Honey-Balsamic Grilled Chicken

This recipe is probably my best creation so far (it is my fiancee's favorite) and was suggested by a dish I had at a very nice restaurant (although the pasta is my idea and the best part). It is very simple and very good.


  • Skinless Chicken (or Turkey) Breasts, Quarters or Thighs
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Honey
  • Olive Oil
  • Cappellini (Angel Hair Pasta)
  • Sun-Dried Tomatoes in Olive Oil with Herbs
  • Marinated Artichoke Hearts
  • Fresh Rosemary
  • Fresh Garlic
  • Red Onion
  • The Method:

    Fire up the grill. If you use charcoal, the trick is to give the coals about 30 minutes to burn down to a white, ashen look. This is a slow cooking heat, about 350 to 400 F. Spread the coals widely and uniformly until they are one coal deep. Put the grilling rack about 5 or 6 inches above the coals. With a gas grill turn the flame down until it is fairly low, the jets projecting only an inch or so.

    While waiting for the coals to get ready, prepare the basting sauce. This is made from honey, balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Use about half honey and equal proportions of balsamic vinegar and olive oil to make up the balance. Since you are basting chicken, which can be a carrier of salmonella, its a good idea to just mix up as much as you need and discard any leftover. The fire kills the germs, but there is no sense in letting bugs stew overnight or for a few days in the sauce between grillings. Of course, sterilize the basting brush after every use.

    Before placing the chicken on the grill, anoint it liberally with the basting sauce. I like to cook the smooth side (outside) first and let it get a little bit charred from the flame. The inner side can stick to the grill if its too hot. Chicken needs to cook slowly. Turn the pieces every 3 minutes or so, at least twice, until thoroughly cooked a golden brown, but not overdone. Baste every time the chicken is turned. Just wet the meat. Too much and the sauce will cause excessive flare ups and burn your food.

    While I have called this a chicken dish, it works equally well with turkey and I strongly suspect that it would be wonderful with duck too.

    The perfect side dish with this grilled fowl is angel hair pasta tossed with julienned sun-dried tomatoes, marinated artichokes, fresh rosemary, chopped garlic and thinly sliced red onion. Cook the pasta per the instructions on the package. Be extremely careful not to overcook the pasta! Capellini is easy to overcook. Dump the entire contents of the jars of sun-dried tomatoes and marinated artichoke hearts into a skillet. If you can only get dry tomatoes, you could attempt to reinvigorate them in a tiny amount of water and add oil when they are put in the skillet. If the artichoke marinade seems too runny, just fish out the artichokes. I add a heaping tablespoon of chopped garlic and a handful of thinly sliced onion. Cut the onion across the middle so the rings split. While dry rosemary can be used in a pinch, the fresh rosemary from the herbs in the produce section is the best. It will be soft and more pungeunt. Use several sprigs. Saute the ingredients on low heat to let the flavors mature.

    Serve with a salad (maybe greens with red onion, blue cheese, walnuts and golden raisins and a balsamic vinaigrette?) or a green vegetable and carrots. You already have the pasta so a starchy vegetable like potatoes is overkill, but hot, fresh sourdough bread with olive oil and cracked black pepper for dipping would be fantastic. I like a spicy zinfandel with this dish, but a riesling or other German white will nicely accompany this as well.

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