The annual Best of issue of Woodbury Magazine is always one of my favorites. I spend a lot of time searching for “bests”—the best local products, the best of Minnesota Grown, the best natural and organic meats and produce and so on. And of course, I also deal in recipes—lots and lots of recipes.
Of all the many hundreds of recipes I’ve written in just the last 10 years with Kowalski’s, I’ve only ever named two of them “Bests.” One is an outstanding pot roast, the other is a phenomenal grilled chicken. While I’d like to take all of the credit for just how superb these dishes are, they win mostly on the basis of ingredients. The roast is made with the very best beef, Akaushi, and the chicken is from Gerber’s Amish Farm. But that’s often the case with recipes: More ingredients and more complicated techniques don’t make for better food. The secret to better food is simple: Start with the best ingredients.
Best-Ever Grilled Chicken
- 2 ½ lbs. bone-in, skin-on Gerber Amish Farms Chicken, your choice of breasts, drumsticks or thighs
- Prepared poultry brine, packaged or homemade (see Tasty Tip below)
- Canola or olive oil
- Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- Dry rub, such as the Kowalski’s recipe for rosemary rub (optional)
- Deep disposable foil pan (approximately 17x12x3")
- Sauce or glaze, such the Kowalski’s recipe for fast orange glaze (optional)
Submerge chicken in brine; cover and let soak in the refrigerator at least 20 minutes or up to one hour. Pat chicken thoroughly dry with paper towels. Very lightly brush chicken with oil; season with pepper. If desired, sprinkle chicken with rub. Preheat both sides of grill to high. Cook chicken, skin side down, with cover down until dark grill marks form and chicken releases easily from the grates (about four minutes); turn and cook four to five minutes more on next side until dark as well (turn legs and wings more to brown all sides). Turn one side of grill off (or move coals to one side). Move all the chicken to the unlit side of the grill, as close to the heated side as possible but not directly over the flame (chicken pieces may touch; place ends of drumsticks and thin sides of breasts on top of thicker pieces to prevent overcooking). Place foil pan over both the chicken and the hot side of the grill to create a gentle convective heat over the chicken. Cook chicken with cover down, turning occasionally, until it reaches 160 degrees F (20–25 min.). Remove from heat. If desired, toss hot chicken with sauce or glaze. Cover with foil and let stand five to 10 minutes (chicken should reach 165 degrees F during this rest) before serving.
Make a brine by combining 2 qts. water with ⅓ cup each kosher salt and sugar. You can warm some of the water to help dissolve the salt and sugar, but be sure to completely chill brine before using.
Rachael Perron is the culinary and brand director for Kowalski’s Markets, where she specializes in product development and selection, culinary education and communications.