Blackened Grilled Chicken


Blackened is a word where the more you type it, the more it doesn’t look like a real word. I assure you it is. And speaking of real, this blackened chicken is REAL-ly DELICIOUS.

In my arsenal of super simple recipes, this one ranks close to the top.  I’ve made this chicken every week since we’ve been doing the Whole 30 because I can prep and grill it quickly on Sunday and it’s perfect to have laying around as Post-workout protein, a salad topping for a quick lunch, or to chop into chunks and mix up with some homemade mayo and celery for a spicy Cajun chicken salad.

Simplicity, for the win.

Blackening is a cooking technique that involves butter, spices and a hot cast iron skillet, and is traditionally used for fish. But if you mix up a blackening rub and use it on grilled chicken, you evoke all the fun and flavor of blackening, but without having to stand in front of a hot stove during the summer.

So let’s talk about essential steps. There are three. You ready?

3 Step Blackened Grilled Chicken
 

Ingredients
  • ¼ Cup Salt
  • 1 Quart Water
  • 4-6 Large Chicken Breasts
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ground dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon ground dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon finely ground white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Oil for your grill

Instructions
  1. Brine Your Chicken Breasts — This sounds very fancy but it is actually really easy. Ever since I learned how to do this, I won’t grill chicken breasts without brining. It makes THAT big of a difference. All you do is throw your chicken breasts in a gallon sized ziploc bag. Then in a pyrex mix ¼ Cup of Salt into 1 Quart of water until it is mostly dissolved. Pour the mixture into your bag of chicken and let it sit for an hour or two. Note: I keep my ziploc bag inside another bowl just in case it decides to leak or something. Chicken juice leaking in the fridge is No Bueno.
  2. Liberally Sprinkle Your Rub Onto The Chicken. Then, um…Rub. Get a good coating on each side so it can get all up in your chicken. The brine gives you moisture and flavor from the inside, the rub is giving you a little FLAVA for the outside.
  3. Oil Up Your Grill and Grill Out! Make sure to oil the grates of your grill so there is no sticking (pour a little on a paper towel, turn the heat down for a quick second, rub your grates, presto!) Grill your chicken breasts until they are full cooked inside (depends on the size and thickness of your breast, but I usually find it to be somewhere between 5 minutes each side with the grill open, and a few minutes with grill closed.)

 

See? I told you it was easy!

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Live the Thigh Life: 10 Paleo Recipes To Make You Love Chicken Thighs

So remember how I used to be afraid of chicken thighs? But then I found some easy recipes and now all of a sudden I am a Chicken Thigh Ambassador? Well I think it’s time that ambassadorship got a hashtag.


I racked my brain and obviously the only one that truly represents the essence of amazing-ness that is the chicken thigh was #thighlife. I mean, RIGHT?? I think it’s got a certain panache. Don’t you think 2Pac liked chicken thighs? I bet he did.

Anyway, if you are still on the fence, I’m going to urge you one last time to give chicken thighs a chance. Wait, who am I kidding, this will not be the last time. But in case you needed some inspiration, here are 10 recipes from around the internet that might get your creative cooking-wheels spinning! I’ve included some substitutions if you want to make sure they are paleo.

1. Lemon Chicken Thighs
2. Korean Chicken Thighs (use your favorite soy sauce substitute)
3. Gingered Chicken Thighs (sub soy sauce and maybe sun butter for the peanut sauce?)
4. Turkish Chicken Thighs (sub coconut milk for the yogurt if you don’t do dairy)
5. Greek Chicken Thighs
6. Filipino Chicken Adobo (again with the soy sauce substitute)
7. Baked Pumpkin Chicken Thighs
8. Braised Chicken Thighs
9. Grilled Marinated Chicken Thighs (substitute chicken broth for the beer if you don’t do beer. The spice mixture looks awesome!)
10. Honey Spiced Chicken Thighs

*****

Do you have any tried and true chicken thigh recipes that have converted your friends? Leave ‘em in the comments!

Honey Spiced Chicken Thighs

Spiced Honey Chicken Thighs

I am on a personal mission to make the world love chicken thighs. Boneless, skinless chicken thighs particularly, so I thought I should get my agenda right out there in the open. If you are even the slightest bit scared to cooked chicken thighs but you are willing to test out something quick and easy, THIS is your recipe. (I’m looking at you Mom and Aunt Louise!) There is little prep and the entire dish comes together in under 20 minutes from fridge to table. Also, your chicken thighs get those crispy little bits that you can get on the grill without having to brave the outdoors and who doesn’t love crispy little bits? I mean, come on.

If you are a lover of chicken thighs (Please, join the club, would you? For the love.) you will enjoy adding this to your arsenal of weeknight recipes, I promise! I adapted it from a Cooking Light recipe and it says something like “Our most popular chicken recipe ever.” EVER, you guys. So you know it has to be pretty good. Serve it along side some sauteed greens (mustard greens, pictured above) or a big salad — HOW GOOD DOES A BIG SALAD SOUND AT THIS TIME OF YEAR??? — and get on to all those other things you need to do after dinner!

Quick. Convenient. Tasty. Chicken.

(All of a sudden I feel like Dale Jr. in those Wrangler ads – Real. Comfortable. Jeans.)

It’s the Wrangler of Chicken Recipes! EAT THEM ALREADY!

Honey Spiced Chicken Thighs
Adapted from Cooking Light

Ingredients

3 teaspoons garlic powder
3 teaspoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1/2-1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (depending on how spicy you like things)
12 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
9 tablespoons honey
3 teaspoons cider vinegar

Method

1.  Get your broiler nice and hot!

2.  Combine first 6 ingredients (your dry rub) in a large bowl. Add chicken to bowl; toss to coat.

3. Place chicken on a cookie sheet lined with a rack.

4. Broil chicken 5 minutes on each side with your cookie sheet on the high rack in your oven.

5. Combine honey and vinegar in a small bowl, stirring well.

6. Remove chicken from oven; brush half of the honey mixture on chicken. Broil 1 minute.

7. Remove chicken from oven and turn over. Brush chicken with remaining honey mixture. Broil 1 additional minute or until chicken is done.

8. Enjoy!

Grilled Maple Mustard Chicken Thighs

Maple Mustard Chicken Thighs

Yep, it tastes as good as it looks! Even on a paper plate! (Food Blogging Fail…BAHAHAHAH!)

I mentioned on this week and last week’s menu a little recipe for Maple Mustard Chicken Thighs and you all — IT IS A KEEPER!

I’m a super fan of marinades that you can easily make on hand with ingredients you normally have lying around. I’m also a fan of marinades that are man pleasing and delicious. This one satisfies all of the above.

I used chicken thighs because I am having a love affair with them. Have you enjoyed chicken thighs lately? I always thought they were kind of slimy and gross looking, but then I realized — oh wait, that’s ALL CHICKEN! But chicken thighs have the added benefit of holding up wonderfully on the grill because they are so juicy! The outside gets nice and crispy, while the inside stays completely delicious and doesn’t dry out. They are worth trying in this marinade if you haven’t! That said, it would also go lovely with chicken breasts, so never fear if you aren’t feeling adventurous.

Chicken thighs as an adventure? My life is really a Thrill-A-Minute ain’t it?

So I took the original recipe and changed a few things to make it slightly more Paleo friendly (substitutes for refined sugar and tweaked the mustards due to what I had on hand) but the truth is this recipe is a bit of a sweet treat. But the other truth is — it is AWESOME! So use that information for good or for evil!

I love this recipe is best on the grill, but it would also be enjoyable cooked in a pan or baked. I have done both and it’s quite adaptable. Also, it is November, so you know — choose the cooking method that best works for your weather situation!
*****

Maple Mustard Chicken Thighs
Adapted from Cooking Light

Ingredients

9-10 Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs (or 4 Breasts)
1/3 Cup of Stone Ground Mustard
3 TBS Honey
3 TBS Maple Syrup
3 TBS Yellow Mustard
1/4 Onion, grated
1 TBS Apple Cider Vinegar
2 tsp Coconut Aminos (or Soy Sauce if you use that)
1 tsp black pepper

Method

1. Mix up all those ingredients in a little Pyrex. It won’t look glamorous, but it will be good.

Maple Mustard Chicken Thighs

2. Marinate your chicken for 2-12 hours. (I’ve even done it the night before I grilled and left it in the fridge. Lazy man marinating!)

3. Before you grill (AND THIS IS IMPORTANT) season your chicken with salt. I used probably about 1/2-1 tsp.

4. Grill! (or pan fry, or bake!)

When I grill chicken thighs I generally do it over fairly high heat and do 5 mins with the grill open, 3-5 minutes closed, flip and 5 minutes with the grill open. Depending on the size and thickness of your thighs you may need additional time, but this works pretty flawlessly.

Oh, I forgot Step 5

5. EAT THEM WITH EVERYTHING! Vegetables, salads, cold out of the fridge — it’s all delicious baby!

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