Barbeque done well combines sweet, salty and acidic flavors in perfect balance. The tricky part is how and when to get that flavor into the meat. Sugar burns easily on a grill so you don’t want to apply a sweet marinade for something that requires some cooking time. And an acid such as lemon juice or vinegar can pack in the flavor but it can also give raw meat a funky texture when it’s cooked if marinated too long.
So for this recipe I thought I would try a technique I read about many years ago that is applied to the broiled chicken at the world famous Rao’s in New York City; soak the chicken in marinade after it is cooked. I made a sauce with lemon, Runamok’s Cardamom Infused Maple Syrup, olive oil and onion. I seasoned chicken thighs with salt and pepper and put them on a grill until they were good and charred. For kicks (and color) I also grilled some zucchini. When the chicken and zucchini were done, they were immediately put into the lemon-maple sauce. The residual heat cooked the onions a tad and the meat absorbed the intense flavors. I let it sit like that for half an hour or so. Just before serving, the meat and vegetables were returned to the grill to reheat and really sear the sauce onto the outside. The results were incredible: sweet, tangy and salty with perfectly grilled chicken. Even the zucchini was devoured. This is the new family grill favorite.
Grilled Chicken Thighs and Zucchini with Cardamom Infused Maple and Lemon Sauce
6-8 boneless chicken thighs
2 medium zucchini, trimmed and sliced thickly
Salt and pepper
¼ cup olive oil
2 Tb Runamok Cardamom Infused Maple Syrup
Juice from ½ fresh lemon
1 small red onion, sliced thinly
1 tsp red pepper flakes
Season the chicken thighs and zucchini with salt and pepper and toss with a little vegetable oil. Place on a grill heated to medium-high. Grill until browned on both sides and completely cooked through, about 10 – 15 minutes (maybe less for the zucchini).
While the chicken and zucchini are cooking, combine the olive oil, maple syrup, lemon juice, onion and red pepper in a large bowl. When the chicken and zucchini are done, put them in the bowl with the sauce immediately and toss them gently to make sure the sauce covers all of the ingredients. Let it sit for about a half hour and up to an hour, turning occasionally to recoat the meat. Five minutes before serving, restart the grill and return the chicken and vegetables to it. Sear the meat on high heat for a few minutes. Place the meat and vegetables on a serving platter, pour the sauce from the bowl over the top and serve.