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Five-Spice Grilled Chicken with Hoisin-Maple Glaze


Serves 4 to 6

Chinese cooks have used five-spice powder and hoisin to flavor barbecued meat for centuries, and they’re really onto something: it gives this chicken a sweet, spicy, haunting flavor. Unless you’re feeding all white-meat lovers or all dark-meat lovers, grill an assortment of chicken legs, thighs, breasts, and wings.

  • 2 Tbs. dark brown sugar
  • 1 Tbs. sweet Hungarian paprika
  • 1 Tbs. minced fresh garlic (about 3 large cloves)
  • 2-1/2 tsp. Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1 tsp. ground fennel seed
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 lb. bone-in chicken pieces (legs, thighs, breasts, and wings)
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 2 Tbs. pure maple syrup
  • 1 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 1 Tbs. honey
  • 2 tsp. Asian sesame oil
  • 2 tsp. minced fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup peanut or canola oil
Indirect grilling is a must for chicken on the bone so the chicken can cook through before the outside burns. Don’t glaze the chicken until just before it’s done, or the glaze will burn; watch for flare-ups after the glaze goes on.

In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, paprika, garlic, 2 tsp. of the five-spice, fennel, mustard, 1 Tbs. salt, and 2 tsp. pepper. Put the chicken pieces in a 9x13-inch baking dish and rub the spice mix all over the chicken. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and no more than 6 hours.

Prepare a charcoal or gas grill fire for indirect cooking over medium heat (325°F to 375°F). In a small bowl, combine the hoisin, maple syrup, soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, ginger, and the remaining 1/2 tsp. five-spice powder.

Lightly brush the chicken pieces with the peanut oil and arrange skin side down over direct heat. Cover and cook until grill marks form, 3 to 5 minutes. If the chicken flares up, immediately move it to indirect heat. Flip the chicken and mark the other side, 2 minutes more. Move the chicken to the cooler side of the grill to finish cooking over indirect heat. Cover and cook, occasionally rearranging the pieces to ensure even cooking, until an instant-read thermometer registers 165°F (breast pieces) to 170°F (leg pieces), 30 to 45 minutes.

Generously brush the glaze on the chicken and flip glaze side down over to the hotter part of the grill. Cook until the glaze is bubbly and deep red, 30 to 60 seconds. Brush more glaze on the top of the chicken, flip, and cook for 30 to 60 seconds more. Serve immediately.

Serving Suggestions

Prepare a perfect summer meal by serving the grilled chicken with a Tomato, Feta, and Chickpea Salad and Triple Ginger Ice Cream Sandwiches for dessert.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 440, Fat (kcal): 24, Fat Calories (g): 220, Saturated Fat (g): 6, Protein (g): 35, Monounsaturated Fat (g): 10, Carbohydrates (mg): 20, Polyunsaturated Fat (mg): 7, Sodium (g): 1050, Cholesterol (g): 105, Fiber (g): 1,

Photo: Scott Phillips

OUTSTANDING! My hubby is our charcoal grilling expert and his chicken is the BEST with a salt/pepper crispy skin, but this is a step beyond.....not only flavorful and delicious, but the rub really tenderized the thighs [our choice for grilled chicken] with a falling off the bone quality. This is worthy of a company dinner. We had with Paula Deen's Broccoli Slaw.....perfect foil for the sweet/sticky chicken.

This recipe is a keeper! Too cold and rainy to grill so prepared the chicken as directed and baked it in the oven at 350 and finished it off under the broiler. Served with Basmati rice and mixed vegetable saute. Ants would starve on what was left over!

A yummy, easy recipe. Loved the glaze-the combination of hoisin sauce, maple syrup and five-spice powder gives an incredible taste. I used whole legs on this-next time I'll shorten the grilling time.

The was loved by everyone in the family. The five year-old gave it 10-fingers up. Absolutely delicious. Read my full review at:

This is great---bones picked clean! The rub is kind of a messy job but the rest is a breeze. I don't know what it could hurt to leave it on longer than 6 hours (if you wanted to get it started before you left for work in the morning), certainly worth a try. Great weekend meal. Still felt like it was missing something to put it over the top---will play around a bit (but not too much).

I am not a big fan of five-spice but this recipe was tasty and would definitely make again.

The flavor was excellent and the chicken was super moist and almost fell off the bone. We did 4 very large whole legs. Took less than 20 minutes after searing so check for doneness at 15 minutes. The time frame for the spice rub between 2 and 6 hours was a pita, too long before dinner and not long enough for overnight. I won't be making it again because of this. If it could be left overnight, it would be a 5 star keeper.

This is a fabulous recipe! We made it for a dinner party and everyone agreed "it's a keeper" - after having seconds and thirds. It's a bit labor intensive to prepare, but can be done hours ahead. Served with jasmine rice and haricot verts. Sauv Blanc goes well with this.

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