Everyone knows how wine is something to keep in the kitchen for adding flavors to sauces and such; but few think about using bourbon whiskey. Here is a recipe that can use the whiskey in its marination process for either a whole chicken (or Cornish hens) or whole chicken breasts/halves.
1-1/4 cups bourbon (Jack Daniels or your favorite brand)
1-1/4 cups soy sauce
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon coarse salt (sea or kosher)
4 one-quarter inch thick lemon slices
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
2 tablespoons melted butter or olive oil
Four halved chickens or four whole breasts or four Cornish hens
wood chips (Jack Daniel or type you choose)
- In a bowl or medium saucepan, bourbon, soy sauce, sugar, mustard, garlic, lemon slices, and pepper whisk until sugar and salt are dissolved. Boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat and cool completely. Set aside ¾ cup bourbon strained mixture for basting. You can refrigerate the bourbon mixture for up to 3 days in advance.
- If you are grilling Cornish hens, halved chicken pieces, or whole breasts, add chicken to brine in a large dutch oven, cover and refrigerate for 18 hours, turning chicken occasionally. It is best to slash the meat for better soaking of the marinade.
- Before grilling, soak wood chips in water for at least 15 minutes, then drain. Set up the grill for direct grilling and preheat to high. If using a gas grill, place all of the wood chips/chunks in the smoker box or in a smoker pouch and run high until smoking (about 5 minutes). If using a charcoal grill, preheat to high, then toss all chips/chunks on the coals.
- If using a gas grill, adjust primary burner until 350-375 degrees is maintained. Oil cooking grate with cooking spray. Place chicken halves/breasts skin side up and baste with melted butter or olive oil. Cook for 2 minutes each side and bast with reserved bourbon mixture, cover and cook, basting every 15 minutes and flipping with reserved bourbon mixture until chicken registers 160 degrees for breasts and 175 degrees for Cornish hens. For Cornish hens it is best to use a rotisserie; if so, bast the initial butter/oil bath, cook for 4 minutes, then cover and cook, basting bourbon mixture every 15 minutes until done. All of the bourbon mixture should be used. It should be done within 75 to 90 minutes with grill temperatures between 350 and 375 degrees, adjusting primary burner.
- Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.