Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Grilled Barbecued Chicken Kebabs

Ryan works with this Filipino couple who make the most amazing bbq grilled chicken ever. The first time I had it I was filled with insane jealousy that my chicken never turns out half as good. Because lets be honest, we've all had chicken kababs that just don't make the cut. Too bland or too burnt, I like my chicken to be smoky, sweet with a little zing, flavorful, just a tad burnt, and super tender, but my attempts at finding this perfect balance has always ended in utter failure. I am happy to report that this is no longer the case. And I owe it all to one incredible ingredient: bacon paste.


I know the bacon paste seems really weird, but it's amazing. It adds a depth of flavor that a lot of grilled chicken is missing. I also recommend using chicken thighs which have more flavor and become incredibly tender. Seriously, this is the chicken kebab recipe to rule all chicken kebab recipes.

ETA: I've made this recipe with both chicken thighs and chicken breasts now and I can say the thighs are much better. The breasts were good, but they didn't have the same flavor.

I heard the sauce is really good, but I got to admit I just used my favorite bottled bbq sauce. Mostly cause I'm lazy, but since you don't really need a dipping sauce it seemed like an unnecessary effort. I also didn't have any smoked paprika so I just omitted it and used smoked salt in place of the kosher salt. In combination with the bacon the kebabs had a lovely smokiness. I found it easiest to put the chicken and salt in a large zip-lock bag and then just add the spices and bacon paste directly to the mix. I worked the bacon paste into the chicken the best I could, but when I put the chicken on the skewers most of the paste was left in the bottom of the bag. At that point I just smeared the leftover on top of the chicken.

Would I make this again? I may never make use another bbq chicken recipe again.

Grilled Barbecued Chicken Kebabs



1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup molasses or honey
2 Tbs grated onion (grated on the large wholes of a box grater)
2 Tbs Worcestershire Sauce
2 Tbs Dijon mustard
2 Tbs cider vinegar
1 Tbs brown sugar
hot sauce, to taste


2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tsp kosher salt
2 Tbs sweet paprika
4 tsp sugar
2 tsp smoked paprika
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
2 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces


1. For the sauce, bring all the ingredients to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens and reaches a ketchup-like consistency and is reduced to about 1 cup, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat. Transfer 1/2 cup of the sauce to a small bowl and set aside to serve with the cooked chicken.

2. For the kebabs, toss the chicken with the salt in a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes, or up to 1 hour.

3. For a gas grill, turn all the burners to high, close the lid, and heat 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Combine the paprikas, sugar, and cayenne in a small bowl.

4. Process the bacon in a food processor until a smooth paste forms, 30-45 seconds, scraping down the bowl twice during processing. Add the bacon paste and the spice mixture to the chicken and toss to coat using your hands or a rubber spatula. Thread the meat onto skewers, rolling or foldin meat as necessary to maintain 1-inch cubes.

5. Scrape the cooking grate clean with a grill brush. Leave the primary burner on high and turn off the other burners. Place the kebabs over the hot burner and grill, covered, turning one-quarter of a turn every 2 minutes or so, until well browned and slightly charred, 8 to 10 minutes.

6. Brush the top surface of the kebabs with 1/4 cup sauce; flip and cook until the sauce is browned in spots, about 1-2 minutes. Flip again and brush with remaining 1/4 cup sauce; continue to cook until browned in spots and cooked through, about 1-2 minutes.

Remove from grill and allow to rest 5 minutes. Serve, passing barbecue sauce separately.


Source: Cook's Illustrated


  1. Your recipes always look delicious. Do you plan menus for the week/month?

  2. Thank you! I usually plan them by the week. That way I can try to incorporate at least two recipes I plan on sharing. Sometimes I go a bit overboard though and it's more like a week and a half since I buy way to much food. lol It's hard cause there are only three of us so I try to consider making recipes that use similar ingredients so we don't waste a lot (celery is a good example). Of course planning for more than four must be much more difficult!

    I saw you started couponing. I've been meaning to start forever, but I keep putting it off. I need to get on that. We spend a lot on food.