while it cooks.
Seal the container (if you are using a zip lock bag, burp the excess air out) and shake so the marinade is well distributed. Note: If there is not enough marinade to cover the chicken in the container, add more marinade or a little water and shake again. Place the container in the fridge and allow the chicken to marinate at least 1 hour, according to the chart below:
  • Boneless breasts - 1-4 hours
  • Bone-in breasts, Legs, Thighs - 2-24 hours
  • Wings - 4-24 hours
  • Whole 1/2 chickens - 6-24 hours
I usually give the container a shake every now and again to make sure everything gets well marinated.

Remove the chicken from the marinade and discard. Place the chicken over a medium to medium-low direct fire on your grill. Turn and baste with the reserved marinade about every 10 minutes (more frequently for boneless breasts). Use an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat to determine if the chicken is done. White meat is done at 165 °F and dark meat at about 175 °F.

Boneless breasts will be done quickly - 20 minutes or so depending on your fire and the size of the chicken breasts. Legs and thighs take a little longer and large bone in pieces will take a bit longer still.

When the the meat is done, remove from the fire and place in a heat proof bowl (stainless steel, ceramic or glass). Do not be afraid to remove some pieces before others, smaller pieces will cook faster. Simply remove them to the bowl when they are done and cover with foil. After all the pieces are in the bowl and covered, let the chicken rest in the covered bowl for at least 10 minutes. Do not skip this step it is very important. This allows the juices to re-distribute and the heat to dissipate a little.

When done, the chicken pieces should have patches of brown and dark brown on the outside. The inside should be moist and tender with a good flavor.

Sometimes the kids ask for barbecued chicken. To give them that, I do exactly the same thing as above, but during the last 10 minutes of cooking, I baste the chicken with a mixture of a little of the reserved marinade and some commercial tomato-based barbecue sauce. You get the good marinated flavor inside, with a little barbecue sauce to lick off your fingers.

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