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How-To

Grilled Chicken, Today and Tomorrow

A Thai marinade enlivens a grilled, butterflied bird.

Fine Cooking Issue 58
Photos: Amy Albert
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Throughout Thailand, makeshift food stalls dot the roadside, selling all kinds of delicious food hot off portable grills. It’s there that I tasted the most fabulous grilled chicken that I’ve ever had. I used to buy several—one to devour immediately in the car, and the rest to use throughout the week.

After years of haunting those roadside stands, I realized that the chicken I craved was flavored with a simple Thai marinade of garlic, cilantro, oil, and a few basic spices. Now I make my favorite chicken at home—and I’m sure to have enough tasty leftovers to use throughout the week for fried rice, chicken salad, and noodles.

Butterfly for even cooking; marinate for flavor

To cook the chicken over a gas or charcoal grill, I butterfly it before marinating. Butterflying creates more surface area to char and give the chicken that great smoky flavor, and it helps cook the chicken more evenly too. Marinating for eight hours results in the most intense flavor, but I’ve marinated for as little as one hour with good results.

How to Butterfly a Chicken

Using poultry shears, cut along each side of the backbone to remove it.
Flip the chicken over, press firmly on the center of the breast, and break the breastbone.

Grill tonight for extra chicken tomorrow

Curried Fried Rice, Chicken-Apple Salad, and Cool Rice Noodles are three delicious and easy ways to use leftover chicken. These recipes call for anywhere from 1/4 cup to 2 cups of shredded chicken, so if you’re serving the grilled bird to two people the first night, you’ll have enough chicken left over to make one or two of these dishes in the next few days. But if you’re feeding four the first night, consider grilling two chickens so you’re sure to have leftovers. The marinade is easily doubled. I’ve also included a recipe for an easy sweet and sour sauce that’s great to serve with the grilled chicken and also is a building block for the other recipes.

Master Recipes:
Grilled Thai Chicken
Sweet & Sour Sauce

Related Recipes:
Curried Fried Rice with Chicken
Chicken-Apple Salad
Cool Rice Noodles with Chicken

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