Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Andy's BBQ chicken

Thanks to the back-to-school vibes everywhere this week, I'm feeling pretty nostalgic.  No matter how old I get, late August will always stir up the same feelings in me that it did nearly 7 (yikes!) years ago.  "I don't want to go back to school work.  Nooooo.  More summer!  More ice cream!  More fun!"

Similarly, my urge to travel becomes impossible to ignore in early August since it's around that time when family traditionally vacationed.  Most years, we headed to Ocean City, MD, or Myrtle Beach, SC.  A week of sun, sand, water, and family fun was something we looked forward to every year!

But, what we really looked forward to were things like sending postcards to and picking out gifts for friends back home.  My parents did the same for coworkers and neighbors, too.

Don't you love that agreeing to water someone's flowers or collect newspapers and mail while that person is away pretty much guarantees you a box of salt water taffy?  Nothing says thank you quite like food, right?

Since our childhood vacations were pre-cell phones, we always had so much to share with friends when we returned.   "The ocean was so warm!  We saw jellyfish!  We ate craaaaaaabs!"  And, the ever important, "We dug a giant hole in the sand and made a pool!"

We'd catch up on what happened while we were apart over boxes of Dolle's taffy and Fisher's caramel popcorn.  Sticky fingers city, let me tell you!  We were just happy to see each other, and those who stayed behind were eager to hear of far-away adventures and enjoy the presents we brought.

So, I bet you're wondering what my wonderful husband brought me back from the beach.  Taffy?  Popcorn?  Sea shells or hermit crabs?  Nope.  Something even better: a new chicken recipe!

The man sure knows the way to my heart ;)

Matt and his friends from college went into downtown Charleston only twice for dinner, opting to stay at the house they rented and cook dinner most nights.  One night, Matt's friend, Andy, brought chicken that he'd been marinating for nearly 30 (!) hours to grill.  Though our communication was minimal that week, Matt raved about the chicken, even calling me just to report on it.  God bless that man!

Chicken that good had to be made again so I could try it for myself.  I e-mailed Andy right away, asking for the recipe, and he kindly shared it.  Recipes don't get much easier than this, folks.  Mix, marinate, cook -- that's it!

Sweet, spicy, and deliriously good.  The spices flavor the chicken while the yogurt mellows out the heat of the cayenne and tenderizes the chicken so it's ultra juicy, even after cooking.  No dry, tough chicken here.  No, sir.

[All of my prep pictures must've looked so good that my computer ate them.  True story.  Apologies!]

I know it seems like I say this all the time, but this is my new favorite chicken recipe.  It's become our go-to prep when the dinner plan simply reads "chicken and vegetables."  So much so that we've already had it twice since Matt returned.

Though my sweet tooth and craving for salt water taffy remains unsatisfied this summer, I can't really complain.  A box of taffy would've lasted approximately 72 hours around our place, while this recipe is the vacation gift that'll keep on giving for months to come!

Three years ago: Herbed summer squash and potato gratin

Andy's BBQ Chicken
-serves 2

A few notes: This is one of those magical recipes that's easily adapted to prepare enough food for a very small or mega huge crowd.  Also, though I used chicken breasts because we had 'em, any part of the chicken will do.  Andy said he loves to use chicken thighs, and I imagine legs and even skin-on breasts would be delicious, too.

4 teaspoons brown sugar
3 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup plain yogurt
2 6-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts

In a large resealable plastic bag, combine spices until mixed.  Add yogurt and blend.  Add chicken, tossing to coat.  Seal bag and refrigerate for at least 4 hours but up to 2 days.  (I marinated for 24 hours.)

When ready to cook, preheat grill/grill pan to high.  Cook chicken 5 to 7 minutes on each side.  Serve immediately and enjoy!

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