Bourbon-Glazed Grilled Chicken

Bourbon Glazed Week Night BBQ Chicken insolence + wine

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Hallelujah! We’ve had five consecutive days of temperatures being in the mid 70’s to low 80’s and I couldn’t be happier than a pig in mud. With warmer weather comes summer dresses, ice cold beer (or cider) and of course, barbecuing in the middle of the work week. 

My family and I are huge chicken eaters—I’d say we eat chicken at least three times a week, which means I have to find different ways to cook it otherwise we burn out on it very quickly, especially when it comes to barbecuing chicken. Growing up, my dad kept things pretty basic with a dry rub and little to no marinade; same with my husband’s father who did the majority of the grilling at their home. Once my mother-in-law was forced onto a very strict diet while she was undergoing chemo, I really had to expand my chicken recipes.

After last weeks disaster of my husband ruining my favorite cast iron pan, I decided it would be best if he stuck to the grilling while I handled the prep over the stove putting together this awesome sauce and a couple of side dishes. I kind of prefer it that way as I can turn on some music and dance around the kitchen like an idiot, I can’t be the only one who does that, right?

The chicken itself is kept pretty basic with just a rub of salt and freshly ground pepper—the fun is in the barbecue sauce, which is just as good on grilled veggies or steak as it is on chicken, so be sure to pin this recipe once you’re in the mood for some grilling or the temperatures heat up outside. The sauce itself includes bourbon, but if you’re an alcohol free home or don’t have any bourbon on hand, you can double the Worcestershire sauce in the recipe and while it won’t taste the same, it’ll still be quite delicious. If you don’t enjoy the flavors of molasses, try our fresh peach BBQ sauce instead.

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On the beverage side of the spectrum, you can go so many different ways. When the hubby and I cooked this, we had a couple of nice bottles of beer from a local brewery, but Miraval Rosé (Brad and Angelina may be done, but this wine is worth holding on to!) would work nicely, especially if you’re having friends over for dinner, as would Peachy Canyon Vortex Zinfandel. I never say never, but avoid oaky wines like Chardonnay. Or you could bring out the flavors in the bourbon with a bourbon cocktail. 

Grilled Chicken

  • 1-4 pound chicken cut into 8 pieces
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • kosher salt

Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon flavorless oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 cup of ketchup
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce 

Directions: 

Place the chicken on a grill over the grill, skin side down, with the fattiest pieces closest to the hottest part of the grill.

Meanwhile, over medium high heat, warm the oil and add the onion until golden brown, stirring frequently. Add the garlic, and cook until fragrant, about a minute. Add the ketchup, bourbon, molasses, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and bring to a boil. Once it’s boiled, reduce the heat to medium-low and continue simmering, occasionally whisking to ensure everything is nicely combined. After approximately 10 minutes, the sauce will have thickened and can be set aside until ready to be used.

During the final 10 minutes of cooking the chicken, generously brush the glaze over the chicken, but be careful as the glaze does contain alcohol and it may cause the fire to flare up. Remove the chicken from the grill and serve immediately.

Other grilled recipes for inspiration: Grilled Pizza, Grilled Meatballs, Smoky Chicken and Corn. For a side dish, try our favorite panzanella salad.   

What’s your favorite music to listen to while you’re working in the kitchen?