Sunday, December 9, 2012

Thai Grilled Chicken Breasts


This is another recipe that came from The Cook's Illustrated Guide to Grilling and Barbecue and it's good for making up some of the best chicken I've ever tasted. Brining the chicken ahead of time, plus the rub made this something special.

The folks at Cook's Illustrated are big on brining chicken. By putting the chicken in the following bath for more than 30 minutes, but less than 60 the chicken gets a nice, tender texture and a very clean, fresh taste.

Brine:
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 2 quarts cold water


The Rub:

  • 2/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 lime juice
  • 12 minced garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh, minced ginger
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cracked pepper
  • 2 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

"There's the rub." -- Prince Hamlet
So the bulk of the cook time is drawn up to be indirect, but the recipe calls for you to cook them skin-side down for 3 minutes first to crisp things up a little. So I used my platesetter, but just set the breasts at the edge of the cooking surface, where there is direct exposure to the coals. See 'em under there?


Meanwhile all that lime juice and cilantro got us thinking: guacamole. Because what goes better with Thai chicken, than guacamole? It wasn't tough to sell it to these customers.
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So the direct head crisped up the chicken skin. I suppose you could say it burned the skin. I was worried about this. I hate it when you make a misstep so early on in a cook. It's not like I had the contingency chicken waiting in the, um, wings.



Well, nothing to do but press onward. There was dipping sauce to make.

Dipping sauce: 

  • 1/3 cup sugar 
  • 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar 
  • 1/4 cup lime juice 
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce 
  • three minced garlic cloves 
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

So I got the internal temp to 160f, pulled the chicken and let it rest for a few minutes. I'm sorry the photography doesn't adequately capture the deliciousness of this chicken. It really was some of my favorite flavor combos between the rub and the dipping sauce. And I am a big believer now in using a brine for chicken. The burned skin didn't affect the flavor of the food. Part of that may be b/c I tend not to eat all the skin anyhow. The meat was still tender, juicy and delicious.





1 comment:

  1. I have that publication and somehow this one has escaped my attention until now. I use the same "platesetter gap" technique sometimes. I think it gets super heated because of the small gap. It's like forced hot air in addition to radiant heat.

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