Forego the overdone steaks and blackened boerewors for a tender and juicy, perfectly crispy-charred piece of chicken – any piece, take your pick – these foolproof, flame-ready recipes have got the whole thing covered.
Hot Honey Wings
4 - 6 Servings
Hot honey is a beautiful marriage between sweet and spicy and easy to make yourself. After baking the chicken wings in the oven, they need less than 10 (flare-up-free) minutes on the grill to turn crispy and glazy.
- 1T cayenne pepper
- 1T freshly ground black pepper
- 900g chicken wings, patted dry
- 2 limes, divided
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1T fish sauce
- 3T dried hot red chillies
- 1 cup sweet peppers (about 225g)
- 3–5 jalapeños, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup coriander leaves with tender stems
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped salted dry-roasted peanuts
1. Mix chilli powder and 1T black pepper in a small bowl until well combined.
2. Arrange chicken wings in a single layer on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Rub all over with spice mixture and let sit at room temperature, at least 15 minutes, or cover and chill up to one day. If chilling, let sit at room temperature one hour before grilling.
3. Place a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 190°C. Bake wings until slightly golden, 30–40 minutes. Remove from oven; allow to cool slightly.
4. Slice 1 lime in half and squeeze juice into a large bowl; mix in honey, fish sauce, and 3T dried hot red chillies. Transfer chicken wings to bowl and toss to coat in hot honey glaze.
5. Prepare a grill for medium heat. Grill chicken wings and sweet peppers, turning occasionally until chicken is deep golden brown and charred in spots and sweet peppers are blistered and charred in spots, 5-8 minutes.
6. Transfer chicken wings and sweet peppers to a platter; top with chillies, coriander, and peanuts and sprinkle more dried hot red chillies over. Slice remaining lime into wedges and serve wings and sweet peppers with lime wedges for squeezing over.
Grilled Pineapple Drumsticks
This marinade packs in a lot of flavour with fresh pineapple, shallots, garlic, and shrimp paste, and it stays put thanks to the rich coconut cream that helps it cling to every cranny. Make sure you buy coconut cream and not cream of coconut, which is sweetened and used in cocktails.
- 1.3kg skin-on chicken drumsticks
- 2 shallots, peeled, halved
- 6 garlic cloves
- 440ml tin coconut cream
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- 2t crushed red pepper flakes
- 2t shrimp paste
- 1 1.3kg pineapple, peeled, cored, sliced 1.5cm thick, divided
- 2T vegetable oil, plus more for grill
- Coarsley chopped coriander and lime wedges, for serving
1. Make a 1.5cm-deep cut along each side of each drumstick (this will help the marinade penetrate quickly into the flesh) and place in a large bowl; set aside while you make the marinade.
2. Purée shallots, garlic, coconut cream, lime juice red pepper flakes, shrimp paste, half of the pineapple slices, and 2T oil in a blender to a smooth paste. Set 1 cup marinade aside; pour remaining marinade over reserved drumsticks. Toss until drumsticks are completely coated in marinade. Let sit 15 minutes.
3. Prepare a grill for medium indirect heat (for a charcoal grill, bank coals on one side of grill; for a gas grill, leave one or two burners off). Lightly oil grate; arrange drumsticks over indirect heat. Baste chicken with reserved marinade, then cover and grill 20 minutes.
4. Uncover grill and turn drumsticks over. Baste one more time with marinade, then cover and grill until drumsticks are golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a drumstick registers 75°C, 25–30 minutes. Move drumsticks over direct heat and grill, turning halfway through, until golden brown and charred in spots, about 4 minutes. Transfer drumsticks to a large platter.
5. Arrange remaining pineapple slices on grate over direct heat and grill, turning halfway through, until golden brown and lightly charred in spots, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and arrange over and around drumsticks.
6. Top pineapple and drumsticks with coriander and serve with lime wedges.
Grilled Chicken Breasts with Tadka-ish Sauce
If you can find them, skin-on, boneless chicken breasts combine the ultimate in crispy skin potential and fast cooking time. Bone-in breasts work great too! Just note they will take about 10 minutes longer to grill over indirect heat.
- Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 garlic clove, finely grated
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1T mayonnaise
- 1 1/2t pure maple syrup
- 1/2t black pepper
- Kosher salt
- 1kg skin-on, boneless chicken breasts (about 5)
- 1/2t kosher salt, plus more
- 2T extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1T cumin seeds
- 5 spring onions, thinly sliced
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1T pure
- 1/2t cayenne pepper
- 1 head of Little Gem or romaine lettuce, torn into large pieces
- 140g peppery greens (such as rocket or watercress)
Whisk lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, buttermilk, mayonnaise, maple syrup, and pepper in a small bowl until mostly smooth and combined. Season buttermilk dressing with salt.
Dressing can be made one day ahead. Cover and chill.
1. Prepare a grill for medium indirect heat (for a charcoal grill, bank coals on one side of grill; for a gas grill, leave one or two burners off). Place chicken breasts on a plate. Season all over with salt, then drizzle olive oil over both sides.
2. Arrange chicken breasts, skin side up, over indirect heat, cover, and grill until cooked through and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a breast registers 70°C, 10–12 minutes (bone-in breasts will take closer to 20 minutes).
3. Turn chicken breasts skin side down and move over direct heat. Grill until skin is golden brown and crisp, about 2 minutes. Transfer chicken breasts to a plate and arrange skin side up. Let rest at least 5 minutes.
4. Heat vegetable oil in a small saucepan over medium-high. Once oil is shimmering, add cumin seeds and cook until fragrant and oil around seeds starts to sputter, about 1 minute. Add spring onions, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Immediately pour mixture into a medium bowl and let cool 5 minutes.
5. Whisk lemon juice, maple syrup, cayenne, and remaining 1t salt into cumin seed tadka. Toss lettuce and greens in a large bowl to combine. Drizzle reserved buttermilk dressing over; toss to coat.
6.Slice chicken breasts on a diagonal 1.5cm thick. Arrange over salad and spoon cumin seed tadka over.
Five-Spice Spatchcocked Grilled Chicken
Five-spice powder is a staple in Taiwanese and Chinese cuisines, adding distinctive warm, pungent spice notes. This dry rub combines five-spice along with MSG, sugar, and white pepper to give this chicken a wide range of flavours that permeate down to the bones. You can skip the MSG if you prefer, but it will add just the right amount of umami backbone to the rub, so we recommend it.
- 2T five-spice powder
- 1/2t kosher salt
- 1t MSG (optional)
- 1T plus 1/2t freshly ground white or black pepper
- 1T plus 1/2t light brown sugar
- 1 1.5kg whole chicken
- 1T vegetable oil, plus more
- 2 spring onions, roots trimmed
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 red Thai chillies or jalapeños, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
- 3T soy sauce
- 1T toasted sesame oil
1. Mix five-spice powder, salt, MSG, 1T white pepper, and 1T brown sugar in a small bowl.
2. Place chicken, breast side down, on a cutting board and, using kitchen shears or a large knife, cut along both sides of backbone to remove (you can ask a butcher to do this for you if you prefer); discard (or save for making stock). Open up chicken and turn breast side up. Press down on centre of breast to flatten chicken – you should hear the breastbone crack. Tuck wings behind breast, then tuck in legs so bottoms of drumsticks are pointed away from body and chicken is as flat as possible. Sprinkle spice mixture all over chicken. Let sit at room temperature 20 minutes, or cover and chill up to 1 day. If chilling, let sit at room temperature 1 hour before grilling.
3. Prepare a grill for medium-high indirect heat (for a charcoal grill, bank coals on one side of grill; for a gas grill, leave one or two burners off). Lightly oil grate. Grill chicken, breast side up, over indirect heat, undisturbed, until browned and lightly charred underneath, about 20 minutes.
Turn chicken breast side down and move over direct heat. Grill, turning often and returning to indirect heat as needed, until well-browned, cooked through, and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a thigh registers 75°C and into thickest part of breast registers 70°C, 15–20 minutes. Transfer chicken to a cutting board and let rest 5 minutes.
4. Brush spring onions with remaining 1T vegetable oil and grill, turning occasionally, until charred in spots, 6–8 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and thinly slice.
5. Mix spring onions, garlic, chillies, vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, remaining 1/2t white pepper, and remaining 1/2t brown sugar in a small bowl.
6. Carve chicken and arrange on a platter. Serve with charred spring onion sauce for spooning over.
Green Goddess Chicken Thighs
On the list of truly versatile sauces, green goddess takes the very top spot. Here it acts as a marinade for the grilled chicken as well as a sauce to serve with the finished dish. Feel free to go wild with whatever tender herb or dairy product you have on hand, just do not skip the anchovies. They will make the chicken more savoury, delicious, and, well, more chicken-y.
- 4 oil-packed anchovy fillets
- 2 garlic cloves, smashed
- 3 (heaping) cups mixed tender herbs (such as dill, parsley, coriander, basil, mint, tarragon, and/or chives), plus more for serving
- 3/4 cup plain whole-milk yoghurt, sour cream, or buttermilk
- 3T extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 lemons, divided
- Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
- 1 225g skinless, boneless chicken thighs, patted dry
- 3 medium radishes, trimmed, thinly sliced into rounds
1. Combine anchovies, garlic, herbs, yoghurt, and 3T oil in a blender. Finely grate zest from 1 lemon into blender. Cut lemon in half and squeeze juice into blender; purée until smooth. Season dressing with salt and pepper.
2. Pour half of dressing into a large bowl. Using a knife, make three short shallow slits across smoother side of chicken thighs (this will help the marinade penetrate quickly); season with salt. Transfer chicken to bowl with dressing and toss to coat with tongs. Let sit at room temperature at least 30 minutes, or cover and chill up to 12 hours. If chilling, let chicken sit at room temperature 1 hour before grilling.
3. Prepare a grill for medium heat; lightly oil grate. Remove chicken from marinade, letting excess drip back into bowl, and grill, turning every minute or so, until cooked through and beginning to char in spots, 8–10 minutes. Transfer chicken to a platter and let rest 5–10 minutes before serving. Cut remaining lemon into wedges.
4. Arrange radishes and more herbs over chicken; drizzle with a little oil and season with salt and pepper. Serve with lemon wedges and remaining dressing.