20, Jun 2008
Golden Hoisin Chicken

I like chicken, since it’s healthy and is a good blank canvas for flavors. But, as much as I like to grill beef and pork, I usually don’t get much interesting out of grilling chicken. The best I’ve found is to grill bone-in breasts, since the bone keeps them moist and the skin can get charred and smoky, but I haven’t had much luck adding much additional flavor, except just sort of on the surface. I decided to do a sort of asian hoisin-soy-sugar thing, because I figured the thick sauce would form sort of a glaze, and the sugar would caramel a bit. Add some garlic and ginger.. should be great! And I had the idea that stuffing it under the skin, as well as using it as a glaze, might help the flavor absorb more. Plus, of course, chicken always likes to be brined.

2 bone-in chicken breasts
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 medium slices ginger, minced
4 c warm water
1/4 c kosher salt
1/4 c sugar (+ a bit extra)
Hoisin sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, salt, molasses

Dissolve the salt, 1/4 c sugar, and molasses in the water. Add the chicken breasts, cover, and brine for about thirty minutes. Meanwhile, mix some hoisin, sesame oil, soy sauce, sugar, garlic, and ginger to make a medium-thick paste. Heat up the grill to medium-high, top closed (should be around 375 degrees). When the chicken’s brined, rub some of the hoisin mixture under the skin as much as possible and brush on the outside of the chicken. Lay on the grill, skin side up, and close grill again. Brush the tops with additional sauce after 10-15 minutes, but don’t turn over. Finish the chicken with the lid down (about 25 minutes total, depending; the meat should be at about 165 degrees). Serve and enjoy! It’s good with fresh corn on the cob and tomato-mozzarella salad.
Surprisingly good! I’ve grilled a lot of chicken and usually find it very hard to get it to take on any flavor in any significant way. But the combination of the smoky grill effect and the flavors of the sauce managed to pervade the meat pretty well, and the result was really good. And it comes out a beautiful golden brown, with a touch of charred skin.