Instead of grilling chicken hot and fast, this easy dinner recipe calls for a quick sear and then cooking it low and slow. Some of the most flavorful, tender, and juicy chicken I’ve ever had, and you still get that amazing grill flavor!
Today I went with my brother and his family to the beach. If you don’t live in California, probably when you think “beach + CA + July,” you think sunshine and stuff, right? But we live in Northern California. Going to the ocean here is like going to the Hoth of beaches. (What? You don’t understand obscure Star Wars references?) It was COLD, okay.
And I showed up in shorts and a t-shirt. You’d think I would learn after an entire lifetime of cold ocean-outings. Nope. My kids were in flip flops, nary a sweater in sight.
By the end of the day I felt downright negligent. Blue-lipped, underdressed, shivering children, one of them by this time barefoot as we hiked through tide pools. (Charlotte’s cousin Ryan buried her shoes in the sand as a practical joke, but then forgot where he buried them. We searched forever. Shoes, schmooes, right?)
But that’s okay, kids forget minor details like freezing weather when they look back at awesome pictures like this, right?
Welcome to my favorite dinner recipe of the summer! And last summer too, actually, I’ve been majorly holding out on you. I’ve probably made this recipe at least 5 times by now, and for a girl who doesn’t repeat a lot of recipes, that’s saying something. My mother-in-law told me about it, and now it’s how I always cook chicken on the grill if I have the time.
The title of this recipe is actually incorrect, since grilling is defined as cooking hot and fast. This is a low-and-slow barbecue recipe. But barbecue makes me think of the sauce, not the cooking method, and barbecue-mustard sounded gross to me.
The idea is that you sear one side of the chicken over high heat, then move it over indirect heat and slow cook it. You still get all the grill flavor, but none of the tough dryness so common with grilled chicken. I’m always over-grilling chicken. This recipe turns out the most tender, moist, juicy grilled chicken I’ve ever had. It’s a total game-changer!
Do you guys give up? Or are you thirsty for more?
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Slow Grilled Mustard Chicken
- 2-3 pounds chicken, thighs, breasts, drumsticks, preferably bone-in
- 1/2 cup dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons vinegar
- 4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 tablespoons light-flavored molasses
- Pat chicken dry and trim any extra fat.
- In a large ziplock bag, add mustard, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and thyme. Add the chicken, zip, and mix it up.
- Refrigerate for 4 hours, or up to 24. (Or a half hour if you're in a time pinch, but you didn't hear it from me.) Drain the chicken, but do not discard the marinade.
- Preheat your grill to high heat. If you are using wood or coals, make sure you leave an area of the grill with fewer coals. After the initial sear you will be cooking the chicken over indirect heat.
- When it's hot, place the chicken pieces over direct heat. Close the lid and grill for 3-5 minutes, or until the outside is as crisp as you want it.
- Use tongs to flip the chicken and place over the low-heat part of the grill. I have a gas grill, so I just turn off one of the burners. (The chicken should over the half of the grill that is turned off). Reduce the heat on the other half of the grill to medium-low heat, between 250-275 degrees F.
- Cover and cook for 30-50 minutes, depending on the thickness of your chicken. Brush with marinade 2-3 times while cooking.
- The chicken is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F on a meat thermometer, or you can cut it to see if the juices run clear (not pink).
- If you want, you can quickly sear the other side of the chicken over direct high heat before serving.
- Meanwhile, add the remaining marinade to a small pot. Add 2 tablespoons molasses. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low until ready to serve.
- Serve the sauce with the grilled chicken. A little bit goes a long way.
- I like to serve this with grilled corn, grilled peppers, watermelon, oven roasted potatoes, or a big salad.
More recipes for the grill this summer!
Balsamic Grilled Chicken with Spicy Honey Bacon Glaze: (reader favorite!)
Blackberry-Balsamic Glazed Chicken:
Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Peanut Lime Sauce:
More chicken on the grill!
Barbecued Chicken on the Grill From Simply Recipes
Fiesta Lime Grilled Chicken from Plain Chicken
Grilled Chicken Bruschetta from SkinnyTaste
I was a die-hard Lawry’s Honey-Dijon marinade aficionado, heartbroken when it was discontinued, mostly because it made everything taste like my secret favorite naughty food: hot dogs! I’d originally purchased it as I HAD to try Arthur Avenue Mario’s Salmon Regina (Arthur Avenue in the Bronx is renown Italian Restaurant Row…what I didn’t know was there’s a difference between Noethern Italian cuisine and traditional tomato sauce (Southern) cuisine. My boss sent me to play hostess for our doctor’s dinner meeting, and as I informed each of our menu choices, they ALL stopped me @ “Salmon Regina” and ordered it without hearing the rest of.iur menu choices. So 20 doctors CAN’T be wrong, right?!?! So I followed their lead and fell in love with it. Imagine my chagrin when there was nary a drop of marinara in the joint…and I was taken aback by the pile of herb-roasted potatoes accompanying my salmon, but I dove in and have been trying to recreate Mario’s Salmon Regina ever since (without success, especially now that Lawry’s D/C’ed their Honey Dijon marinade), but THIS RECIPE has restored my HOPE that I’ll be able to recreate at least a distant cousin version of Mario’s dish…. it was a lovely piece of Salmon with a mustard sauce across the top, thick enough that it didn’t run off, but definitely not a schmear of mustard. Delicate. Perfectly paired with salmon. Each enhanced the other’s flavor. 20 doctor’s knew a good thing, and so do I now!
would like to try this in the oven, any recommendations? St
Hi Esteban! Follow the oven method described on this recipe https://thefoodcharlatan.com/easy-baked-pesto-chicken-recipe/ Enjoy!
This recipe is the moistest chicken I have ever made on the grill, and we grill a lot! My only comment is to double the marinade. It allows for a more generous baste on the chicken and makes twice the sauce – which is the PERFECT touch. Did it with stuffed mushrooms and some grilled asparagus and it was out of this world. Can’t wait to make it again!
I’m so glad the recipe was a hit Mark! This is my favorite way to grill chicken, for sure. Love the idea of pairing it with stuffed mushrooms and asparagus! Thanks for sharing and reviewing!
WHAT kind of vinegar did you use? I would like to suggest you specify in any recipe that calls for vinegar. Thank you. VERY helpful for all your readers.
Hi Karen! Thanks for pointing that out! I used white vinegar and updated the recipe to reflect that. Thank you for the comment! Hope you enjoy the chicken!
I have made this dozens of times since coming across this recipe a couple of years ago. Chicken always comes out moist and juicy.
Is the chicken with skin on?
Hi Hilda! You can make this recipe with the skin on or with skinless chicken. Either way it will taste great!
What type of vinegar..red wine, apple cider, plain? Thanks
Hi Sue! I use white vinegar, but any of those that you mentioned would be delicious too!
This looks amazing! I want to make it for a BBQ this weekend but am wondering if I can sub brown sugar or light brown sugar for the molasses and if so how much? I’ve never used molasses before and don’t want to have to buy some to sit on the shelf except for when I make this recipe. Thanks!
Oh Heather, don’t you miss out. Buy that molasses, then make Molasses Cookies. Or these Oatmeal Cookies. Or this Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake!!
Or you can totally sub brown sugar :) You will miss out on the unique flavor though!