This apple cider chicken is the best freakin’ chicken you’ll ever taste. Life. Changing. Chicken. It grills up with a crispy charred, smokey exterior and juicy tender interior infused with all of the sweet and savory goodness you’d expect from a spiced, herby infused apple cider brine. Trust when I say you need to add this to your dinner rotation ASAP.
When we first started dating, Cameron often cautioned me to “mind the histrionics”. Convictions I felt that I conveyed deeply and with great passion, he received as a bit, oh, melodramatic. Okay, so perhaps my hand gestures are always a bit, erm, wild. And maybe I get a little loud…and pitchy…when I dive into a topic that makes me feel the feels. But I was a theater nerd in high school and undergrad, and I ended up working for a professional theater company for half my professional career. These days I settle for Sunday showtune dance parties with the littles (also Monday showtune dances parties, and Wednesday ballad belt-outs, and sometimes all-day marathons on Friday if I’m really feelin’ it). Drama? I guess you could say it’s in my blood.
Therefore, when I presented this apple cider chicken to Cameron and declared it OMG The Best Freakin’ Chicken You Will Ever Eat and he enthusiastically agreed? I knew that shit was a winner.
Apple Cider Chicken Recipe Notes
This apple cider chicken requires zero special tricks or equipment. Just a little bit of marinating time, and preferably a charcoal grill. If you’re a regular reader, I’m sure you’re tired of hearing about my love affair with our Weber Kettle Grill. I have no shame. If you’re not a regular reader, I shall direct you to my thoughts above re: items I am passionate about as well as Exhibit A and Exhibit B.
The road to grilled chicken awesomeness starts with a simple brine of apple cider, a few herbs and spices, and some good ol’ kosher salt. You’ll dump it all into a sauce pot, bring the cider to a boil, and then simmer for a minute or two to get all of the flavors nice and cozy.
After that, it’s just a matter of time. You’ll want to let the chicken marinate for at least two hours, but up to overnight is fine. This is a great evening prep recipe – by the time you’re done doing the dishes from dinner, the brine will have cooled off. Dinner the next night will be easy, fast, and crazy delicious.
Once you’re ready to grill, you’ll rinse the chicken and pat it dry, brush it with some avocado or olive oil mixed with even more spices, and then slap those babies on the grill. Ten minutes later, and you’ve got some damn fine tasty apple cider chicken that ever your pickiest eater will devour. We enjoyed this over a simple kale and apple salad.
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- Small Sauce Pot
- Resealable gallon bag
Apple Cider Chicken Brine
- 4 c. apple cider
- 1.5 tbsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp whole peppercorns
- 1 clove garlic, smashed
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 sprig thyme
- 3 whole cloves
- 2 whole star anise
- 1 whole cinnamon stick
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
Apple Cider Chicken Grilling Oil
- 2 tbsp olive or avocado oil
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- ½ tsp dried sage
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp cracked black pepper
- pinch ground nutmeg
- In a small sauce pot, combine the cider, salt, peppercorns, garlic, bay leaf, thyme, cloves, star anise and cinnamon stick. Heat over a high flame until the cider boils, then reduce to medium low and simmer for 1-2 minutes. Give it a good stir to ensure the salt has completely dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside to cool until it's no longer steaming (you don't want to poach the raw chicken!). If you're in a rush, add a handful of ice cubes - it will speed up the cooling process without diluting the brine too much.
- Place a gallon sided ziplock bag in a bowl, and place the raw chicken breasts at the bottom of the bag. Pour the apple cider brine over the chicken, then press out the air and seal. Pop the whole contraption into the fridge for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.
- Preheat your grill (preferably a charcoal grill if you have one) to high heat. If you're using a charcoal grill, the temperature should reach at least 450*. While the grill is heating, prepare the grilling oil. Combine the oil with the thyme, sage, salt, pepper, and nutmeg and whisk to combine.
- Remove the chicken from the bag and discard the brine. Rinse the chicken, then pat dry. Brush each side with the grilling oil. Grill 4-5 minutes per side until the exterior is charred and the internal temperature reaches 165* with an instant read thermometer. Remove from the grill and allow to rest 5-10 minutes. Slice against the grain and serve immediately.
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