Monday, May 10, 2010

Orange-Pineapple Marinated Grilled Chicken with Mango Salsa

Grilling chicken is something that I feel I have perfected over the past few years.  At first, I would overcook it (or perhaps dreadfully UNDERcook it) and it would get dried out or just not right.  Finally, I've come up with a set of rules that ensures perfectly grilled, moist & tasty chicken.

 #1  Marinate your chicken to add flavor and keep it moist.  You can use anything from fruit juice to soy sauce, but make sure you let it sit in the marinade for AT LEAST 1/2 hour.

#2  Season your chicken.  Make sure you are generous with salt & pepper BEFORE you cook your meat!

#3  If you're not using a marinade, make sure you brush your chicken on both side with canola oil before you throw it on the grill.  Canola oil is a light oil that is high in monounsaturated fat (good for you!) and low in saturated fat (the bad stuff!), so it's actually the healthiest choice for you use!  Plus, it has a high smoking point so it's perfect for the grill.

#4  Once you have your meat on the grill, don't keep flipping it around.  Cook on one side to allow grill marks to form, then flip once more to complete cooking on the other side.  If the meat sticks to the grates, it is NOT ready to be flipped!

 #5  Using a meat thermometer, cook to an internal temperature of 150-160 degrees. Transfer to a plate and tent with foil for 10 minutes.  This allows all of the juices to redistribute so they won't run all over your plate, and the chicken will continue cooking (internal temperature will actually rise).  Bringing internal temps too high will result in dry, tough chicken.

Armed with these tips, you're on your way to cooking some delicious poultry!

Orange-Pineapple Marinated Grilled Chicken with Mango Salsa
  • 4 chicken breast halves
  • 1 cup orange-pineapple juice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
 For salsa
  • 1 ripe mango, peeled, pitted, and diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeño chili, minced
  • 3 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a large plastic bag, pour juice and season with salt & pepper.  Add chicken breasts and massage.  Marinate in refrigerator for 1/2 hour to 2 hours.  Do not marinate for longer that 2 hours as the acid from the orange juice will begin to "cook" the chicken.

In the meantime, to make the salsa, combine all ingredients and let sit for 30 minutes for juices & flavors to combine.

Heat grill to approximately 375 degrees (medium high).  Grill chicken on first side for 7-8 minutes.  Flip to other side and cook approximately 7 minutes longer, until a meat thermometer inserted to the center reads 150. 

Remove from grill and tent with foil for 10 minutes.

Serve topped with mango salsa. 


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