There’s hardly a more popular way to prepare food in the summer than on the grill. And one of the most popular foods is chicken, whether it’s boneless breasts or bone-in thighs and legs.
Boneless chicken cooks quicker and is the healthier option. But it also is more bland. Grilling bone-in chicken takes a little longer (the bone absorbs heat and this slows the cooking process of the meat closest to the bone) but it does retain a bit more moisture. However, it can be tricky because if one isn’t careful, the end result can be chicken that is undercooked on the inside while overcooked on the outside.
Also, advocates for grilling bone-in chicken say there’s really no need for spices or sauces if you don’t want them. The slow cooking on the grill gives bone-in chicken a flavor that parboiling can’t touch.
One of who says bone-in chicken on the grill is the best way you’ll ever have it, includes chef Hugh Acheson, cookbook author and Bravo “Top Chef” judge. The following recipe, adapted from his “A New Turn in the South: Southern Flavors Reinvented for Your Kitchen” (Clarkson Potter, $35), will demonstrate exactly that.
Grilled Chicken with Lemon, Mint and Soy
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons each: Dijon mustard, fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
¼ cup each, minced: fresh mint, fresh flat-leaf parsley
½ teaspoon kosher salt
3½ to 4 pounds chicken thighs and legs (about 6 medium pieces)
Prepare charcoal or gas grill that will give you medium to medium-high heat for 15 to 20 minutes cooking time. If you use charcoal, be sure coals are very gray and cooked down to help prevent flare-ups during cooking.
Mix oil, soy sauce, mustard, lemon juice, zest, pepper flakes, mint and parsley in a small bowl. Very lightly salt chicken thighs and legs. Place chicken, skin side down, on grill. Cook, about 8 minutes. Turn pieces skin side up; continue grilling. Divide herb sauce in half, placing portions in separate bowls. Baste tops of chicken with half the herb sauce; reserve remainder for serving. (Don’t cross contaminate the bowls of sauce.) Continue grilling until internal temperature registers 165 degrees. Transfer cooked birds to a serving platter; drizzle with reserved herb sauce.
Yield: Serves 6.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 490 calories, 37 grams fat (8 grams saturated), 209 milligrams cholesterol, 3 grams carbohydrates, 36 grams protein, 1,293 milligrams sodium, no fiber.