Saturday, June 6, 2009
Garlic-Lemon Chicken Breasts Grilled on the Big Green Egg
My husband has been the grill master for years. I have shied away from his hulking Weber Genesis grill, flexing its stainless steel muscles out on the patio and ready to blow out a gazillion btus of gas heat at a moment's notice.
But the Big Green Egg is a different story. It's a petite 18 inches across -- the perfect size for me -- and its rounded shape with its green-glazed surface is attractive and friendly. Cooking over hardwood charcoal seems like second-nature.
All of a sudden, grilling seems accessible to me.
Since we've gotten the BGE, I've smoked and slow-cooked pork spareribs, butterflied whole chicken, pork tenderloin, and beef brisket. I also made pizza. Next were boneless chicken breasts, which I marinated in a garlic-lemon vinaigrette for 30 minutes before grilling them over a medium fire for 8-12 minutes or until 170 degrees internal temperature.
They were delicious, so flavorful with the brightness of lemon and garlic, charred on the outside, juicy on the inside. And they were quick to cook.
1) I can look at chicken breasts and know when they're done, but I'm a big fan of using a thermometer, because it's full proof. Particularly since one of the big advantages of the Egg is its ability to maintain a consistent temperature, one cooks with the lid down. In this case, I cooked the chicken at 350 degrees, opening the Egg only occasionally to flip the chicken and monitor how fast or slow the chicken was browning. I used one of those thermometers you leave in, set the desired temperature on the monitor, and it beeped when the chicken was at 170. This technique can be used whether you have an Egg, another grill, or are using the oven. And an instant thermometer works just fine too.
2) If you want to marinate the chicken more than 30 minutes, I would take out the lemon juice from the marinade and add it 30 minutes before cooking. Acid in the marinade will denature the proteins on the surface of the meat and make it mushy if left too long.
3) Even if you're a lowfat eater, some flavor compounds are only oil soluble and not water soluble. If you want to decrease the amount of oil in the marinade, you can, but use a little oil to get maximum flavor out of your garlic and spices.
4) Use organic chicken if possible. You'll notice its clean flavor and when you cook organic chicken, it doesn't ooze the additives and liquids that are added to non-organic chicken breasts. There is most definitely a difference in quality, and I believe it's worth the price to buy organic chicken.
Grilled Garlic-Lemon Chicken Breasts
5 Organic chicken breasts
3 cloves garlic
1 large lemon, squeezed
1/3 cup extra olive oil
Salt and pepper
Penzey's Mural of Flavor
Fresh chopped parsley
Blend the garlic, lemon, and olive oil with some salt and pepper together in the blender. When done, set aside 2-3 tbs. to drizzle over the chicken when it's cooked.
Generously season the chicken breasts on both sides with the spice rub and some salt and pepper (I used Penzey's Mural of Flavor, which is a salt-free seasoning, but you can certainly use something else or stick with salt and pepper).
Put the chicken in a Ziploc bag and pour the marinade in, distributing it over the chicken. Marinate for 30 minutes.
Prep your grill and heat it to 350 degrees over a medium fire or medium direct heat.
Place the chicken breasts on the grill and cook 8-12 minutes, flipping occasionally, until the meat registers an internal temperature of 170 degrees.
Place chicken on a platter, drizzle with reserved marinade, and tent with foil. Let rest for ten to fifteen minutes. Top with fresh chopped parsley and serve.