Easy Barbecue Chicken Recipe for July 4th

Easy Barbecue Chicken Recipe for July 4th Recipe

I have been grilling a lot of poultry lately on the wonderful barbecue grill we purchased this past Memorial Day weekend. I’ve made tandoori chicken and soy sauce quail and they both turned out lovely. I thought it was time to experiment a bit and create a new recipe for the upcoming July 4th weekend. I had a jar of delicious chokecherry jelly that Daddy's friends from Minnesota gave us, and I decided to make a marinade and glaze out of it. The jelly imparts a tangy sweet flavor to the chicken that is perfect for a hot summer day.

If you're having a barbecue this July 4th weekend, give this grilled chicken recipe a try. It's to die for! For more grilling recipes, check out Mark Bittman's latest post, 101 Fast Recipes for Grilling.


Yields: 6 servings

6 whole chicken thighs
½ cup plain yogurt
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons papaya (see tips)
1 star anise, slightly toasted and ground
¼ teaspoon fennel seeds, slightly toasted and ground
½ teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon salt
½ cup chokecherry jelly
2 teaspoons ginger garlic paste (click on the link for the recipe)
3 tablespoons canola oil, + extra for brushing
3 tablespoons curly parsley, for garnish


Marinating the chicken:

Remove the fat around the bottom of the thighs if there is any. Skin and trim the chicken of all fat. Wash the chicken and pat dry using paper towels.

Make deep diagonal incisions into the flesh of each piece using a sharp boning knife.

For the chokecherry glaze, combine the ginger garlic paste, ground star anise, fennel seeds, chokecherry jelly, vinegar and ground papaya. Reserve about 2-3 tablespoons.

Season the chicken with salt, paprika, cayenne pepper and black pepper. Cover the meat inside and out with the spiced vinegar and yogurt. Toss well. Place the chicken in a large bowl or a sealable zip-top bag. Drizzle with about 2 tablespoons of oil. Marinate for at least 3-4 hours in the refrigerator.

Grilling time:

Remove the chicken 15 minutes before grilling to get it back to room temperature.

Brush the hot barbecue grill with oil using a brush. Place the chicken on the grill and cook for about 10 minutes over medium heat. Baste the meat every now and then with the reserved chokecherry glaze. Lower the heat, then flip the chicken thighs and cook for an additional 30-35 minutes.

At the end, brush the chicken one more time with the remaining glaze and increase the heat for 2-3 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a serving platter. Cover with foil and let the meat rest for at least 10 minutes.

A thermometer should register 165°F in the thickest part of the thigh or the juice should run clear when you crack around the joint of the thighs.

Take the chicken out of the grill. Loosely cover with foil (don't entirely wrap it or the skin won't be crispy). Let it rest for at least 10 minutes.

Garnish with sprigs of parsley.

Bon appétit!


You can find chokecherry jelly online or use any kind of sweetener such as honey or other fruit preserves.

Chokecherry Jelly Recipe with Picture

I love the tenderness of chicken thighs and legs but you can use chicken breast as well. I would advise you to get a free range chicken if at all possible.  I've tested this recipe with a "regular" chicken and it didn't turn out nearly as well.

I use green papaya, yogurt and vinegar as meat tenderizers to ensure juicy and moist meat.. This was Baji, Lulu's late grandma's secret for tender and moist meat. Peel a green papaya. Grind the cubed papaya with seeds in a mini food processor, place about 2 teaspoons of papaya paste per slot in an ice-cube tray and freeze them. Transfer the ice-cubes into sealable plastic bags and place back in the freezer. I think it's the best way to keep the flavor without getting freezer burn. I store them exactly the same as I would extra pesto.

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on July 1, 2010.


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