Basil-Beer Grilled Chicken

Summer is synonymous with grilling and this chicken recipe is just the ticket for al fresco eating.

Basil-Beer marinated chicken.

Basil-Beer marinated chicken.

Basil-Beer marinated chicken.

Basil-Beer marinated chicken.

The grill called out to me this weekend. To be honest, that happens a lot. I’ve been known to fire up my old friend any time of year. Last year my Thanksgiving turkey was a slow-grilled affair, smoked with applewood as I occasionally dashed out into the chilly fall air to check its progress. 

Now summer has arrived and the grill is used far more often than the oven. In fact, I abandoned charcoal for propane so it could be fired up at a moment's notice. Over the fire today we have spring onions, asparagus and that favorite of standbys, chicken.

I have a very happy flock of chickens in my back yard. All year long I collect fresh eggs from the gang out back and they live a happy, comfortable life. But when the weather warms up and the grill beckons, I head out back and look them over. Who has gotten nice and fat? Who isn’t laying regularly?

Well, no. 

I recognize the hypocrisy in a diet that regularly features chicken, but an unwillingness to eat a chicken I have actually met. Like many, I mostly separate the chicken I eat from those cheerful birds I know personally. I know, vegetarians, I know. Truth be told, I often think if I’m going to continue to eat chicken, I should go through the process of raising and slaughtering chickens at least once so I can reconcile that philosophical inconsistency. For now though, there are chickens and there is chicken.

If you will join me once again at my grill and in my denial, dinner is just about ready. Marinated in beer, fresh basil picked from the garden and lime, chicken carries the flavors beautifully. Unlike steak, chicken suffers under high heat and dries out easily. Grilled over medium heat and with care not to overcook, it is moist, delicious and still bears those grill marks that are the calling card of the proud grill master.

Don’t tell the hens out back. There’s a reason the grill is on the other side of the house.

Grilled Basil-Beer Chicken

  • 1 bottle pale ale beer
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Juice of one lime
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper
  • 4 chicken breasts

Combine all ingredients in a ziploc bag, seal and refrigerate overnight.

Grill over medium heat. Depending on size, grill 4 to 6 minutes, turn once and cook 3 to 4 more minutes before removing from grill.

Let rest 5 minutes before serving.

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