Oh sweet tangy and spicy lemon pepper, why are you so good? This recipe is perfect if you had a little bit of time to plan ahead and prepare. Marinades are a great way to get incredible flavors into your food when you have the ability to plan in advance. So, start thinking about next weeks dinners, and put together the Grilled Lemon Pepper Chicken!
For this recipe, I prepared it in the morning, threw it in zip locks with the chicken, and grilled it the same night. It was incredibly delicious, but might have even more flavor if given more time to marinate. I also had taken the time the night before to not only tenderize the chicken with a meat mallet, but also to cut scoring lines into the chicken to add even more surface area for the marinade to penetrate. These steps are entirely unnecessary, it was just a little experiment I was trying.
For this recipe, I was on my way to Central Oregon for a little family vacation. I was in charge of planning dinner the first night we arrived, so I wanted something I could prep either the night before or morning of that was going to be grill-ready when we arrived at the rental house. By the way, if you’re looking for a great vacation spot, I highly suggest The Bear Den. My brain immediately went to testing out my very own Grilled Lemon Pepper Chicken.
How To Make Grilled Lemon Pepper Chicken
Marinades are great, because for the most part you just combine ingredients and set aside for science to take over. In this case, as I mentioned earlier, I took it a step further by tenderizing and scoring the chicken. This step is totally optional. I had two thoughts, number one was tenderizing would make the chicken similar in size and therefore would have even cooking time. Second, scoring the chicken would result in deeper marinade penetration. Whether or not either of these strategies worked can only be answered in some kind of side by side (by side, by side) taste test.
Prepping the Marinade
After tenderizing and scoring chicken (if you chose these steps), place chicken into gallon sized Ziplock bags. In a separate mixing bowl, combine lemon zest, lemon juice, minced garlic, olive oil, and red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Mix, then pour into the bag with the chicken, making sure to fully seal and massage the marinade into the chicken. Refrigerate at least 8 hours.
Grilling the Grilled Lemon Pepper Chicken
This part was also a new way of cooking chicken that I learned watching one of the chefs I follow. Fire up your grill (gas or charcoal would be best here) and set the heat to high. Once your grill is fired up and at maximum temperature, throw your chicken on. Every 60-90 seconds flip your chicken. Keep this up until your chicken reaches 160 degrees internally, then remove from the grill and rest for 10 minutes.
After it’s rested, serve and enjoy!
Since this recipe was very much summer inspired, I wanted a summery sounding song. I mean, summer vacation, summer grilling, summer night dinners. What’s not summery about it? With that being said, while cooking, listen to Vance Joy – Riptide, and practice your grill-side dance moves!
- This would be a great marinade for some grilled lemon pepper chicken wings!
- You could also cook the grilled lemon pepper chicken on the stove, if needed.
- I chose to do both boneless skinless chicken thighs and breasts, which would cook at different speeds.
- When grilling, it’s really important to know the hot and cool zones on your grill top to make sure the whole batch cooks as evenly as possible.
Grilled Lemon Pepper Chicken
- 4 lb chicken
- 1-2 lemons zested and juiced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- red pepper flakes
- Place chicken individually between two pieces of plastic or in a gallon-size ziplock and use a meat mallet to flatten.
- Spread flattened chicken out on a cutting board and use a sharp knife to add scoring lines into both sides of the chicken.
- In a medium mixing bowl add all marinade ingredients and thoroughly mix.
- Place flattened and scored chicken into a gallon-size ziplock bag. Pour the marinade mix over the chicken and seal the bag, making sure to remove as much air as possible.
- Massage the marinade into the chicken, making sure it evenly coats all pieces and gets into the scoring lines. Place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, up to 48 hours.
- When ready to cook, start the grill and heat up to high heat. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator while the grill heats.
- Once the grill is heated, remove the chicken from the marinade and spread over the grill surface. Dispose of the remaining marinade.
- Cook chicken over high heat, flipping and rotating each piece every 60-90 seconds.
- Remove the chicken from the grill once it reaches 160 degrees and allow it to rest roughly 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
Cocktails to Pair with Grilled Lemon Pepper Chicken
- The Dirty Shirley – a quick and easy crowd-pleaser.
- Peach Cilantro Mojito – perfect for any summer barbeque.
- Hurricane – only for the brave who plan on sticking around for a while or getting a ride home!
Side Dishes to Pair with Grilled Lemon Pepper Chicken
- BBQ Asparagus – simple, sweet, and tangy side dish perfect for that late spring and early summer BBQ
- Spicy Smoked Veggies – they are hot, you’ve been warned!
- 5 Ingredient Smoked Carrots – the easiest BBQ side dish around!
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