Want juicy flavorful chicken on the grill? The secret is a well-crafted marinade. Marinating before cooking breaks down the connective tissue and muscle fibers, making the meat more tender. It also infuses flavor into the chicken and helps retain moisture for a juicier, more flavorful result. It’s important that meat be in direct contact with the marinade for the best result, so make sure each piece of chicken is completely covered. Alternately, you can turn the meat halfway through to make sure all sides come into contact with the liquid.
Grilled Chicken Marinade: Basics of a Perfect Marinade
The tenderizing effect of marinade is a result of the acid in one or more of the ingredients. Fruit juice and vinegar are two common ways to achieve the desired acidity. Many recipes also include oil. Next, you can add any variety of seasonings to create a delicious and distinctive flavor. Place chicken in a zip top bag, squeeze out the air, and seal shut. Chicken should be marinated in the refrigerator 1-2 hours in order to soak up the flavor. You can leave it in the marinade longer, but not more than 24 hours. Marinating for too long will cause meat to turn mushy as a result of the acidic enzymes breaking down the tissue.
Grilled Chicken Marinade: Balsamic Chicken Marinade
This recipe uses lemon juice and red wine vinegar for the tenderizing effect and creates a savory garlic flavor. You can brush any leftover marinade directly onto the chicken just as it goes onto the grill for additional flavor.
- 1 1/2 c. olive oil
- 1 c. lemon juice
- 1/2 c. red wine vinegar
- 2 Tbs. oregano
- 2 Tbs. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. black pepper
Place chicken on the grill over high heat. Chicken breasts should be grilled for 10-12 minutes. Legs and thighs should cook for about 20 to 25 minutes.
Grilled Chicken Marinade: Teriyaki Chicken Marinade
This teriyaki marinade provides a tangy, Asian flavor to your chicken. Brush the chicken with teriyaki sauce or leftover marinade before placing it on the grill to add an extra layer of flavor. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds before serving.
- 1/3 c. soy sauce
- 1/3 c. balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 c. firmly packed brown sugar
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- 1 tsp. ginger root, grated
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 2 thinly sliced green onions
Combine all ingredients except the green onions in a medium saucepan. Cook on low heat until sugar is dissolved, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. When marinade has cooled, stir in green onions.
Next time you have a taste for chicken on the grill, try one of these delicious marinades or whip up one of your own and see where your creativity can take you! There’s no end to the flavor combinations and variety you can create by following these basics for a delicious grilled chicken marinade.