We love smoked paprika and are always trying to find new ways to use it. This chicken turns out very flavorful, but is surprisingly simple to make! (You can use regular or Hungarian paprika instead, but the flavor will be somewhat different.)
The recipe is long, only because we’re sharing a good amount of basic information about marinades and grilling. Read through it all, but once you understand the why of everything, you’ll see that there’s really not much to it!
We like to cook our chicken on the grill, but the smoked paprika gives it an outdoor flavor even when you cook it in the oven. To cook inside, see Variations at the end of the recipe.
When buying chicken, the cost can vary greatly. We understand how difficult it is to pay 2, 3 or 4 times as much for a healthier chicken. At the very least, look for chicken that has been raised without hormones or antibiotics. Today it is much easier to find organic or free-range chickens in the grocery store, but those labels can be misleading. Even so, we usually spend more for organic or “pasture-raised” chickens, either from the grocery store or at the farmers markets. To balance the extra cost we just eat less chicken, either by using self-control or by combining it with less expensive ingredients or side dishes.
|Cook Time||Passive Time|
|20-30 minutes||30-60 minutes|
Serving Size:2 pieces
This is our go-to chicken recipe for cookouts because it's full of flavor, yet very simple to make. Although you can use regular or Hungarian paprika, smoked paprika has the best flavor. We usually prepare a whole chicken, but sometimes purchase specific pieces based on everyone's preferences. To use for salads, cook 2 pounds of boneless, skinless thighs or breasts.
Tools:small and large bowl, measuring cups and spoons, knife and cutting board, grill
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 tablespoon salt
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (optional)
- 1/4 cup high heat cooking oil
- 1 (3 to 4 pound) chicken cut into 10 pieces*
- 4-6 sprigs fresh thyme or parsley
- Combine all marinade ingredients, except oil, in a large bowl. Slowly beat in the oil with a whisk (or fork) to emulsify.
- If desired, reserve 1 tablespoon of marinade and set aside to brush onto chicken after it's been grilled.
- Place chicken pieces in the large bowl of marinade, turning to coat all sides. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes but no more than 60 minutes, turning once halfway through. NOTE: The amount of time in the marinade matters. It needs enough time to absorb the flavors, but not so much that it breaks down the meat, making it mushy.
- Heat grill on high. (Gas grills can vary, so adjust for your grill.) Turn one burner off and the other to medium-high. Remove chicken from marinade and shake off excess. Discard remaining marinade.
- Place meat on the side of the grill with no burner, skin-side down. If your grill only has one burner, turn to medium or medium low. Watch carefully, so it doesn't flame up and burn.
- Grill* 10 to 15 minutes on each side (a little less for boneless cuts).
- Optional step: Flip over one more time and place on hottest side of grill for 30 to 60 seconds to get the crisscross marks.
- Chicken is done when meat thermometer reads 165°F, or cut through the thickest piece to see if the juices run clear. (The amount of time depends on the size of the chicken piece, whether you're using bone-in or boneless chicken, and the temperature of the grill.)
- Transfer chicken to a plate and cover loosely with a tent of aluminum foil. Let rest 5 minutes. NOTE: This step is important! While resting, the juices are reabsorbed, resulting in juicier meat.
- If you reserved some of the marinade, brush it over chicken pieces before serving. Garnish with sprigs of fresh thyme, or sprinkle some dried thyme on top.
*Tip: Ask the butcher to cut a whole chicken into 10 pieces: 2 drumsticks, 2 thighs, 2 wings, 4 breast pieces (the whole breast is split in half, then each half is cut crosswise to make 4 pieces). Of course, you can cut the chicken at home too. Freeze the backbone and neck to make chicken broth at another time. If preferred, substitute 3 pounds of bone-in chicken pieces (e.g., all breasts or all thighs), or 2 pounds of boneless, skinless pieces for the whole chicken.
*Terminology: Grill – to cook with dry heat (usually an open flame) from below. A grilling pan is for indoor use on the stove. It has ridges that leave marks similar to those from a grill, but needs no open flame, just a heat source from below (i.e. stove top).
- Serve with steamed vegetables and Red Potato Salad or Chipotle Sweet Potato Salad.
- Kabobs – Use 2 pound boneless, skinless thighs or breasts and cut into smaller pieces. Thread onto skewers and cook about 10 minutes each side—on the grill, or in the oven. Add vegetable chunks to skewers if desired.
- To cook inside, preheat oven to 400°F. Remove chicken from marinade and place on a greased baking sheet. Cook 25 to 35 minutes, or until done, turning once halfway through. Internal temperature should read 165°F on a meat thermometer, or cut through the thickest piece and see if the juices run clear. Follow all other instructions.
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