When Chris Kimball published this recipe a few months ago (September/October 2013 issue), I made the this Molasses-Coffee Glaze mostly because that was all I had in my refrigerator. While it was good, I really want to make today’s Spicy Hoisin Glaze. I happily took advantage of the unseasonably warm October weather to make today’s recipe. But I got home late and I didn’t have the requisite two hours. So I reorganized the steps and cut the brining down to correspond to the 25 minutes that the coals took to ignite. The chicken was ready in about 1 hour, but the chicken breast was bit blander with such a short brine. Next time if I want a quicker brine I will increase the salt, and will consider 30 minutes as the absolute minimum. In the end, the chicken was perfectly cooked to 160-degrees. I prefer today’s glaze; 4-stars even given the shorted brine.
- Chris Kimball offers a range spiciness by adjusting the Sriracha sauce between 1 and 2 tablespoons. I used 2 and my picky-eater son still enjoyed it, but next time I will try 1-1/2 tablespoons to make him happier. I was happy with the full 2 tablespoons.
- Another change I tried was using fewer charcoals. The original recipe calls for a slightly overflowing chimney starter, which seemed wasteful for just a few quick-cooking, boneless chicken breasts. So today I used about 20% less (a slightly under-filled chimney starter), and I didn’t notice any issue. The coals were still scorching hot, so much so that I could barely glaze the chicken without pulling my hand away. Chris’ original logic in using so much charcoal was to get the Maillard reaction in 2 minutes per side, and with fewer coals it took me 2-1/2 minutes per side. But since the chicken still needed some time on the cooler side of the grill, the chicken was still perfectly cooked. I hit the 160-degree mark exactly.
How much work? Medium/Low.
How big of a mess? Medium.
Start time: 5:30 PM. Dinner time 6:30 PM.
The original Cook’s Illustrated recipe for Grilled Glazed Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts is here, and the original recipe for the Spicy Hoisin glaze is here. The descriptions of how I prepared the recipe today is as follows:
Spicy Hoisin Glaze Ingredients:
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/3 cup hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 – 2 tablespoons Sriracha sauce
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon five-spice powder
1/4 cup table salt
1/4 cup sugar
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 teaspoons nonfat dry milk powder
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Non-stick vegetable oil spray
- If you need to eat in 1 hour’s time, light the charcoal following the instructions in step 3. If you have 1-1/2 to 2 hours, then brine the chicken before lighting the charcoals.
- Trim the chicken breasts to remove any excess fat or skin. In a large bowl, whisk together 1/4-cup table salt and 1/4-cup sugar with 1-1/2 quarts of cold water. Add chicken to brine, cover with plastic wrap and put in refrigerator for an hour (or until the coals are ready; i.e. step 5).
- After chicken has been brining for 30 minutes, prepare your charcoal grill by completely opening both the top and bottom vents. Fill a chimney starter so that it is slightly overflowing (mounded) with briquettes and light, which will take about 25 minutes to fully ignite.
- While the charcoal ignites, prepare the glaze by whisking together the 2 tablespoons rice vinegar 1 teaspoon cornstarch in small saucepan. After the cornstarch has dissolved, continue whisking in the hoisin sauce, corn syrup, Sriracha sauce, grated ginger and five-spice powder. Place over a high burner and bring to boil; about 2 minutes. Continue boiling for 1 minute until the glaze has thickened. Empty sauce into a small bowl or cup.
- Remove the chicken from the brine, and use paper towels to pat it dry. Combine 2 teaspoons milk powder and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl and evenly sprinkle each side with half the milk powder, spraying each side with nonstick cooking spray to moisten the powdered milk.
- When the coals are ready, create a two level fire by emptying 2/3rds on half the grill, and the remaining 1/3rd over the other half of the grill. Pre-heat grate for 5 minutes then clean a rub with paper-towel dipped in vegetable oil.
- Put chicken with the skin-side down directly over the hottest side of the grill. Grill for 2-1/2 minutes, then flip chicken (leaving on the hot side). Brush with glaze while the second side is cooking for another 2-1/2 minutes. Flip the chicken again (skin-side down) but over the cool-side of the grill. Brush with glaze while the skin-side is cooking for 2 minutes. Flip and brush with glaze twice more, and remove when the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 160-degrees.
- Allow chicken to rest, uncovered, for 5 minutes before serving.