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Grilled Chicken - Cranberry-Lime Breasts
If you like chicken, you probably love grilled chicken! I know we do. When we coat the pieces of chicken with a sweet red barbecue sauce while grilling, we call it BBQ chicken. Generally speaking, when we use some other type of sauce, or when we use a grilling marinade, we refer to the dish as simply grilled chicken. Yes, sometimes things can get confusing here in the Deep South when we’re talking about grilling, barbecuing, and smoking. Grilling chicken can be confusing all by itself, too. When it’s not done right, the pieces are similar to chicken jerky. That’s not what you want, right? You want chicken breasts that are juicy and tasty, and if you follow these steps and my grilled chicken recipe here, that’s what you’ll get.
A good chicken marinade will help keep your poultry juicy. This is especially important when you’re grilling boneless skinless breasts because they lack the skin, which can help hold in natural juices. They also have very little fat, so they tend to dry out if you’re not careful. Furthermore, using a marinade can provide lots of different flavors to the meat that’s being marinated.
In this case, I chose a grilling marinade made up mostly of cranberry juice. Actually, I used cranberry juice cocktail – not straight unsweetened cranberry juice. Really, I’m surprised more people don’t use the flavor of cranberries with their chicken recipes. I mean, it’s great with turkey, so why not use it with chicken?
This marinade works well because all the components are there. The acid in the cranberry juice, the lime juice, and the vinegar will help tenderize the chicken flesh, and they'll also add some deliecious flavors. The oil will help keep the chicken from drying out as it cooks on the grill. Some more wonderful flavors will come from the garlic and the red pepper flakes. It's a real winner!
If you want to make this a low carb recipe, just substitute diet cranberry juice for the regular cranberry juice. In fact, Ocean Spray cran-cherry diet juice is a great choice to use in the marinade, and an entire cup contains just five calories and two grams of carbohydrates. If you want to avoid carbs, you can also leave out the sugar in the marinade, or you can use Splenda instead of sugar. With the low carb version, you'll wind up with a yummy entrée that's practically carb free.
By the way, I marinated the chicken overnight, which was rather unusual for me. I don't normally marinate chicken that long, but I thought I'd do a little experimenting this time. I was happy with the results!
Chicken Marinade Recipe
1 cup cranberry juice cocktail or cranberry drink
¼ cup lime juice
¼ cup sugar
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
½ cup oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
Directions: Combine cranberry juice, lime juice, sugar, and vinegar. Stir until sugar has completely dissolved. Stir in oil, minced garlic, and red pepper flakes.
Grilled Cranberry-Lime Chicken
I really hope you try making this grilled chicken recipe for yourself. The marinade is easy to make, and the chicken cooks in a flash on the grill. Best of all, of course, it’s yummy!
Rate my grilled chicken recipe. Thanks!
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- chicken marinade (use above recipe)
- salt and pepper
- Rinse chicken breasts and pat dry. Cover a heavy cutting board with waxed paper or plastic food wrap. Place chicken breasts on top of plastic or waxed paper. Cover breasts with plastic wrap. Using a heavy meat mallet, pound chicken to about 2/3 inch thick. Try to get breasts to have the same overall thickness to they’ll grill evenly.
- Place pounded chicken in a large plastic zipper food bag and cover with marinade. Place bag in a bowl or dish, in case of leaks. Marinate chicken in the refrigerator for six hours or overnight. Turn bag and rearrange chicken pieces periodically.
- Clean grates of charcoal grill, then oil the grates. Bring a charcoal fire to medium-high heat, around 400 degrees.
- Remove chicken from marinade. Allow excess liquid to drip away. Discard marinade. Sprinkle both sides of chicken with salt and pepper.
- Grill chicken for five or six minutes. Turn breasts over with cooking tongs. Grill other side for about five minutes. Close the lid to the grill and cook chicken for about five more minutes and check the temperature of the meat. Remove the breasts from the grill when the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. Wrap the chicken tightly in foil and allow them to rest at room temperature for five minutes.
- This chicken is great with rice, baked potatoes, corn on the cob, or potato salad. Baked sweet potatoes also compliment the chicken nicely. If you’re going for a low carb meal, use the low carb marinade options I discussed above. For sides, have creamed cauliflower, grilled asparagus, or roasted non-starchy vegetables.