We grilled it outdoors as the recipe called for and everyone from the matriarch of the family to the grandchildren proclaimed it the best tasting grilled chicken ever. Then they quickly added that it was almost on par with Margaret’s barbecue sauce.
Apple Vinegar Marinade For Grilled Chicken
Inspired by a post on the Eating On A Budget website, I thought the marinade would be a nice change for the grilled chicken dinner planned on the Memorial Day holiday.
Another plus about this marinade for grilled chicken is that it works just as well if you cook chicken pieces in a very hot oven (425 degrees) for about 1 hour.
My apple cider vinegar marinade is a variation on the theme. The basic ingredients are there but if you know me, I just have to put my spin on any recipe.
Not because the original version lacks a certain “je ne sais quoi” but just to add a hint of our favorite flavors.
The cider vinegar is the main ingredient in this recipe so regardless of various tweaks, the tangy flavor of the vinegar comes through loud and clear on the taste buds.
Apple Cider Vinegar Chicken Marinade
Don’t limit yourself to chicken pieces. Tastes great on fish, meats and veggies.
For those of us who don’t even want to gather the few ingredients…
Even if you are not on a salt free or restricted diet, the amount of salt called for was enough to make me cringe.
Those are quantities used for brining and, in effect, the apple cider vinegar bath is a brine. by any other name.
I reduced the salt content by 1 full tablespoon. The meat was still well seasoned.
Vinegar Is A Meat Tenderizer
The vinegar will soften the meat fibers (you could use this marinade on pork with great sucess) but think of it this way – salt is also a meat tenderizer!
Say goodbye to tomato based BBQ sauces and switch to tangy marinade!
While it draws out the liquid in meats, it also change the texture of the meat. So don’t forget to baste often while you grill those chicken pieces.
The Longer You Marinate The More Intense The Flavor
The first time I made the recipe to grill outdoors, the chicken was marinated for about 6 hours.
This last batch of bone-in chicken thigh pieces shown in the featured image (and “grilled” in the oven) spent just over 24 hours in the vinegar bath.
The quantities called for in the recipe may seem like an insufficient amount of liquid in relation to the amount of meat but it is not the volume of liquid that counts here – its the combination of ingredients!
Three cups of the apple cider vinegar marinade will easily marinate and basteseveral chicken halves and is more than enough to marinate two family size packs ( 20 pieces) of chicken thighs.
Don’t Have The Time To Marinate?
Years ago, I purchased a Food Saver® vaccuum sealing system. The DH was sure that we could save money by buying bulk portions of meat, dividing them into individual meals, and freezing them for later use.
There were a few problems with that particular mindset. Yes, you save money buying in bulk. But…
One of those problems was the fact that ground beef does not make a filet mignon. He did not like the texture of previously frozen meats and became tired of eating the same type of meat for more than one meal.
So, the primary purpose for the purchase changed from freezer prep to simply adding a vacum sealed layer of protection to those few pieces of meat we did freeze.
It also became my favorite way to marinate meat! Create a food saver style bag, pour in the marinate, add the meat and seal. BAM!
Place your chicken pieces in the zip top plastic bags. Pour the marinade over the meat. Refrigerate immediately.
Grill the chicken over indirect flame on the grill or be prepared to handle an inferno when the marinade drips onto the coals. Even on a gas grill, the flames will flare up to majestic proportions on a low setting.
Marinate the chicken pieces overnight if you like. I normally marinate them early in the morning for dinner that day. A minimum of 6 to 8 hours in the marinade in the fridge is about right.
The marinade is strong enough to season approximately 4 pounds of chicken thighs or two whole chickens. Double the batch of marinade is you are feeding a crowd. We love dark meat and I often add thighs to make sure everyone has their share of the dark meat.
To prepare in the oven, pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees. It takes about 45 minutes to an hour for large thighs to cook through. I used a large foil pan and placed the chicken pieces on a broiler rack.
My taste buds did not distinguish between the oven roasted and the gas grill version. Charcoal grilling would impart another layer of smoky goodness.