Summer’s celebratory tenor is best evinced by near-weekly cookout invitations. But as our social calendars fill out, so, too, could our hips. Nothing is more disruptive to a healthy eating regimen than encountering an ice cream sundae station or a heaping plate of barbecued spareribs weekend after weekend. Our solution? Lean, smoky, protein-packed grilled chicken. It’s easily our best bet when it comes to light summer dining. The only problem is that the humble grilled poultry tends to get, well … a little boring. In truth, it’s not the chicken’s fault. If your go-to preparation method involves throwing some chicken on the grill after a quick dunk in store-bought barbecue sauce, then it’s time to switch up your technique. All it takes is a flavorful sauce, glaze or rub to invigorate this simple dish. Here are six ideas to kick-start a season of healthy summer grilling.
Go Bold with Garnish
While traditional chicken cordon bleu is coated with eggs and breadcrumbs, and then fried, Bobby Flay grills the meat for a lighter dish that still gives you leeway to top it with salty prosciutto and melted Brie.
Sauce It Up
Slather grilled chicken with homemade harissa right before serving, for a spicy-sweet kick. Marinating the chicken in a yogurt mixture beforehand also helps it keep more of its moisture.
Spike the Marinade
The refreshing taste of classic lime margaritas shines through in Ina Garten’s crisp-on-the-outside, tender-on-the-inside grilled chicken.
Glaze with Fruit
Bobby enhances the flavor of basic grilled chicken breast by slathering on a quick mixture of peach preserves, a dollop of Dijon and a single jalapeno; the glaze creates a sweet, tangy bite.
Kick Up Your Dry Rub
This light dish highlights fresh tomatoes, tomatillos and red onion, plus ancho chile powder and cumin for subtle heat.
Try the Thigh
Guy Fieri turns to the juiciest of all the chicken parts when applying his big, bold marinade of garlic, ginger, soy sauce and orange juice.
For more great ways to grill chicken, check out these recipes from our friends:
The Lemon Bowl: Ginger Teriyaki Grilled Chicken Breasts
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Grilled Chicken Breasts with Corn & Black Bean Salsa
TasteBook: Coconut Grilled Chicken with Ginger and Lime
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Grilled Chicken with Mushroom Sauce
The Mom 100: Grilled Chicken Salad
Devour: Fuel Up for Summer with 4 Protein-Packed Grilled Chicken Skewers
In Jennie’s Kitchen: Crispy Fried Chicken Bites
Taste with the Eyes: Grilled Chicken, Pickled Sweet Cherry Pepper Sauce
FN Dish: 6 Ways to Grill the Whole Chicken Like a Total Champ