I do hope you’re enjoying this year’s installment of July’s Month Of Grilling as I am. The heat, smoke and raw flame of the grill excites me. Maybe it brings out the primitive instincts in me (caveman)? I’m a huge fan of the orange chicken you’ll find at Chinese restaurants… battered chicken pieces fried then tossed in that sticky orange sauce. With that in mind, you’ll find similar flavors is the grilled orange chicken version, but a more clean tasting and with a slight kick from the scotch bonnet pepper.
3 lbs chicken thighs (drums work well too)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 sprigs thyme
1 cup orange concentrate
1 cup tomato ketchup
2 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 lime (juice and zest)
1/2 scotch bonnet pepper diced fine.
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Note: Remember to wear gloves when handling scotch bonnet peppers and do wash your hands with soap immediately after. Don’t include any seeds as that’s were the true heat is. If you don’t have scotch bonnet pepper you can use about 1/2 teaspoon of your fav peppersauce (hot sauce).
Trim the chicken pieces of excess fat and skin. I opted to remove the skin, but in all honesty grilling with the skin on makes for juicer chicken pieces. Wash the chicken pieces and drain dry. Then season with the finely chopped scallions (green onion or spring onion), salt, black pepper and thyme. Let that sit for about 15 minutes.
It’s now time to prepare that lovely sticky orange bbq sauce we’ll be finishing the grilling with. In a medium sauce pan on medium/low heat add all the other ingredients and bring to a boil. Whisk well, then reduce to a gentle simmer and let it reduce for about 10-15 minutes on that low heat (keep whisking often). Remove off the heat and you can reserve 1/2 the sauce for making chicken wings or pork tenderloin (store in the fridge). Or you can certainly double up on the chicken and use all of the sauce. BTW this orange bbq sauce makes a great dipping sauce for chicken strips/nuggets.
Let’s now get to the grilling part. Basically all you have to do is the grill the chicken as you would normally do, and the last five minutes is when you’ll bring that orange bbq sauce into use. My grill was at about 375-400 F and I grilled for about 20-25 minutes remembering to flip the pieces of chicken every 5 minutes or so.
The cooked chicken pieces is then tossed in the orange bbq sauce, then placed back on the grill to caramelize and get nice and sticky.
For an extra kick of flavor grill some lime or lemon wedges and allow your guests to squeeze on some of that lovely citrus juice as they dig into what I believe is the best orange glazed bbq (grilled) chicken.
If you don’t have a grill or simply wish to do this indoor in your oven, place the seasoned chicken pieces (leave the skin on) on a lined baking tray, skin side down and roast for 15 minutes at 375F. Flip over and cook another 12 minutes (more time for bigger pieces) . Then toss in the orange bbq sauce and place back in the oven under the broil setting for a few minutes. Keep an eye on it as the high heat from broiling and the sugars from the bbq sauce can cause it to char quickly.