Just when I thought a chicken breast can’t get any better – take a peek at my 12 Best Bone-In Chicken Breast Recipes – I marinated it with this grilled chicken marinade and ended up with what I thought was the best tasting chicken breast yet. The marinade has everything a great marinade should have: big flavor, perfect balance and complexity. It’s so good that I am thinking of using it as a salad dressing. Needless to say, my grilled chicken breasts turned out so well that there were no leftovers and I was asked to grill more. ASAP!
The recipe for the marinade was adapted with a couple of changes from the book called Flavorize: Great Marinades, Injections, Brines, Rubs, and Glazes. There are many really interesting recipes in the book that I want to try, but this one caught my eye. I was not wrong.
When preparing this marinade it’s best to blend all ingredients together in a blender. This will help prevent separation of oil and make the marinade velvety smooth.
The recipe provides enough marinade for about 2-3 pounds of chicken meat: 1 whole chicken, 4 chicken breasts, about 10 chicken thighs, etc. Coat pieces of chicken with the marinade and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
This grilled chicken marinade has a relatively thick consistency and needs time to penetrate the meat. Overnight marination will give you even better flavor penetration and distribution inside the meat. Best of all, marinate the night before and cook the next afternoon, leaving the meat to marinate up 24 hours. This way all you have to do is remove the meat from the fridge and grill it when you come back from work. And you will get the best possible flavor.
I added enough salt in this marinade for just 4 bone-in chicken breasts (or equivalent). This way if you leave the meat marinate for longer it won’t get too salty. But, try it and see if it’s salty enough. If not, add more to your taste.
This marinade is not sugary but it does tend to caramelize fairly quickly. To avoid charring and burning, grill the chicken over direct heat a few minutes per side to achieve desired color and browning, then move the meat to indirect heat or a less hot spot on the grill.
Bone-in chicken breasts take about 20-30 minutes to fully cook on my Big Green Egg. I like to eliminate any guesswork and use an accurate Instant Read Meat Thermometer, which helps quite a bit. If you don’t have a thermometer, grill until juices run clear and no longer pink. Let the meat rest for 5 minutes before cutting. This allows the meat reabsorb some of the juices lost during grilling.
Balsamic Garlic Grilled Chicken Marinade
- 4 bone-in skin-on chicken breasts (other chicken parts can be used as well)
- For the marinade:
- 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar see notes
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 6 medium cloves of garlic
- 1 tsp onion powder
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- ½ tsp dried marjoram
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tsp kosher salt plus more to taste
- Add all ingredients for the marinade to a blender jar. Close the lid and blend on high speed for about 20-25 seconds, until smooth.
- Transfer the marinade to a Ziploc bag. Add the chicken and shake or massage until the meat pieces are covered evenly. Expel as much air as possible and marinate in a fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight, and up to 24 hours.
- Preheat the grill to medium heat, about 325F.
- Remove the chicken from the fridge, wipe off excess marinade and pat dry with a paper towel. Grill the chicken, lid closed, frequently turning, until the internal temperature reaches 165°F, about 25-30 minutes.
- Let the meat rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
Balsamic vinegar - I recommend using good balsamic vinegar. Bad tasting balsamic (and there are many of those out there) will ruin this great marinade. Try also to use the one that is not overly sweet and thick. Too much sugar will make the meat prone to burning and charring too quickly.
Just as good:
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