Thai Grilled Chicken with Spicy Sweet and Sour Dipping Sauce

When growing up, my meals were always very straight-forward. Often just some type of protein cooked in a skillet without any seasoning (except maybe salt); simple and bland. So nowadays I tend to over-compensate; I’m always looking for interesting recipes. And while the long title of this recipe gives the appearance of being exotic, it is still kid-friendly enough where my picky-eating son can just skip the dipping sauce. The herb-rub gives a nice depth of flavor to chicken breasts. As a bonus, I loved this recipe because it allowed me to take advantage of a mild evening for grilling. Anytime you can be outside on a December evening is always a treat. I wish the great flavor of the spice rub penetrated a little deeper, but at least the sauce was there to save the day. 4-stars

Flavorful chicken that's definitely worth making

Flavorful chicken that’s definitely worth making

Chris Kimball offers the following advice if you want to prepare it in your oven. Pre-heat your oven to 450-degrees with an oven rack in the lower-middle of your oven. Put the chicken on a wire rack set over a foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet. Cook the chicken for about 30 minutes, rotating half way through baking time. When the chicken reaches 160-degrees, broil the chicken about 6″ or 7″ from the broiler element for 3 minutes until the skin becomes crispy.


  1. The list of ingredients is somewhat long, but fish sauce is really the only thing you aren’t likely to have in your pantry. Well, of course you’ll have to make a separate trip to the supermarket for the ginger, garlic, limes and cilantro.
  2. With split chicken breasts on sale for $1/lb, this recipe was exceptionally inexpensive. Usually this recipe will cost more than $10 to prepare.

Rating: 4 stars.
Cost: $7.
How much work? Medium.
How big of a mess?  Medium.
Start time: 4:00 PM. Dinner time: 6:30 PM.

Chris Kimball’s version of this recipe is here. The descriptions of how I prepared the recipe today are given below:

Chicken and Brine Ingredients:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup salt
4 split bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts

Dipping Sauce Ingredients:
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 small cloves garlic
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
1/4 cup lime juice from 2 to 3 limes
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1/3 cup granulated sugar

Rub Ingredients:
12 medium cloves garlic
2″ piece fresh ginger
2 tablespoons ground black pepper
2 tablespoons ground coriander
2/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 cup lime juice from 2 to 3 limes
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  1. In a large bowl, add 2 quarts of water and stir in 1/3 cup sugar until dissolved. Cut chicken breasts in half crosswise. Allow to brine for 1 hour.
  2. Meanwhile prepare sauce by whisking together all ingredients in a small bowl. The pressed garlic should yield about 1-1/2 teaspoons. Allow the sauce to sit at room temperature until dinner (at least 1 hour).
  3. Rinse chicken under running water and use paper towels to pat the chicken dry. Use your fingers to slide between the skin and the meat, being careful that the skin stays attached.
  4. The pressed garlic should yield 1/4 cup, and the minced ginger should be about 2 tablespoons. Use your hands to thoroughly combine all the rub ingredients into another small/medium bowl. Rub about 2 tablespoons of mixture under the skin of each piece of chicken. Then rub a little more mixture over all sides of the chicken. Repeat with all chicken pieces, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate while preparing the grill.
  5. Light a full chimney start of charcoal, and allow to ignite for about 20 minutes. Evenly empty the coals over half the grill, leaving the other half empty. Pre-heat the grill grate for 5 minutes to clean more effectively, and season the grill with a paper towel dipped in vegetable oil.
  6. Grill chicken with the skin-side down over the hot part of the grill for about 4 to 5 minutes until browned. Flip the chicken and brown the second side for another 4 to 5 minutes. After browned, move chicken to the cooler side of the grill and cover with a disposable aluminum tray. Cook for 20 to 25 minutes more until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 160-degrees.
  7. When cooked, loosely tent with aluminum foil and allow to rest on serving platter for 10 minutes.

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