Over many long California summers, my mom has perfected her tangy chicken marinade with a Chinese twist, and my dad has perfected his grilling technique. No matter how often we have it, barbecue dinner at their house is a huge treat each and every time.
- 2 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs (wings work well too)
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 1/2 cup hoisin sauce
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- Crushed red pepper (optional)
- Rinse and pat dry chicken (moisture will make the marinade watery). Cut each thigh into 2-3 pieces, trimming any pockets of fat.
- Mix sauce ingredients together in a bowl.
- Add chicken to the sauce a few pieces at a time, and turn pieces to coat each one well. Remove well-coated chicken pieces to a container (a baking dish or ziploc bag work well). Let marinate in refrigerator for a few hours or overnight.
- Chicken is best grilled (heat to 250-300 degrees F), but you can use a broiler as well. If using broiler, cook 8-10 minutes on first side. Watch carefully, as the broiler can go from cooked to burnt very quickly. Cook until chicken is browned and starting to char at edges. Second side will cook more quickly than the first. Let rest for a few minutes and test for doneness before serving.
- Hoisin sauce is fairly common these days in the Asian section of regular supermarkets. But if you can make it to an Asian market, the Koon Chun brand is darker, thicker and more strongly flavored than what you’d normally find at the supermarket. For the gluten-free, I’ve read that Wok Mei brand is also very good.
- Feel free to substitute white sugar for brown, or another vinegar for white. These are in such small amounts the substitutions won’t make a big difference.
- You can omit the crushed red pepper, but a sprinkling gives a bit of interest to the sauce without any real heat. Feel free to use more if you want a real kick.
- In the past my mom has sometimes added a small squirt (1 teaspoon) of mustard to the mix.