Mayo Magic Chicken

I have to say that when Dad mentioned that he slathered some chicken with mayonnaise and put it on the grill I was more than a bit skeptical of this recipe. He raved about it, but I was leery. The notion of heat and mayo made me nervous. I brought it up to a coworker, Shane, who said he has done it in the past and that it was a great way to seal in the juices. And then I saw the pictures and think that my cynicism was unjustified. It sounds like the mayo is pretty magical in terms of ensuring juiciness. So maybe if you don’t have time to brine, you should consider trying Mayo Magic. I’ll hand it off to Dad now to show you how…

This grilling recipe quite simply seemed nuts to me, but I had to try it. I confess I was inspired to do this after viewing Paula Dean’s son, Bobby, perform a similar recipe in the oven on one of her TV shows. I thought, “If it can be done in the oven, it can be done better on the grill.” While the ingredients below call for eight boneless, skinless chicken breasts, I actually used five breasts and four boneless skinless thighs.

Mayo Magic Chicken Breasts Ingredients:

8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 cups of mayonnaise
2 tbsp paprika
2 tsp celery salt
1 tsp ancho chile
zest of one lemon

Mayo Magic Chicken

The ingredients could easily be modified to your specific taste. I used Hungarian paprika but smoked paprika could add an interesting touch. Ancho chile (dried Poblano pepper) could be switched with Chipotle seasoning or Cayenne if you desire to kick it up a notch or two. I chose the Ancho because it is milder. The lemon could be doubled if you prefer more of a citrus flavor and lime or orange could be substituted. There’s a lot of flexibility here limited only by your own taste and creativity.

Combine everything but the chicken in a bowl and whisk together to form the wet rub:

Mayo Magic Chicken

Then slather the wet rub all over the chicken coating entirely. Get in there with your fingers and make it happen:

Mayo Magic Chicken

Mayo Magic Chicken

The mayo contains a lot of oil so I’m expecting moist chicken. We’ll see when the taste test arrives after grilling.

I prepared this about an hour prior to grilling and returned the mayo magic chicken to the icebox till the fire in the grill was ready. This is a wet rub, not a marinade so it is not necessary to marinate overnight.

I haven’t grilled with anything using mayo since chicken dipped in white BBQ sauce, and even then the white sauce didn’t go on until after the chicken was cooked. Cooking the chicken with the mayo on it is new for me.

I fired up my old Char-Broil 940 grill for this effort. I’m indirect grilling here — coals on the left and chicken on the right. Target temp is between 275-325 degrees:

Mayo Magic Chicken

Some soaked apple chips are added for the smoke flavor:

Mayo Magic Chicken

The whole pan wasn’t added, just a couple handfuls to get the smoke going.

The mayo slathered chicken is on the grill. The wet rub appears to be a gooey mess. Don’t let the appearance discourage you:

Mayo Magic Chicken

***Editor’s Note ~ Anytime you indirect chicken or turkey breasts, try to put the skinny point of the breast away from the heat with the fatter section closest to the fire for more even cooking. Looks like Dad was hit or miss on that one above. We’re not perfect. Remember, we’re just some Grillin’ Fools. The great thing about this recipe is the mayo will give you a larger margin of error in terms of not drying the meat out.***

Here’s how the mayo magic chicken looked 30 minutes in:

Mayo Magic Chicken

The foil pouch shown contains diced potatoes drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with cracked pepper and sea salt.

The thermometer indicates the temperature is a hair under 300 degrees. I’ll cut into a thick portion of one of the breasts at 45 minutes to see if juices run clear. When the juices run clear it means the meat has reached an internal temperature of at least 160-165 degrees which is your target temperature.

***Editor’s Note ~ Cut into the meat to see if it’s done? Cheater!***

I cut into the thickest portion at 45 minutes and saw clear juices so I pulled the chicken from the grill. I’ll serve dinner in 5 minutes after a rest to let the internal juices to calm down and redistribute throughout the meat. The breasts and thighs were pulled at 50 minutes and the taste test has arrived:

Mayo Magic Chicken

Here’s what the dinner looked like on the plate:

Mayo Magic Chicken

The mayo magic chicken breast and thighs were completely cooked and extremely moist — maybe the moistest boneless skinless chicken I have ever done. Remember, the chicken was not brined but the mayo did something magical to it to make it seem that way with how juicy the chicken was. I guess that’s why they call it mayo magic chicken.

The chicken was never moved or turned during the entire grilling process. I believe the oil in the mayo really preserved and protected the moisture in the chicken. The combination of the spices and lemon zest were mild and offered a delightful hint of flavor that I thoroughly enjoyed. In the future I’ll try this with lime and oranges zest for the sake of variety. I might kick up the ancho chile also for a bit more spice. The mayo magic chicken breasts were tastier to me than the thighs but the hint of citrus was very refreshing on a very hot summer evening.

Leftovers??? A couple of days later I thin-sliced some leftover breasts and created a sandwich with mayo (of course) and homegrown tomatoes. The chicken was still extremely moist and made a really tasty sandwich. Would I try this again? Absolutely—it’s magic!

If you have any questions about the mayo magic chicken, feel free to leave a comment below or shoot me an email.

If you are interested in other poultry recipes done on the grill, click here.

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4.7 from 3 reviews
Mayo Magic Chicken Breasts
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: BBQ
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Boneless skinless chicken breasts slathered in a mayo and grilled indirect
Ingredients
  • 2 cups of mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp paprika
  • 2 tsp celery salt
  • 1 tsp ancho chile
  • zest of one lemon
  • 8 boneless, skinless breasts
Instructions
  1. Combine everything but the chicken in a bowl and whisk together to form the wet rub
  2. Then slather the wet rub all over the boneless skinless chicken breasts, coating entirely
  3. Fire up the grill for indirect/two zone grilling: coals and smoke wood on one side and nothing on the other
  4. Target temp is between 275-325 degrees
  5. Place the chicken on the side with no heat with the thick side of the chicken breasts closest to the fire and the points away from the heat.
  6. Close the lid
  7. Smoke until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees (about 50 minutes)
  8. Remove from the heat, allow to rest for three minutes to let the juices cam down and redistribute throughout the meat, and serve
 

20 comments

I have grilled salmon slathered with mayo, that is great also. That chicken looks killer!

Reply

Did this one last night, didn’t tell anyone the slathering ingredients and no one could figure it out. They couldn’t believe it when I told them. I couldn’t get my grill hot enough for some reason but i cooked them at 275 for 2 1/2 hours and the result was awesome. Had them with some french fry cut potatoes i cooked on the grill at the same time in a foil pan and the smokieness that got into them was great. Also grilled some fresh asparagus along side to top off the meal. Tanks for the great recipies. Lowe’s had a buy 1 get 1 free deal this weekend with a 2 per trip limit so after 3 trips i am set to try a bunch more of your recipies.

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This is also really good on pork chops. Maybe better than the chicken

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did the mayo turn out a little gooey or did it crisp up a little?

Reply

GrillinTegg,

It doesn’t get crispy, but it does get gooey. That is what’s left. The vast majority melts away during the cooking process. Basically, it’s basting the meat the entire time as the fat in the mayo melts from the heat…

…….Scott

I cooked this for my family for the first time and it was awesome!! then I got a job at a camp and cooked for 250 and it was pretty easy to just whip up the mayo an throw it on the grill!! everyone raved about it!! thanks alot for the recipie!!!!!

Reply

Glad to hear it came out great!!

Hi Scott, very simple and quick simple to make, chicken was tender and tasty!

Thanks,
Jeffg

Reply

Jeff,

Glad you enjoyed it…

…….Scott

I see you are using smoking chips. This leads me to believe all cooking times are for lid closed grilling? Or are they for lid open grilling?

Reply

Mark,

Yes, the lid is closed for nearly the entire cook…

…….Scott

Can I use Miricale Whip or do I have to use mayo?

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Margene,

I don’t see why not. It’s still just oil and eggs that bastes the meat as it melts away…

…….Scott

I just found your site today in my search for a recipe for chicken breasts. Made this for dinner tonight and everyone loved it.

Next up is the El Polo Loco! That sounds awfully good. 🙂

Thanks.

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Had a duh moment when I saw this with chicken pieces! I use olive oil mayonnaise on my smoked turkey every Thanksgiving. Turns out just like you say. Very juicy still days later should there be any leftovers. Great skin too! I will definitely do this on my pieces next time around

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Exactly! And a HUGE fan of the olive oil mayo!

Hey Scott- what do you recommend on a gas grill as far as timing is concerned?

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Stephen,

Depends on how low the gas grill can go. You want to turn on the burner on one side and place the chicken on the other side and keep it low as possible. Most gas grills have a hard time going below 400. The most important thing, take them to 165. Rely on an instant read thermometer more than the clock. I use a Thermapen.

These chicken breast were amazing. Tender and tasty. So easy to cook. Out then on the grill and forget them!

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Great tasting chicken, thanks for the recipe. Smoked the chicken on my Grill Dome. Glad I saw your comment about the thighs, they were great as were the breasts, awesome!!

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