Thursday, June 21, 2012

Rusty Chicken Thighs – What’s in a Name?

When I first came up, dishes had cool names, but that eventually went out of fashion, and chefs just started listing all the ingredients on the menu instead. That’s all well and good, but the problem for recipes like this “Rusty Chicken,” is that if I called it “Grilled Chicken Thighs marinated with Garlic, Soy, Maple Syrup, Chilies and Rice Vinegar,” you’d be thinking about all those parts and not the sum (of the yum?).

Since no one flavor dominates this beautifully balanced, all-purpose grilled chicken marinade, I’d prefer it just be called “rusty chicken” – celebrating the color of the marinade and meat, instead of the individual ingredients. I guess what I’m getting at is this doesn’t necessarily taste like the ingredients sound.

Besides, I think recipes with unique names take on their own personality, and it only takes a few tall tales to build a mythology around it. One reason Buffalo chicken wings taste so good is because they’re called “Buffalo wings,” and not “hot sauce & margarine-glazed wings.” Anyway, call this what you want, just make sure you give it a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients:
2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 or 2 cloves garlic sliced
2 tsp to 2 tbsp hot chili sauce or paste, or to taste
1 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp mayonnaise
salt and pepper to taste
*Of course you should taste and adjust this marinade before pouring over the chicken!

60 comments:

Tom from Fogtown said...

Thanks!! I'm all over this one, lol!!

tmello said...

Dear Chef John!

Can I use honey instead of maple syrup? It's really hard to find it here in Brazil.

Festizzeo said...

These would be so great with a sandwich made from roasted red potatoes,bacon, two fried eggs, backed beans in a separate dish, some black pudding and a pint of scrumpy cidre. And some good music playing in the background.

MoonFaCe said...

If you want fansy names you should go to where I am from (Kwait) they have names like The mayor sandwich and "heart broken" smoothie when it's just cheesteak sandwich and mango smoothy!
Those rusty chicken thighs look delicious, love the marinade recipe!

Brad said...

Done, and done. Wonderful. Substituted molasses for the maple syrup. Also added a tbsp of my favorite BBQ rub.

http://i46.tinypic.com/2eyurtx.jpg

Prinny said...

Help a young cook!

Question: Should you rinse/wash chicken before cooking?

Tom from Fogtown said...

Chef, chicken was excellent!! Thanks again for another superb recipe!!

Jeff @ Cheeseburger said...

Rusty Chicken Thighs . . . I think the name has a nice ring to it. It might just catch on.

Chef John said...

wow, that was fast! thanks!

Anonymous said...

If theres one thing i've taken from your videos over the years its the 'rice vinegar, soy sauce, sambal, and brown sugar/honey/maple syrup' flavor combo you use in every other savory dish of yours. Its just great balance of flavors, and always works.
I was wondering, is there a story behind your love for that flavor profile? For example, did your culinary mentor or whatever also always use it?

Anonymous said...

Chicken thighs are on sale this week, so these will be dinner tonight! (The sale price ones come with skin on and bone-in, so I'll remove the skin and adjust the cooking time upwards.)

Chef John said...

There is no benefit to rinsing off chicken. Even the USDA agrees! :-)

LynnieBNC said...

John, when you say "rice vinegar" do you mean SEASONED or un? Always confuses me!
This looks fab, and it's what's for dinner tonight!!! Even if I choose the wrong vinegar!

Chef John said...

I use the seasoned! :)

LynnieBNC said...

My inclination is to use the seasoned, too, and thanks for clarifying!!!You're so much fun!!

Blue Arc said...

Man that looks good! I bet it go with them roasted tators too. All we need is a good grilled vegetable now.

Louise said...

Chef John,

You always inspire me. I have been reading your blog a several years now. You were mentioned and there is a video of you on Snack Girl. http://www.snack-girl.com/snack/how-chop-vegetables/?e=4WcqKAFH Knife skills are so important.

Cheers

Anonymous said...

turned out kinda averege...
dont think it was worth the effort.

Unknown said...

A cast iron grill certainly helps. That's a Weber Q grill you're using--great grill.

Anonymous said...

Hey Chef John, I've been following your video blogs since last September when I got married. Thanks for walking me through recipes. The recipes that I have made myself are delicious and my husband has loved them too! I made your rusty chicken last night with chicken breast and they were so tasty! You're an awesome chef and entertainer. Thanks and all the best to you and your wife!
-Amanda M., Toronto

KenFitz said...

Chef John,

Is there an easy way to debone a chicken thigh?

Chef John said...

easy if you know how! Not something I can describe here, but you should find lots of videos on YouTube.

athenaannette said...

Tried this last night and it was great :D

I left out chili paste and used apple cider vinegar instead of rice vinegar (that's all I had).

I wish I would've let it marinade for a few more hours or overnight, though, because I let it sit for half an hour at room temp and it didn't really soak in that much.

I did 8 oz chicken breasts baked at 400 degrees for 20 minutes (if anyone is interested).

Jason Smith said...

Chef what is your thought on Grade "B" Maple Syrup.... Worth looking for?

Me.Eat.Food said...

I agree with you, Chef. I mean, I enjoy breasts as much as the next guy. But there is definitely something about thighs that really makes them special. If I can't have the thighs, I'll settle for the breasts, but it's nowhere near the same!

Anonymous said...

Chef, can you think of a good sub for the mayo that does not have dairy or egg?

Chef John said...

Sorry, don't know! It's not just the flavor, it's also the composition of the ingredients.

Chef John said...

No, no story behind my love for that flavor profile. Just works! :-)

Anonymous said...

I prepared this for dinner tonight and really enjoyed it. Another Food Wishes recipe gets added to the collection. Thanks, Chef John!

While making this I was reminded of your Caramel Chicken recipe due to a couple of common ingredients. I am going to have to make that again very soon.

Anonymous said...

Dear Chief John and I do mean Chief John as well as chef John the reciepe was absolutely delicious will be a repeat in our kithchen sincerely squaw prudence

Lhinelle said...

Used combo of red pepper flakes, chipotle Tabasco sauce, and straight up chipotle powder instead of sambal. Also added some excellent garam masala powder to boost the other flavors. Five freshly crushed cloves of garlic too.

Modified grill technique: place part of an oak log on the grill under the coals before lighting, and after searing the skin side (I used skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs), close lid and let hot smoke until done.

Literally sat at the table and ate every edible scrap off the bones. Thanks for the new standard quick chicken recipe! :D

Peggy said...

Chef John, why does marinating in the fridge take so much longer than marinading on the counter?

Chef John said...

Things move faster on molecular level the warmer something is, simple as that!

Peggy said...

Well, I made this the other night -I am def not a charcoal grill expert but despite my inexperience, this was off the chain! Thanks again for sharing your wealth of knowledge and skill with those of us who grew up relatively clueless!

Tommy A. said...

I'm going to try this for dinner tonight, I can't wait.

Anonymous said...

My Husband asks for this on a weekly basis and when I make it you would think he was a kid in a candy store he gets so excited. Great recipe! I have used a whole chicken and jsut the thighs. i am not a fan of thighs, but with this recipe the thighs really are better. thanks!

Locomotive_breath said...

Hi Chef

Made this yesterday and it was real hit with the missus and her friend. Actually the grilling session ended up becoming a throwdown between some thighs that my wife had marinated overnight in her signature tandoori marinade and your rusty chicken. The verdict? Rusty chicken by a mile. It wasn't even close. And yes, she did have that skeptical look when I added the maple syrup into the sambal. I decided then to just quote you, "trust me, this totally works" followed by "hang with me". I did however succumb to a strange and unusual desire to sprinkle some garam masala along with salt. It gave it a slight edge that I do like.

The end result was that all the rusty chicken was gone while the tandoori thighs will see the inside of a sandwich later this week. She was gracious in defeat I have to say.

Kudos!

Chef John said...

Thank for sharing! Tell your wife not to feel bad, that the odds were stacked against her. ;)

Kim Asher said...

Thanks Cheff! This was a big hit with the family. I am a huge fan of yours.

dana enani said...

Hey chef, can you please tell me a good substitute for rice vinegar, i cant find it in stores, can i use white vinegar instead?

dana enani said...

also, do i use sweet soya sauce or normal soya sauce?

Chef John said...

any vinegar will work, but you may want a little sugar. I only use reg soy sauce!

dana enani said...

You're Awesome! thank u so much :D

ChristineDux said...

My current lifestyle does not include grilling privileges. I will find out how this works in the oven. I'm more comfortable roasting than broiling. I hope that works.

mdb139 said...

I made this tonight for my wife and kids (ages 6, 6, and 5). My kids are pretty picky and my wife generally prefers chicken breast to thighs, but this was a huge hit with the entire fam! I went light on the chile paste (I used a Thai version) and I used red wine vinegar because it's what I had on hand. It smelled so amazingly good on the grill, and came out tasting a bit like bourbon chicken. The kids even had seconds! We will definitely use this recipe again. Thanks Chef John!

possum419 said...

Chef, I just made this and it was AMAZEBALLS. Seriously, the best and easiest chicken marinade hands down. Why didn't I try this sooner? I added alot of Sambal, we like it spicy in our house. Thanks, Chef John. You are the BEST.

Steve Litteral said...

Chef John,

Add a PRINT feature on your site so we can print our favorite recipes

Steve Litteral said...

Chef, Maybe you could add a Print button to your site so we can print out recipes

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mintifer said...

I do not own a grill and cannot afford one (nor have the space for one), would this work just as well in the oven?

Channer said...

Well that was amazing and easy to make. Thanks chef.

Channer said...

Well that was easy and delicious. Thanks chef.

Nannypie said...

Made this last year for my bookclub gathering. All the ladies loved it and asked for it again. Thanks Chef for the tasty dishes and easy to follow directions/videos.

Kim Asher said...

Chef John love this recipe

christhorizon94 said...

This is amaze-balls. I've found the ONE chicken recipe that I'm gonna stick to. I did this in an oven though because I don't have a grill (living in a apartment in Singapore, I don't get to use the grill very often). Baked the chicken on a bed of onions in the oven at 400 degrees fahrenheit for 45 minutes. Turned out freaking awesome! Thank you Chef John!

- your no. #1 Singaporean fan

http://goo.gl/cTA4UW

Seth said...

Chicken's marinating right now but MAN the marinade is delicious.

Did feel it lacked enough umami for me but a good tbsp or so of Oyster Sauce really brought it together, highly recommend people try it that way!

Pieter Schaafsma said...

This is certainly one of the best and most simple grilling recipes for chicken thighs that Chef John has conjured up. I think that about 1 hour is enough time to make these amazing.

ItasF said...

Too dark to grill @ 10pm. I fried the chicken for 7 minutes in Canola and then broiled it! Not as good as grilled but still very delicious. Thanks!

JoanneO said...

These were mouth-watering delicious! Hope all of Chef John's recipes are this good.

Quelster said...

My family loved this. With only 3 of us I thought 4 thighs would be enough. WRONG!