Balsamic Grilled Chicken with Spicy Honey Bacon Glaze

This grilled chicken is SO full of flavor from the marinade. A quick stint on the grill and a 4-ingredient sauce top it off. Oh, did I mention the bacon? Yeah.

Balsamic Grilled Chicken with Spicy Honey Bacon GlazeI had cancer once a couple years ago, but it’s not what you think.  This is one of those topics I feel kind of awkward bringing up because when people hear the word “cancer” they automatically think of chemo and hospitals and shaved heads, and the alarm and pity are immediate and profuse.

 Mine wasn’t like that. I had melanoma, skin cancer. I didn’t even bother telling my mom about it for a few days because I didn’t think it was that big a deal. I mentioned it to her in passing on the phone and she flipped, of course. Because that’s what you do when you hear the word cancer. You freak out. It’s almost expected.
Balsamic Grilled Chicken with Spicy Honey Bacon Glaze

And don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I wasn’t worried. I mean who wants cancer? Especially when you’re only 24? Melanoma is pretty common with older folks, whose skin has simply been used up after 80 years of wear and tear. But me? Young, sunscreen-loving, lily-white me?

I had outpatient surgery to have the melanoma removed from my upper back and that was that. The end.

Balsamic Grilled Chicken with Spicy Honey Bacon Glaze

It’s strange. It’s not like it weighs on me. All I have to do is see a dermatologist every year. At my checkup today the worst I heard was that I apparently have dandruff. For real. She’s like, “Use Neutrogena, it will help.”

Dandruff? Are you kidding me? It’s like they’re desperate to diagnose me with something, because I barely have any moles left for them to examine. My skin looks great, they say.

Balsamic Grilled Chicken with Spicy Honey Bacon Glaze And I feel guilty. That’s why I feel weird bringing up the C-word. One Harry Potter scar on my back and I’m good to go. I feel like I’m abusing the word to even call my experience cancer.

Maybe I should just start referring to it as my Dandruff Surgery that I had that one time. And I have to get a checkup every year to make sure I don’t need anymore Dandruff Surgery. So next year when I talk about my dandruff doctor, who will hopefully still be just a dandruff-finding doctor and not a cancer-finding doctor, you’ll know not to worry too much.

Balsamic Grilled Chicken with Spicy Honey Bacon Glaze
 In other not-so-serious news, Eric and I bought a grill for the first time a few weeks ago. Woohoo! We have been grilling up a storm. I found this recipe for Balsamic Grilled Chicken with Spicy Honey Bacon Glaze last summer. It’s from The Pioneer Woman, so of course it’s amazing. The best part is how easy it is. Marinate some chicken, make a 4-ingredient sauce, and throw it together. Easy! And ridiculously good. The chicken is so tender.
Balsamic Grilled Chicken with Spicy Honey Bacon Glaze
 I also like to make this recipe with salmon. Why have I not thought about combining salmon and bacon before this? It’s a good choice. Viva la bacon!
Balsamic Grilled Chicken with Spicy Honey Bacon Glaze

Yield: Serves 4-6


  • 4 chicken breasts*, left whole or cut into thick strips diagonally
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4 cup olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons steak seasoning
  • For the glaze:
  • 6 slices bacon, chopped
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 3 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce (I used Frank's)


  1. In a large ziplock bag, squish together 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar, 3/4 cup oil, 3 tablespoons brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons steak seasoning. Add the chicken breast, thighs, or salmon filets. Seal and refrigerate for a few hours. (If you are marinading salmon, grill them after 1-2 hours at the longest or it will get mushy. If you are doing chicken, you can do it 2-3 days in advance if you want.)
  2. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat.
  3. Make the glaze. In a large pan, cook the bacon until it is crisp, then remove to a paper-towel-lined plate and let cool. If you didn't chop it, crumble it now. Set aside.
  4. Drain the grease from the pan, but don't clean it. Add the honey, worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce. Let bubble over medium heat. Once it is bubbly, add in the chopped bacon. Stir and cook for 1-2 minutes until it has thickened lightly, then remove from heat. The glaze will continue to thicken as it cools down.
  5. Grill the chicken or salmon over medium-high heat. Discard the marinade, or use it to brush the fresh veggies you should be grilling. Don't forget to brush the grill with oil first or it will stick. Cook 2-4 minutes per side, until it is no longer pink for the chicken, or until it flakes tenderly with a fork for the salmon.
  6. Serve topped with the bacon glaze. I like to serve this with grilled veggies on the side, like tomatoes and baby bell peppers. It would also be good with baked beans.


*I used 2 salmon filets and 3 chicken thighs this time when I made it. If you are doing all salmon, use 4-6 filets. If you are doing just thighs, use at least 5. It doesn't really matter, just however many you can fit in the marinade and have it cover them pretty well. The marinade is a pretty generous amount.
Source: originally from the Pioneer Woman, but I think she took the recipe down. I got the recipe from The Recipe Critic. (Update: it looks like The Recipe Critic took her blog down. But I did find the original recipe posted on The Pioneer Woman’s other site, Tasty Kitchen.)
Balsamic Grilled Chicken with Spicy Honey Bacon GlazeUse the good stuff.
Balsamic Grilled Chicken with Spicy Honey Bacon Glaze
Here’s all you need to make the sauce…super easy.
Balsamic Grilled Chicken with Spicy Honey Bacon Glaze
Oh and can’t forget the bacon! Duh.





  1. says

    I love all your grill recipes because we are in the same boat! brand new grill that is just waiting to be used :) I’m pale and freckly and I’m in the dermatologist every year too. They always cut something off and test it- fun stuff :) My husband wants to move to Hawaii and I keep telling him that my pale skin can’t handle it!
    Caitlin @ teaspoon recently posted…Oreo Chocolate CupcakesMy Profile

  2. Sarah says

    I’m sure Brian would crawl right into these pictures if he could…not for the meat of course, for the grilled veggies. Haha! But seriously, yum.

  3. says

    Karen, I just love your great attitude about your “dandruff” surgery! You are my kind of person! I’m sure some people would get super dramatic, woe is me, and make it a gigantic deal. Love your positive attitude about it at all. And also *super* glad that you’re ok, of course!

    I’m curious, did your doctor spot the melanoma? Or did you notice a mole that was looking odd? I’m always keeping an eye on my own skin, and would love to know what to look out for.

    This balsamic chicken looks delicious! Bacon just makes everything better : )
    Natalie @ Tastes Lovely recently posted…Five Things for FridayMy Profile

  4. says

    Karen, you’re amazing. If only everyone was as no-nonsense and strong and just like, REASONABLE as you. Woohoo for no more skin cancer!! That story of those two old ladies that kept you company while waiting for your prognosis was hilarious!
    Erika recently posted…Flax MacaronsMy Profile

  5. Janice says

    You’re right, I freaked out a little- I knew quite well what melanoma was. Thank heaven for modern medicine and procedures! And thank heaven for you! And bacon- this looks delicious :)

  6. says

    So glad you were able to get rid of the mole and be cancer-free! I need to check my skin more often too since I’m so pale and have lots of freckles/moles. I’m crazy with sunscreen now, but I had a couple bad burns when I was younger so you never know!

    But, in regards to this chicken…it looks uhmazing! Can’t wait to try this recipe out…I’m always looking for good recipes for the grill!
    Beeta @ Miss Sophisticate recently posted…Summer Weekend: At the HarborMy Profile

  7. says

    I have mad respect for your no-nonsense and humorous approach to your experience with cancer. I tend to be slightly hypochondriac-ish and freak out if I have a headache two days in a row or spot a slightly suspicious freckle. Thanks for bringing it down. And somehow making a post about cancer funny…and delicious. Seriously, did you ever think all those things would be in the same sentence?
    Courtney @ Neighborfood recently posted…Green Bean Delivery: Review + Coupon Code!My Profile

  8. says

    Oh Karen, you really know how to make me laugh — and how to lighten up a usually depressing topic! Even though it wasn’t all that serious, I’d still be scared to go under surgery. I’ve had a couple of larger moles for a while (the main one was my first freckle that my mom thought was dirt and spent 20 minutes trying to scrub it off in my bath) that the dermatologist has been keeping an eye on for a while, and I always get a little nervous when those appointments come around. If I could call her a dandruff doctor, it’d be a lot easier to go! ;)
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  9. Sandi says

    This chicken looks wonderful. May I make a suggestion? Whenever I see a “grilled” recipe, I wish that an indoor alternative (oven/stove top) direction would also be given. That would be helpful for those who don’t have access to a grill or who wish to prepare it during the colder months. Thanks for your blog. :)

  10. Cindy says

    This recipe is fabulous! Served chicken with green beans and roasted fingerling potatoes. This is a keeper!! Can’t wait for leftovers tomorrow night. Thanks.

  11. Tricia says

    While I’m very happy to hear you caught your melanoma in time, it is really not something to take lightly or joke about. You may have a small Harry Potter scar but my husband is missing a pretty large section of his arm that required a skin graph and he too was diagnosed at a hong age, 26. Approximately 10,000 Americans will die from melanoma this year.

    • Melanie says

      Dear Tricia and The Food Charlatan,

      I fear this will be lengthy ;) but please bear with me. My little (@ 24 yoa) sister was diagnosed with Melanoma… What I have learned, is that Cancer isn’t a joke! However, we need to joke and laugh around about it to survive. It makes things easier. Cancer itself isn’t a joke, the suffering brought to the cancer survivor/victim and their supporters… not so funny. Yet, :) there is always a bright side: we have the ability to laugh and love and joke about & remember that life is still amongst us, within us. I am a part of the YACC (Young Adults of Cancer Canada, on facebook!) and am more than happy to have decided to involve myself in a team of people that understand what it’s like to be single, in a relationship, searching for a new life, understanding their issues as a supporter and as a survivo!r! It’s a wonderful group and I hope you find your support as well! Feel free to contact me if you wish
      sincerely, Mel

  12. says

    KAREN!!!! I just made this recipe for the blog on Tuesday and it was FANTASTIC!!!! All of your recipes are just spectacular! We had guests over and they also all LOVED it!!!! I am making it again tonight for another family! I hope all of my exclamation marks and capital letters are getting across HOW MUCH I LOVED THIS DISH!!!! You definitely have a gift for developing recipes! Thank you for sharing!
    Lauren Klukas recently posted…Summer!My Profile

  13. Kathy says

    Wow! This marinade is fantastic. Forget the bacon (of course I was out). I had scored a deal on chicken quarters which I was cutting into thighs and drumsticks. I made the marinade and put it the zip locks with the chicken and froze it. A week or so later I pulled out the chicken thighs and threw them in the crockpot. They were fantastic!! The leftovers were even better the next day. My husband ate his because I was home late from work. I almost didn’t have dinner, he like them so much. He sacrificially saved one for me and watched me eat it with great longing. I almost felt bad….naaa it was so good and I could make more. I pinned it for the Bacon but the marinade its self is a keeper.

  14. Nadeen says

    This was great. I had no charcoal, so I decided to to do these in the oven. I sautéed red onions, jalapeño and mushrooms in a pan. Took that out. Took the thighs out of the marinade and seared them for about 10 minutes. These cooked out a nice juice (marinade cooking out of the chicken) . I removed the chicken and added the glaze mix (uncooked) into the pan. Added white wine and cooked it down for about 5 minutes. Added back the chicken with enough beef broth to be able to braise the meat. Put in the oven at 400 for 20 minutes. Then uncovered for another 10. Flavor was great! Skin was nice and crisp! Thanks for posting this recipe I will use it often!!!


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