Have you noticed how superlatives are being thrown around like rice at a wedding, lately? Everything’s THE BEST, THE GREATEST, THE WORST, THE MOST CATACLYSMIC… blah, blah, blah. When EVERY situation, trip, experience or meal is inflated like that, it denigrates the things that truly do stand out — for whatever reason. That’s a shame, because when I tell you that this Grilled Chicken with Herb Dry-Rub is the BEST, you need to believe me.
I’m not saying that it’s the best in the world, I’m saying that for the sum of its parts, limited number of ingredients, the easy preparation, this is a flavor bomb that should be on your dinner table every week.
Fresh herbs and whole spices ground to oblivion make an incredibly flavorful rub.
A little garlic, of course, with salt and pepper enhance those flavors.
Here’s the best part — a smidge of brown sugar. Not a lot, but enough to add a mildly sweet finish to the chicken.
Make this rub in the morning — or if you’re a really forward thinker… the night before.
Rub it all over the chicken pieces (I used thighs — cause they’re my favorite) cover and refrigerate at least a few hours or overnight, until you’re ready to grill.
Scott, my grill-master, took it from there. He advises a hot grill (350°-400°). The chicken goes on, skin side down and you wait. Do not nudge, do not fidget and by God – DO NOT FLIP THE CHICKEN UNTIL IT’S READY TO BE FLIPPED. The skin will release when it’s ready — and not a moment sooner. If you force it, you could rip the skin – which isn’t a felony, but according to my grill-master, it should be.
Cook the chicken until the juices run clear — for these thighs, it took about 10 more minutes. Breasts may take a little longer.
If you don’t have a grill, (or grill master) you can just as easily roast your chicken in a hot oven, but you won’t get those gorgeous grill marks and that one-of-a-kind char. If I were you, I’d just buy a grill.
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Grilled Chicken with Herb Dry Rub
This peppercorn and herb rub permeates the meat and flavors the chicken like no other!
- 1 teaspoon red peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon black pepper coarsely ground
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 lb chicken thighs bone-in skin-on, you can use breasts, legs and wings too
- In a small bowl combine first 8 ingredients.
- Using a sharp knife, trim any excess fat from the chicken. Pat chicken dry with a paper towel. Liberally sprinkle rub onto both sides of chicken and press with your fingers so that it adheres to the bird. Place chicken on a platter and transfer to the refrigerator to marinate for at least two hours and up to 8.
- Take chicken out of the fridge 15 minutes before cooking.
To Grill: Preheat grill to 375 degrees. Place thighs skin side down for 6 minutes. To prevent flare ups and maximize the flavor of the rub, do not leave grill unattended with skin side down as the drippings can trigger a flare up that may burn the skin. Check the chicken with a pair of grilling tongs after 6-7 minutes -- and see if it's ready to be flipped. If the skin sticks, leave it on for another minute or two before trying to flip it again. Turn the chicken over and continue to cook until the juices run clear -- 10-12 minutes.
For Roasting In An Oven: preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Set a rack over a rimmed baking sheet. Place chicken on rack. Roast for 25-30 minutes, until skin is crispy and browned and flesh is cooked through, but still juicy.
Tent the chicken and let it rest for 5-7 minutes to redistribute the juices in the meat. Serve.
This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled.
You can use drumsticks, wings, breasts, or spatchcock chicken -- adjust the cook time accordingly.
More Grilled Meats: