Every Fourth of July weekend, millions of well-intentioned Americans ruin perfectly good chicken breasts by slapping them onto their grills and slathering them with barbeque sauce. This technique creates the illusion of flavor on the outside while doing nothing to impart any actual flavor to the inside. NOT ON OUR WATCH! We’ll show you the secret to creating thoroughly flavorful chicken this Independence Day.
Seriously Folks, Our Chicken is The Man!
Chicken Breast: Buy as much as you think you will need for the party, but no need to splurge; you can always fill everybody up on the cheap stuff, like hot dogs and hamburgers, and then break out the chicken at the end, LOL!
Amounts: When it comes to buying the liquid ingredients for your marinade, it’s best to buy the larger sizes because they’re pretty cheap and they don’t really spoil (so you will have plenty left over for next time). Also, this isn’t baking, we’re not including any specific measurements (just the relative proportions), but we know you’ll do just fine!
Apple Cider Vinegar
Dried Onion Chips
Absolutely NO SALT (The soy sauce has all the salt your marinade will ever need!)
Preparing Your Marinade
First of all, if you like Chiavetta’s Marinade, prepare to be amazed! Chiavetta’s is little more than vinegar and water, which is great for cleaning your toilet or your grill after using a REAL marinade like ours. Second of all, our marinade is The Man and will leave a nice sticky-sweet coating on each unforgettably delicious piece of chicken. It will leave your grill smelling so good the next time you fire it up that passers-by will say: “Mmm, something smells delicious” and there won’t even be any food on your grill yet!
1). Add Your Dry Ingredients to an Oversized Bowl. Make sure the bowl is much larger than its future contents so that you’ll have enough room to stir everything around without making a mess. Add your dry ingredients liberally and make sure that the amount of brown sugar surpasses the total amount of the other dry ingredients. You may want to go a little easy on the black and cayenne peppers—and remember: DO NOT ADD ANY SALT!
2). Add Your Liquids. Notice we didn’t say “Water.” Water will only dilute your marinade (that’s also why we use dried onion chips instead of fresh onion). Use equal parts apple cider vinegar and soy sauce—the idea being to have enough liquid to submerge your chicken completely while still maintaining a relatively thick, almost gravy-like consistency. Then, pour in a little vegetable oil (this will help prevent your chicken from sticking to the grilling surface). Give the mixture a good stir (we like to use a fork rather than a spoon—this helps to break up any clumps and you know how brown sugar likes to clump up).
Preparing Your Chicken
1). Get out Your Largest Wood or Plastic Cutting Board (glass is just an accident waiting to happen, plus it makes that annoying “ting-ting-ting” sound) and your sharpest butcher- or fillet knife. Place a damp paper towel or dish rag under your cutting board to prevent it from sliding around.
2). Trim Off the Excess Fat from each piece of chicken breast. This will prevent the unwanted flare-up that occurs when chicken fat renders and drips onto the hot coals (eventually burning your chicken).
3). Fillet Each Breast. More surface area = more room for marinade = more flavor! Don’t be one of those people who puts the entire breast onto the grill and slathers it with barbecue sauce. If you do it that way, no flavor will get into your chicken and it won’t cook evenly. If you’ve never filleted a chicken breast before, it’s really easy: just flatten the breast onto the cutting board, press down on it with the flat of your hand (thick end under your fingers, thin end under your palm) and cut with a slow sawing motion from finger tip to palm—being careful to keep your knife parallel to the cutting board at all times.
4). Cut each Fillet in Half. Do this lengthwise along that nasty little white tendon-thingy that divides each fillet into one wide piece and one narrow one. Then, with a second cut, remove the tendon entirely (nobody wants to bite into that anyway).
5). Add Your Chicken to the Bowl. Do this by hand or with tongs and never use a fork or anything that might poke holes in your chicken. This will cause the juices to run out of your fillets while grilling (nobody likes dry chicken). Cover the bowl and refrigerate. You can let it sit overnight, but a couple of hours will do.
Grilling Your Chicken
Hopefully you have invested in a charcoal grill, but if you only have a gas grill—the flavors in your marinade will still win the day. But seriously, consider buying a charcoal grill. They’re a little extra work, but as they say: “Anything worth doing is worth doing right.” Wouldn’t you agree?
Fire up your grill to a nice even, medium heat. Place your chicken onto the hot grilling surface using tongs and LEAVE IT ALONE! Just as with steak, you only want to have to flip the meat once. Let it cook until you notice the edges of each fillet turning opaque and crispy. Feel free to lift up the edges of each fillet to check for grill marks (use your tongs for this and try to avoid breaking or cutting into the meat).
When the underside of each fillet appears to be fully cooked, you are ready to flip. Now here’s the trick: instead of basting your chicken with one of those silly little brushes, lift your fillets off of the grill one-at-a-time, dunk them into your marinade, and place them (raw-side-down) back onto the grill. We know what you’re thinking: “Won’t this contaminate my chicken and expose my guests to salmonella?” Of course not, because your chicken will still cook for a few more minutes and your bowl of marinade will be done for the day (unless you decide to boil it and store if in the fridge for later in the week).
Once your chicken’s ready, dish it out to your guests and get ready for the compliments.
Just remember who gave you the recipe!