Yeah, I know the pic is grilled chicken slathered with some of Rich’s family favorite Sweet Baby Ray’s sauce – but trust me – you really don’t want to contemplate the raw marinated bits o’ chicken pounded into paillards for ease of grilling.
You do? Well, OK, but don’t say I didn’t warn you!
We were down in Indiana for a hot summer’s weekend to visit with the family and introduce them all to Shiloh – BEST. PUPPY. EVER! – ermmm, in my totally non biased opinion.
The timing and the weather kinda decided for us that we’d be grilling for our supper. The location (Rich’s mom’s house) meant that we’d be using an indoor/outdoor George Foreman Grill of indefinite age and undetermined heating capability. The menu was reached by consensus and consideration of the ages and tastes of the family members in attendance – hot dogs, burgers, and chicken.
The hot dogs and burgers were a non-issue – really, a grill thingy would have to be pretty pathetic to not cook those two staples of a North American Summer.
The CHICKEN, however…
Uncertain of personal preferences and available cooking temps; we opted for boneless, skinless chicken breasts.
Considering the instant it usually takes for perfectly done boneless chicken to take on the flavor and consistency of sandpaper, we opted for a marinade to keep things moist and juicy while it was grilled until well and truly dead.
Now; which marinade?
Nigella’s basic lemon/rosemary/onion/olive oil was out – Carole isn’t a big fan of the lemon. My fallback buttermilk marinade was a possibility, but we hadn’t thought to pack any maple syrup, and besides, what we think of as “lightly seasoned with a bit of a nip” can be, to others “OHMYGOODNESSWHATDIDYOUDOTOTHISFOOD?!?” so, off I went to da Google for answers.
And answers I got.
Quite a few, including the bare bones for this marinade, which I tweaked based on the contents of mom’s spice cabinet, the taste buds involved, and the planned last-minute brush with the sauce of Mr. Sweet Baby Ray.
•2 cups buttermilk
(if you don’t have buttermilk in the fridge, here’s a buttermilk substitute)
•1/2 tsp celery seed
•1 tsp onion
•1 tsp garlic powder
•1 tsp oregano
•1 tsp black pepper
•1 tsp salt
•1/2 tsp paprika
•2 tbsp honey
•1 tbsp Dijon mustard
•Fresh parsley, loosely torn
Whisk together the buttermilk and spices, tossing in the parsley at the end.
Pour over chicken (pork chops would also be lovely with this) in a large zipper bag and squish around a bit to work the buttermilk well into the pieces.
Lay the bag flat in a rimmed dish (in case of leaks) and pop into the fridge overnight, flipping the bag when you think of it. You CAN rush things a bit and do this over the course of about four hours, but overnight is best.
When ready for grilling, remove your chicken (or chops) and discard the marinade. Shake off any excess marinade and you’re ready to grill!
Since we were using boneless, skinless chicken breasts, we held on to the emptied marinade bag for one last step:
I popped one or two of the breasts back into bag, zipped it back up and took a few WHACKS! at them with a rolling pin to flatten out the chicken. Great way to keep errant bits o’ chicken and buttermilk stuff from flying all over the kitchen, not so great time to try to take a nap (sorry about that, Carole!). Repeat until all your chicken is a more-or-less uniform thickness paillard.
And a fairly big hit with all concerned.
Tho’ Shiloh was not impressed…