Recipe: Barbecue Ginger Ale Glazed Chicken

The Memorial Day holiday weekend is always the big kickoff to summer and, of course, more meals cooked on the grill. If you’re looking for something a little different to do with chicken, this recipe mixes it up by layering flavor first with a mustardy-gingery spice rub and then topped with a savory sweet ginger ale glaze.

The recipe is from frequent Real Food magazine contributor Bruce Aidells, who, as the author of The Great Meat Cookbook, knows a thing or two about cooking up flavorful meat. Bruce finds it’s best to barbecue chicken using indirect heat as direct heat makes it very easy to burn the exterior before the interior is fully cooked. Once the chicken is cooked indirectly, he applies the sweet glaze and then finishes over direct heat. Ensure the chicken does not burn by moving it if the heat gets too intense.

Would you like to crack open a cold one with the meal? Try American pale ales, which pair well with food because of their balance of hoppiness and maltiness. A couple to try: Deschutes Brewery Mirror Pond Pale Ale, from Portland, Oregon and St. Paul, Minnesota’s Summit Pale Ale. Happy Grilling and chilling!

Barbecue Ginger Ale Glazed Chicken

Makes 8 servings

Ginger Ale Glaze

2 c. ginger ale
½ c. finely chopped onion
2 tsp. fresh ginger, minced
2 tsp. minced garlic
2 tsp. candied ginger, finely chopped
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
¼ tsp. powdered ginger
½ tsp. powdered mustard (such as Colman’s)
freshly ground black pepper

Mustard-Ginger Spice Rub

1 tbsp. salt
2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. mustard powder
2 tsp. brown sugar
2 tbsp. paprika
½ tsp. cayenne
10 assorted chicken pieces (leg and thigh quarters and breasts)

In a small saucepan, whisk together all glaze ingredients except salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a slow boil and continue to cook, stirring continuously, until sauce becomes syrupy and coats a spoon. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.

Combine spice rub ingredients in a small bowl and sprinkle over chicken pieces so all sides are nicely coated.

Heat one side of a gas or charcoal grill to produce a medium-hot fire. Lay chicken, skin side down, directly over heat. Cover grill and sear 2 to 3 minutes, until chicken is nicely browned. Flip and cook 2 to 3 minutes or until beginning to brown. If grill flares up, immediately move chicken to unlit part of grill so it does not burn.

When all pieces are nicely seared, space them over unlit side of grill. Cover and cook 30 to 40 minutes or until the area near the bone is no longer red; the breasts will take less time to cook than the legs. Brush every 15 minutes with glaze. Right before serving, generously brush skin side with glaze and place skin side down over fire for 2 to 3 minutes to just caramelize the sauce, taking care not to burn it. Arrange chicken on a platter and serve immediately.

Nutrition info (per serving) Barbecue Ginger Ale Glazed Chicken: CALORIES 338 (140 from fat); FAT 16g (sat. 4g); CHOL 115mg; SODIUM 1117mg; CARB 12g; FIBER 1g; PROTEIN 36g

Mary Subialka is the editor of Real Food and Drinks magazines, covering the flavorful world of food, wine, and spirits. She rarely meets a chicken she doesn’t like, and hopes that her son, who used to eat beets and Indian food as a preschooler, will one day again think of real food as more than something you need to eat before dessert and be inspired by his younger brother, who is now into trying new foods.