Grill Marks

This barbecue recipe was inspired by what we could find in the grocery store in Santa Claus, Indiana. The Foodway there is not the biggest of stores so we had to sort of let what they had dictate what we would cook while on a mini vacation, taking the kids to Holiday World. If you’ve never been, it’s fantastic for little kids like my 2 and 4 year old boys. In the mean time, try  this simple recipe I called Greek Stuffed Chicken Breasts.

Ingredients:

6 chicken breasts, bone in
1 quart apple juice
1/4 cup salt
2 tbsp garlic, minced
4 slices of bacon, crumbled and fat reserved
2 tbsp red onion, finely diced
2 tsp garlic, minced (I didn’t double mention, this is used in the stuffing, above is for the brine)
3 oz fresh spinach
5 oz feta cheese crumb
1/2 roma tomato, diced
20 turns of fresh black pepper

Instructions:

Combine the top four ingredients in a plastic bag, making sure that all the salt is dissolved (or in our case, two plastic bags) and refrigerate overnight:

Brining Chickens

Why brine? Brining does three things – First, it makes meat juicier as liquid from the salt solution goes into the meat. Second, it starts breaking down connective tissues and thus makes meat more tender. And finally, by using apple juice and garlic, that liquid that goes into the meat adds flavor. So to sum up, it makes food more juicy, tender and flavorful. For those who resist brining, there really is no argument against it. I brine everything but beef and fish.

Take the breasts out of the brine, rinse them under cold water and pat them dry with a paper towel.

Now on to the rest of the ingredients:

The Ingredients

First, fry four slices of bacon:

Frying up in the Pan
Mmmmm, Bacon

Set the bacon aside to cool and put in the onion and garlic into that glorious bacon fat:

Sizzle

After the onion and garlic sweat out their amazing oils, pull them out of the fat and set aside and add the spinach to the remaining fat:

Raw Spinach in the Frying Pan

It takes not time for the spinach to wilt down to this:

Bacon Fried Spinach

Now set that aside and dice the tomato:

Spinach and Tomatoes Together. Seems a little Christmasy! We were in Santa Claus Indiana! When in Rome…

I did not use the whole tomato shown above. Only about half. And I diced it up, not leaving it in slices like that. Here are all the filling ingredients together:

Bacon, cheese, spinach and tomato ready to be mixed together

Mix it all together in a mixing bowl to form the stuffing and then cut pouches in the chicken breasts. Start with the side nearest the breast bone or the straight side:

Start Here

And cut a slit about an inch and a half deep and wide, depending on the size of the breasts with big breasts allowing for a wider, deeper cut:

Make the Incision

Here is a small pouch:

The Pouch

That pouch won’t hold much stuffing, so let’s expand the pouch, but not expand the hole but running the tip of the blade up into the breast without widening the slit on the side:

Expanding the Pouch, but not the Slit

Do that on both sides of all six breasts and then stuff with the Greek filling:

Making Greek Stuffed Chicken Breasts

The spoon will only get you so far. You have to get your fingers in there to really fill the pouch:

Get your fingers in there

This is a messy job:

Getting Messy

After filling six breasts, there was this much left over which can be frozen and used later:

The Leftover Stuffing

All six are stuffed:

Greek Stuffed Chicken Breasts Ready for the Grill

If you are wondering about the plates, yes those are Christmas plates. That’s what they had in the condo we rented in Santa Claus Indiana. It didn’t stop there. This was over the sink:

Merry Christmas

Here’s what we had for towels and pot holders:

Ho, Ho, Ho!

And here was my wine glass:

Let it snow, Let it snow, Let it snow!

And here I am with my glass, wearing the shirt that sort of inspired this dish as it is somewhat similar to the Chicken Serenbe I did a few weeks ago:

Oh, the Weather outside if Frightful….

Back to the barbecue recipe…

Now we have to deal with keeping the stuffing inside the chicken as you can see, it’s pretty easy for this stuff to start coming out once it gets hot and starts expanding:

Cheese bulging from the breasts

To resolve this, take some skewers and soak them in water for about 30 minutes and then break them in half and use it to keep the slit closed:

Pierce the side of the slit

Pinch the slit together and run the skewer through both sides:

Going through both sides
Squeeze it tight

Now prepare the grill for two zone grilling, with coals on one side and nothing on the other. Here we have a little Char-Broil 500X which is our travel grill. Here it is with the rain that was blowing in from outside screened in porch steaming off:

Steaming 500X

Here’s a shot to show the size of he grill as well as the storm raging beyond. We bring along a portable table with a board in between to keep it from burning the table:

Char-Broil 500X

That little grill is solidly built and works wonderfully for a travel or tailgating grill.

I put the Greek stuffed chicken breasts, skin side down, right over the coals to get a good sear:

On the Grill

I didn’t have enough room to sear them all at once, so I seared three first until I got some nice grill marks:

Grill Marks

Another gratuitous grill mark shot:

More Grill Marks

After all six were seared, I put the Greek stuffed chicken breasts off to the side and dropped in a chunk of peach wood:

Ready to Smoke

Smoking:

Love me some Smoke!

After an hour in the smoke around 275 degrees inside the grill, we were told everyone was hungry but the chicken was nice and brown but still not done:

Browning Nicely

So over on top of the heat, bone side down to accelerate the process:

Back Over the Coals

Be careful when back over the coals. Don’t walk away as there can be flare ups:

Flare, baby flare!

I don’t know exactly how long we cooked them over the coals and this will vary from grill to grill, so all I can tell you is to make use of the instant read thermometer and when the chicken gets to 155, pull it from the grill. It will continue to cook while resting to the desired 160. Here it is resting:

Resting

And here are the Greek stuffed chicken breasts ready to be plated on those oh, so festive plates:

Ready to Serve

But what does it look like on the inside?

Sliced

This barbecue recipe was a wonderful combination of the juicy chicken, gooey cheese, salty bacon, succulent tomato and of course bacon. So much so that I ate two of those huge breasts. Christmas can come in July!

If you have any questions, feel free to leave them below or shoot me an email.

If you would like other barbecue recipes with chicken, click here.

Also, you can follow the Grillin Fools on their Facebook page where you can post your own barbecue pictures, share your barbecue recipes, or join the general barbecue conversation.  You can also follow them on Twitter @GrillinFool

Scott Thomas

Scott Thomas

Scott Thomas, the Original Grillin’ Fool, was sent off to college with a suitcase and a grill where he overcooked, undercooked and burned every piece of meat he could find. After thousands of failures, and quite a few successes, nearly two decades later he started a website to show step by step, picture by picture, foolproof instructions on how to make great things out of doors so that others don’t have to repeat the mistakes he’s made on the grill.
Scott Thomas

@GrillinFool

https://t.co/lVWgniik3V - #GrillPorn abounds here. All meat, all the time!
Brisket, ribs and turkey from @saltlickbbq down at @qintheloustl in downtown St. Louis at … https://t.co/5XLLnAP4HY https://t.co/UseA0E6LIm - 10 mins ago
Scott Thomas

Latest posts by Scott Thomas (see all)

4 comments

Great Photography!

Reply

Merry Christmas!!!!!

Love that little grill, great grill for traveling. It seems more useful than my Smoky Joe.

I like that recipe, sounds like a great mix for the stuffing.

Reply

We’ve tried this recipe and really like it. We have also started putting our own twist to it. I’ve always liked bone-in/skin-on chicken breasts because they stay more moist, but they can be more cumbersome to eat.

We have started using boneless/skinless chicken breasts. To help with keeping them from getting dried out, we wrap them with 3-4 slices of bacon. Bacon on the inside and outside – you can’t beat it. Also, to add a little more flavor to the filling, we have added fresh basil and thyme. Smoked with a chunk of apple wood, they are fantastic. We’re going to make these tomorrow night for friends that are coming over for dinner.

Reply

That sounds FANTASTIC!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *