More Two-Stepping

I love grilled chicken. I also love getting juicy, flavorful chicken on the table in short order, especially during the week … when the time allowed for dinner prep always seems to be shrinking. So I like to save myself some time by parboiling the chicken and assembling amazing mop sauces in advance.

What's parboiling?

Parboiling is similar to boiling, however the food is only partially cooked. In parboiling, the liquid (often water) used is separated from the food. In most cases, the liquid is poured off and can later be used to make another dish or just discarded. One point that distinctly separates boiling from parboiling is the amount of heat applied to boil the food. During parboiling, the heat is left at simmer; on the other hand, during boiling, the heat applied is often full. By partially cooking the chicken in advance, less time is required on the grill and you are less likely to face that dreaded moment when you slice into chicken that's raw in the center.

The mop sauce in this recipe combines spicy sriracha, sweet maple syrup, and salty soy sauce to envelope your poultry in a perfect robe of flavor. Because you don't need to have the chicken on the grill the better part of an hour, you also are much less likely to face flareups or burnt chicken skin. Often, I avoid something as sweet and flammable as maple syrup in a mop sauce, but this is the perfect application because you've got the power of a two-step summer grilling process. Embrace it and enjoy the deliciousness!

Maple-Sriracha Chicken

  • 4-6 chicken thighs, bone-in and skin-on
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons sriracha sauce

Parboil the chicken as follows: Place the chicken and apple cider vinegar inside a large pan and cover it with enough water to immerse the chicken. Bring the contents of the pan to a boil over medium heat. Once the water is boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the chicken from the water, allow to dry well on a rack (you can complete this step in the refrigerator if you'd like to do this step ahead of time), and continue onto the grilling step.

While the chicken is parboiling, combine the remaining ingredients to create a spicy-sweet mop sauce. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Prepare the grill for medium-high heat, direct grilling. Place the chicken on the grill and mop the sauce generously over the chicken. Repeating whenever the chicken is turned (which should be 3-5 times). When the chicken is cooked through, remove to a plate for serving. Total grilling time should be about 20 minutes.

  • Yields: 4-6 servings
  • Preparation Time: 40 minutes

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