BBQ with Brew: Beer Basted Chicken Breasts

Who doesn’t love barbequed chicken?

Our first meal back at home yesterday had to be easy enough to make with the few ingredients we managed to pick up at the store on what was (in Ontario, at least) the holiday Monday of a long weekend.  On our travels last week we acquired another grilling cookbook for our budding collection, so we turned to it for inspiration.  And I don’t know about you, but beer basted barbequed chicken sounded pretty tasty to us.  It also seemed fitting to cook something with beer on a long weekend, and it gave us a chance to try out the side-burner for the first time.

Beer basted chicken breasts

Beer basted chicken, served with rice and steamed broccoli.

This recipe is a two part process: first you make a spice rub and apply it to the chicken before refrigerating it for a few hours, then you make a sauce and baste the chicken with it as it grills.  This sounded (to me, at least) as if it should create particularly flavorful and juicy chicken and, I assure you, it didn’t disappoint.

The original recipe called for chicken drumsticks, but we had boneless, skinless chicken breasts.  We made a couple of other variations to the recipe so I’ll post the ingredients we used here, but if you’re interested in the full version, Margaret Howard’s directions are much better and you can check out her book, ‘All Fired Up’.  It’s full of good ideas.

Beer-Basted Chicken Breasts for Two

For the spice rub, mix:

  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp prepared mustard (we used French’s Bold & Spicy Deli Mustard)
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp fresh lemon peel (I used a fine grater)
  • ¼ tsp each cayenne pepper, black pepper, and salt

Rub equal amounts of this mixture into two boneless skinless chicken breasts, then cover them and place them in the fridge for a few hours.  I think ours were in for 2-3 hours.

We started the basting sauce as we were preheating the grill to medium-high for the chicken.  For the sauce, mix the following ingredients together in a small pot (likely the smallest one you have, you won’t need much sauce for two people):

Side burner!

Breaking in the side burner

  • ¼ cup beer
  • 1 tbsp each of brown sugar and fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp prepared mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste (more pepper than salt, if you’re like us)

When we were ready to preheat the grill, we started the sauce over the side burner on medium.  It didn’t take long to come to a simmer, and once boiling we lowered the heat to low and kept it simmering.  It becomes syrupy as the sauce reduces and after about 5 minutes we deemed it done and turned the side burner off completely.  Once the chicken was on the grill, we turned it four times (every 2 minutes or so) and basted it each time.  Ultimately, this required all of the sauce.  The resulting chicken was juicy, and we served it up with rice and steamed broccoli, which complimented the chicken really well.  The combination of lemon and cayenne gave it a zesty tangy flavour that was entirely different than our previous barbequed chicken… Not a bad end to a long weekend!