Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

March 27, 2012

BBQ: Grilled chicken with a mint and yogurt sauce

Dave Lobeck

Sellersburg, Ind —

For some reason, my early season grilling trend seems to be chicken. I don't really know why. It might be my wife pulling me away from pork and red meat.

No worries readers, as this trend will not continue indefinitely. Moderation is the key, right?

This week's chicken dish is totally different from the normal chicken on the grill. The mint gives you a flavor of spring, and the yogurt marinade adds some tang while keeping the chicken moist and juicy.

In this case we will be using boneless and skinless breasts of chicken, although any cut of chicken would do well. This grilled chicken is then served with a creamy yogurt sauce and a fresh mint salad topping.

You will be grilling the chicken over direct heat. Gas or charcoal will do fine. I like to use charcoal whenever possible, but this is one of those dishes where the meat is cooked quickly, so there isn't a big
infusion of smoky flavor.

Remember, pull the chicken off the grill when it registers 160 to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Much past that and you will risk serving dry and rubbery meat, the most common fault of outdoor cooks when grilling chicken breasts.

This recipe is suitable for four boneless and skinless chicken breasts.

• 1 ½ cups of plain, whole milk yogurt
• 2 ½ Tbs olive oil
• 2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
• 2 tsp salt
• 1 ½ Tbs chili powder
• 1 tsp ground cumin
• 1 tsp ground coriander
• 1 tsp black pepper
• 1/3 tsp ground cinnamon

Mix ingredients thoroughly and rub the marinade over the chicken breasts. Let the chicken sit in the refrigerator (covered) for two hours once the marinade is applied.

• 1 ½ cups if plain, whole milk yogurt
• 1 ½ Tbs of fresh lemon juice
• 2 Tbs if chopped shallot (we sauteed them first to bring out the sweetness)
• ¼ cup fresh mint leaves (chopped)

Mint Salad
• 1 cup of fresh mint leaves (coarsely chopped)
• 2 Tbs of chopped shallot
• 1 Tbs olive oil
Remember to stay with the chicken when grilling. Chicken breasts can be temperamental, and every fire has its own personality.

Total grilling time for me on charcoal was around 20 to 25 minutes, but they were large chicken breasts. Half the time was spent with the lid to the grill on with the grates open to
promote cooking from the top and bottom of the meat. I also let the chicken rest for 15 minutes before putting it on the grill.

Oh, and something very important. Once you take the chicken out of the marinade, throw the marinade away. You do not want to mistake this for your sauce.

Once your chicken reaches the proper temperature, bring it in and let it rest for 5 minutes, allowing the juices to redistribute. Drizzle with the sauce and top with the mint salad. We served this with
asparagus and wild rice. Give it a try. It's something different, and I think you will like it.

Dave Lobeck is a barbecue chef from Sellersburg, Ind., who writes a column for CNHI News Service. Visit his website at