Years ago while vacationing in LA, I had the Best Ever Grilled Chicken.
Maybe it was just the entire experience of spending a week relaxing on the beach, hiking in the mountains, spending time with family, and enjoying all the great food Southern California has to offer, but the chicken I had on one particular afternoon really was the best.
My kids were pretty young at the time, enjoying an entire afternoon in the pool. I was under an umbrella, enjoying some summer beach quick read and visiting with my sister. She and I didn’t have the heart to take the kids back to her house for lunch, so we ordered a couple baskets of chicken strips, burgers and fries for the kids, and she and I split a grilled chicken sandwich with a side salad. Weren’t we being good?
Maybe I was extra hungry that afternoon or just caught up in the moment of enjoying the day, but that sandwich was amazingly good. It was marinated in some sort of teriyaki sauce, probably using more sugar than I care to know, but oh boy it was good. I still kick myself for not asking the grill chef for that recipe.
Finally Found What I Was Looking For
For years I’ve been trying to find a grilled chicken to beat or at least meet the deliciousness of the Best Ever Grilled Chicken I had that beautiful sunny afternoon.
I came across a recipe that came really close to what I was looking for. When I prepare it, I usually use just a basic seasoning salt in place of kosher salt but either will work fine.
I’ve also been known to use Dijon mustard if I don’t have any of the coarse-ground brown mustard on hand. Yellow mustard seems to mustardy so don’t use it.
I love using lots of garlic, but feel free to adjust it to your taste. Also, size matters. If using large cloves of garlic, you may want to cut it back to maybe 2 cloves.
Be sure you have time to marinate the Best Ever Grilled Chicken. Overnight seems to work best because the chicken needs the time soaking in the sauce for the best flavor. Marinating any longer than overnight seems to make the grilled chicken a little chewy and spongy in texture. I think all that acid from the vinegar and citrus juices start “cooking” the chicken.
I usually grill up a big batch of chicken breasts when I cook these. They are the perfect leftovers to use the next day in my salad or heated up with sautéed onions and bell peppers (any color) for fajitas.
Best Grilled Chicken Ever
- ¼ cup cider vinegar
- 3 Tablespoons prepared coarse-ground mustard
- 3 cloves garlic peeled and minced
- 1 lime juiced
- ½ lemon juiced
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt or seasoning salt
- ground black pepper to taste
- 6 Tablespoons olive oil
- 6 skinless boneless chicken breast halves
In a large glass bowl, MIX the cider vinegar, mustard, garlic, lime juice, lemon juice, brown sugar, salt, and pepper. WHISK in the olive oil. PLACE chicken in the mixture. COVER, and marinate 8 hours, or overnight.
PREHEAT an outdoor grill to high heat. Lightly OIL the grill grate. PLACE chicken on the prepared grill, and COOK 6 to 8 minutes per side, until juices run clear. Discard marinade.