This fun grilled chicken recipe is based of char siu, the red pork you see at Chinese restaurants. It soaks for a long time in a great marinade giving it that color and tons of flavorful.
This bright red chicken’s color is matched by its bold flavors. It is a mix of sweet and savory with a lovely mix of spices.
It is sticky and delicious. The chicken marinates for several days giving the flavor a chance to really soak in.
You finish it with a great glaze as it cooks giving you that finger licking good shiny finish. This is a fun way to switch up your grilled chicken routine!
Today I am going to give you a quick peek into the strange inner workings of my family. I hope it doesn’t weird you out to much!
We went through a phase when I was a kid where we went to the Chinese buffet semi-regularly for lunch.
I don’t remember if it was a birthday thing or just a way to get us out of the house for a bit when we were all at home during the summer.
I guess it doesn’t really matter.
One of the items on the buffet that always found its way onto everybody’s plate was the red meat threaded on a skewer. You know what I’m talking about.
None of us knew what it was really called, so we had a family nickname for it. Are you ready?
No, really prepare yourself.
Ok, we all called in monkey butt on a stick.
Who knows how it started, but it stuck. We still call it that to this day. I don’t know what’s wrong with us… please send help!
So, when I was brainstorming ideas for something fun as our entry for the big poultry grill-off I knew I had a winner on my hands as soon as I thought of char siu chicken. It would be perfect!
In the week leading up to the competition, everyone was getting really excited and couldn’t help but give some clues as to what they were making. I quietly nodded, very careful not to give anything away.
The day of the big contest, the grills circled and the fire was lit. I waited until the last minute to bring out the bag of red chicken for my husband to grill.
My brother K.C. quickly came over to inspect what we had going on. I asked him if he knew what it was. He quickly answered “Chicken Butt!”
Ha! Basically 😉
We have made this a few times now, with varying degrees of food coloring and a couple of different lengths of marinating. Though the food coloring really shouldn’t affect the flavor much, it at least makes a mental difference.
We really like the really red chicken more than that slightly red chicken. It’s probably all in our heads, but it definitely makes more of an impact.
We also like the chicken better with a full 3 days in the marinade, though again the shorter times still had good flavor. Just buy really fresh chicken with a long date on it and let them really soak it up.
My husband likes to grill over a wood fire, so that is how we’ve always cooked it. However, I think it would be a lot easier to control the heat and finish on a gas grill.
Just use whatever grilling method you are most comfortable with.
I am sure we will eventually make a version using pork and treading it on skewers for the full monkey butt on a stick experience. But I will tell you a secret, the chicken thighs are actually better!
They stay so juicy and there is plenty of flavor. Of course I didn’t get the best pictures during the competition.
There was a lot going on and I was too excited. But I’ve had people clamoring for this recipe and that of the winning entry, K.C.’s Bacon Explosion.
I aim to please, so we decided to remake both and share them with you. Now you are armed and dangerous if ever you enter into your own poultry grilling contest!
Char Siu Chicken
- 6 Tablespoons sugar
- 2 Tablespoons salt
- 1½ teaspoons five spice powder
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
- 3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1½ teaspoon sesame oil
- 3 Tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 1 Tablespoon molasses
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon red food coloring
- 6-8 pounds of chicken pieces
- 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3 Tablespoons honey
- 3 Tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 3 Tablespoons soy sauce
- any remaining marinade
- In a large zipper top bag, mix together all of the marinade ingredients. Add the chicken pieces. (The thighs are our favorite, but drumsticks are good too.) Place in refrigerator and let marinate for up to 3 days. We have done anywhere from 1.5 to 3 days and the longer chicken that marinated longer was our favorite. Every so often adjust the chicken in the bag so that all of the chicken gets plenty of contact with the goodness.
- The day of grilling, stir together the basting liquid. Remove chicken from the marinade and add remaining marinade liquid to the basting liquid.
- Preheat your grill. You want a medium heat because there is a lot of sugar in the marinade the basting liquid and you don’t want everything to turn black. Cook chicken, basting frequently until a meat thermometer reads 165°F. Remember that the basting liquid has some raw chicken juice in it, so quit basting a minute or two before you plan to pull the chicken.