Cook Date: August 2, 2023
Since summer is (may be) nearing its end, I’m stepping out of chronological order here to share a grilling post. Mel’s Kitchen Cafe is on my Feedly um, feed, and when Mel’s recipe featuring grilled pineapple appeared in July it sounded just right.
A few of hours before cooking, make the marinade of soy sauce, pineapple juice, brown sugar, rice vinegar, grated ginger and garlic passed through a press. The recipe (available in the link above) makes more than is actually needed. Reserve some of the marinade for drizzling on the rice bowls at the end.
I placed boneless/skinless chicken thighs in a sealable plastic bag and added ½ the marinade. The recipe calls for marinating the chicken for 1 to 24 hours. I think 24 hours would be much too long, but I didn’t do a series of tests to determine the best time. I marinated for a bit more than 3 hours. There is just no way to make raw chicken look good.
Before you start grilling start some rice using your favorite method. Then when it’s close to grilling time cut up the pineapple, peppers, and zucchini.
I’m not going to lie; the idea of the chicken and the planks of pineaple and vegetables on the grill is the main reason I picked this recipe.
Notice the lighted knobs in the image above. The red knobs – on the right – indicate the burners are lit while the blue knobs – on the left – are not. Cooking chicken thigns over direct heat is inviting flareups so I start them on the indirect side of a hot (350° to 400°) grill. They’ll get some time at the end over direct heat to get the classic barbecue char.
I had a small problem with the bell peppers; the pieces were too short to maneuver easily and I lost a few through the grates. So I pulled out my vegetable grilling tray. The pineapple and zucchini are getting some nice grill marks. You can see from the red knobs on the left I lit the burners to get the direct sear of the chicken and finish off the pineapple and zucchini.
Don’t cook chicken (or other meat – but especially chicken) to time; cook it to temperature. Use a thermometer (see it over on shelf to the right) to make sure your thighs are at 165°. I almost always cook chicken thighs instead of breasts. While the breasts are done at a slightly lower temperature they are unforgiving. Get them to hot and any moisture gets squeezed right out. Whereas thighs are much more forgiving becase they have more fat.
Pineapple, zucchini bell peppers (what’s left of them), and chicken are off the grill and ready to be chopped.
Look at those beautiful grill marks on the pineapple and zucchini and the light char on the chicken. Chop it all up for the bowls.
Let people create their own bowls. Spoon some rice in a bowl add chicken, pineapple, zucchini, and bell pepper, a bit of reserved marinade, and a squeeze of lime. DO NOT USE THE MARINADE THAT WAS IN THE BAG WITH THE CHICKEN. But you know that, right? I reserved some early on and used that.
We lose some of the visual appeal of the grilled planks but still, it’s yum.
Dinner is served.
We had enough for two meals (4 bowls). The first day we used the reserved marinade just as it was; it turned out a bit sharp with that raw ginger and garlic. For the second day I simmered it a bit in a small pot and it helped mellow out the flavor a LOT. As I mentioned above, the recipe makes a lot more (˜3 cups) marinade than needed. I think maybe 1 cup per pound of chicken is enough to marinate the chicken. I had about 1½ pounds of chicken and 1½ cups of marinade would be plenty. The remaining 1½ cups of marinade for the drizzle was way more than needed.
Rating ★★★ 3 Stars; fun – and easy – to cook; great for family but (for me) just misses the mark for guests. I like grilling the chicken for rice bowls. I think I’ll marinade some chicken thighs in a more southwestern blend using cumin or something in the future.