Some Fine Grilled Chicken

A new tool
Finding a recipe
Cooking and eating

We went Saturday to the Farmers Market on California Street. It is good; a double row of stalls strung out across a shopping center parking lot. [Pictures next time, I promise.] There are plenty of fruits and vegetables to choose from, but only one meat source: Hole-in-One Ranch with a great selection of grass fed beef, but no other meat varieties.

On the way home, we stopped at Raley’s to scout their meat department. Well, its a supermarket and 99 percent of their meat is precut and wrapped, just like any supermarket. The meat guy did point out that certain chicken was organic. We bought a pack of 4 thighs, not knowing what we would do with them. (I look forward to reporting our success in finding good meat and seafood sources in Reno, but we’re not there yet.)

For the chicken, I hit my “to cook” files on the computer, looking for some kind of grilled chicken. As previously noted, we have a rekindled love affair with our grill, and this has been exaggerated by a housewarming gift from Carol’s brother Mark and Jannie of Keystone Tomato and Big Green Egg fame: a Technique Grill Pan.

Wow. That sucker sits on your grill and on one side imitates the grill and on the other presents a griddle. And it’s non-freakin’-stick!! Swordfish has a good chance of sticking on your grill, right?

Look at that baby, when I went to turn it, it slid across the grill. And look at those vegetables… Squash, ok that grills up nicely, but carrots? Who would put carrots on a grill? These turned out just crunch tender and tasty. And cherry tomatoes? Didn’t burst, didn’t stick. Did delight.

But I digress… back to those chicken thighs. “Chicken with White BBQ MB” looked interesting, and it had the “MB” suffix, meaning Mark Bittman, an even better chance to be interesting. And it was real simple: Grill your chicken, serve with the sauce.

That’s just what I did, substituting bone-in chicken thighs for breasts.

chicken thighs and romano beans happily grilling away

Now, that’s just darned good. The sauce turned out to be thinner than I expected, but tasted great.

Bittman had this to say, “…once the grilled breasts were dipped in the white sauce, the magic truly happened. The creamy, peppery sauce had a slight edge of heat that was transformational. By the end of the meal, we were pouring white sauce on everything we could find—grilled mushrooms, corn, bread, whatever — just so we could get some more of it.”

I made only a half-recipe of sauce, but had plenty left over, so I put that sauce to the test the following day. I had a half-thigh left over, cut the meat off the bone and heated it with some leftover roasted cauliflower. I poured the white sauce over and had that for lunch with some brown toast to push it around. That’s good. Tangy and piquant and yet comforting in the sauce’s whiteness. I have found a new chicken recipe.

Here’s the recipe as printed in the NY Times [my Cook’s Notes in bold italic]:

Bitten – Mark Bittman on Food
June 5, 2009
A Barbecue Sauce That Transforms Chicken
By Annemarie Conte, Emily Weinstein/The New York Times

Brined Chicken with White Sauce, from Chris Lilly, barbecue champ and author of the new cookbook “Big Bob Gibson’s BBQ Book.” Mr. Lilly is executive chef of Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q in Decatur, Alabama.

Brined Chicken with White Sauce
Yield Serves 8
Time 1 hour brining, 12 minutes cooking
Chris Lilly


The cooking method here is direct heat.


1 cup apple juice
1 cup water
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

8 boneless skinless chicken breasts [I used 4 bone-in, skinned, chicken thighs.]
Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q White Sauce (see recipe below)


In a medium bowl, combine the brine ingredients and mix well. Add the chicken, making sure the pieces are completely covered. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 1 hour. Remove the chicken from the brine and wipe off the excess salt.

Preheat an outdoor grill to 400 degrees. Place the chicken on the grate directly over the heat and grill for 5 to 6 minutes on each side, or until golden brown and firm to the touch. The internal temperature of the chicken should be 160 degrees.

Submerge each chicken thigh into a bowl of Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q White Sauce. Remove from the sauce and serve. [I made a puddle of sauce on each plate, placed the chicken, and spooned more sauce over.]

Yield 4 cups
Chris Lilly


2 cups mayonnaise
1 cup distilled white vinegar
1/2 cup apple juice
2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper


In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients and blend well. Store refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Source: Adapted from a New York Times story on “Big Bob Gibson’s BBQ Book” by Chris Lilly

3 thoughts on “Some Fine Grilled Chicken

  1. See if one of your local supermarket chains carries Empire Kosher chicken – great flavor, consistent quality.


  2. Trader Joe’s carries it too.


  3. The BBQ white sauce sounds so tasty. I imagine it could be used with meat and fish too.

    You and your cooking pans, equipment, tools and gadgets. What a lucky guy.


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