Thursday, June 30, 2016

Debs' 4th of July Picnic Chicken

DEBORAH CROMBIE: Wait, I hear you saying. REDS never post recipes on Thursday. But I am breaking the mold today because this is so good that I thought I'd give you a chance to put together the ingredients if you were tempted to try it for the upcoming big weekend.

My cooking is very slapdash these days. As in, hmm, what's in the fridge that needs to be used up...and what will be easy to make, easy to clean up, and won't heat up the kitchen in the process.

So, Monday night, a package of chicken thighs (the last one in the big supermarket on Saturday.) It's HOT. Why not grill? Root around in fridge and pantry. And this is what I came up with:


(Note: all the ingredient amounts are estimates, because I was experimenting and didn't pay that much attention.)

6 bone-in, skin-on (very important!) chicken thighs
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
Juice of 1 lemon
3 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbs brown sugar (I used Succanat, which is a little more molasses-y)
A half dozen shakes of Jack's Bloody Mary Spice (a friend sells this blend, from her father's recipe--we use on everything! I'm sure you can find an equivalent.)
1 Tbs sumac
1 Tbs Ras El Hanout
(Note: The sumac and Ras El Hanout are from Trader Joe's, but I'm sure you can find the equivalent other places. If you want to make the Ras El Hanout from scratch, it contains: coriander, cayenne, cinnamon, cumin, spearmint, chili, ginger, all spice, long pepper, black peppercorns, cardamon pods, cloves, mace, and rose petals.)
Fresh ground salt and pepper

Mix all the ingredients except the chicken in a bowl, whisk with fork until well blended. Pour on chicken and coat all the chicken pieces well. Let marinate for two hours at room temp, or a day in the fridge. 

(Note: You want to make certain the chicken has come up to room temperature before grilling, otherwise it may not get done all the way to the bone.)

Put chicken pieces on very hot grill, skin side down. Sear, then turn heat down to medium. Cook approximately five minutes each side. 

(Note: This is a very rough estimate of the time it took on my grill until the chicken felt done.)

If using for picnic, let cool, then refrigerate until the next day.

This was delicious hot, but it was the best cold chicken I've ever eaten!

For a picnic, you might serve with mint iced-tea, cold rice pilaf, and a cucumber, parsley, radish, olive oil, and lemon juice salad, to keep up the middle-eastern theme. 

Or just eat straight out of the fridge, which is what I did with the leftovers...

Bon appetit!


  1. Wow . . . this sounds so yummy. Thanks for sharing your recipe!

  2. Sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Deb, that is making my mouth water. Definitely will try this sometime this summer. I've never used sumac, so it will be off to Weggie's or TJs first.

    We always go to a family picnic on the 4th, up on the big lake (Ontario). This has been going on for 50-60 years now, and the menu is set in stone. Burgers and dogs, beans a potato salad, chips and dips, tons of desserts, and home made strawberry ice cream.

    The lake is ringed with houses belonging to people whose last names end in a vowel. Ergo, an illegal firework display that rivals the spectacle put on in surrounding cities, ending with huge bonfires on the beach in front of said houses.. So far no one has been arrested, and nothing has burned down, but you never know.

    The nicest thing about upstate NY is the summer weather, usually cool enough during the day and jacket weather after dark.

    BTW, today my appliances arrive. I am ecstatic!

  4. Oh interesting! A combination of ingredients like that would never have occurred to me. You could make a yogurty sauce, too, right?

    I am still thinking about what to serve for Fourth of July… We always have grilled out hamburgers, so we shall see!

    Ann! So cool! What appliances? ( I am always bemused when we are ecstatic over appliances, I was, certainly, but we got our new cooktop and dishwasher. And I think… Has it come to this? )

  5. This sounds so good. And I happen to have the Greek yogurt, and the sumac! And I've been trying to think what to do with it.

    We're having an impromptu cookout on Sunday, that has come together so organically. I think I'll try this out then, since my daughter will be there to help. She'll love this.

  6. Karen, the sumac has a lemony taste. So interesting. I looked for it when I got Yotam Ottolenghi's Jerusalem cookbook.

    Hank, I thought you could keep some of the marinade for dipping sauce, except that the chicken was so tender and flavorful that it was fine without.

    My favorite restaurant in London is Lebanese. Kazan, in Pimlico, so I love anything middle-Eastern.

  7. Oh, this sounds like a good one. And I'm always looking for something different to do with chicken.

    We're having a get together with the neighbors this 4th. They have requested I make ribs, so I guess I'd better make sure I have a couple racks of ribs and all the ingredients for the sauce.

  8. Deb, my oldest daughter and her family used to go to this amazing Mediterranean fusion restaurant all the time. Their signature salad dressing used sumac, and it was delicious. But I have a ton of the stuff, and it needs to be used up before it goes to dust. I'm thankful to have another way to use it!

    If it's featured in a Jerusalem cookbook, that jibes with the Mediterranean influence. So interesting. And sumac is a native plant here in the US, oddly enough. Mine came from the next county over, from a vendor at the farmers market.

  9. Karen, I wonder if there's a difference in the taste of American sumac and Middle Eastern sumac? Sumac grows wild here in north Texas, but I've never heard of it being used as a spice or flavoring.

  10. Oddly enough, the very next website I clicked to has something about sumac. This is a local food writer's column today:

    I suspect it's the same thing, Deb.

  11. YUM! I always enjoy new recipes and this sounds delish - Thanks, Debs!

  12. Sounds yummy and perfect for the 4th. Thanks, Deb!

  13. Thanks for this wonderful recipe - chicken on the grill is so great, both hot and cold the next day. Love the whole Middle Eastern theme in general, so this will go on my summer weekend list.

    But Fourth of July weekend in Maine means salmon and peas. The forecast is for lovely weather, so I won't poach the salmon, I'll grill it. I have one of those swell smoker boxes to use in my gas grill so the fish will be perfumed by applewood smoke. Add to that fresh-from-the-garden peas with mint and potato salad with local new potatoes. Finally, strawberries for dessert, because it's wildly, wonderfully strawberry season here.

    Enjoy the holiday!

  14. Brenda, I want your 4th menu:-)

    And I don't know about the smoker boxes for the gas grill. Will have to look up.

  15. I love to see what can be created from this and that in the kitchen/frig/freezer. It is usually a very pleasant surprise.

  16. Hi Everyone - early wishes for a Happy 4th of July and weekend.

    Debs, that looks and sounds really good !!!! Thanks for sharing

    Brenda, fresh peas and taters YUM Love salmon, can't do smoked, but never thought to
    have salmon on the grill for picnic - will have to get some now and try it

    I've never heard of using sumac in cooking, so, of course I had to look it up ;)

    Interesting Tidbit: Did you know that years ago sumac was crushed, put in cloth sacs and used around marble pieces when shipping........Problem was not immediate, but once the marble got damp or wet, the sumac powder turned the marble purple wherever the sumac touched it. As with most stains on marble, it went very deep. For purple lovers like me, I'd like that in my bathroom - have marble counter and lilac walls, some small purple veins in marble would look really nice

    No picnic plans for the 4th here, a working w/e this year.

    Love Picnics, grew up picnic-ing and do miss it, miss the amount of people we use to get together with for picnic

    Now, picnics are at home and just D, me and Annabelle, sometimes few friends if they haven't gone away.`

    Some of my "picnic foods.... Deviled eggs, macaroni salad, potato salad, coleslaw, baked beans, jello with some kind of fruit in it, Hamburgers, beef hot dogs, chicken, chocolate cake with one of the following frostings, cool whip, cream cheese frosting, butter cream frosting or marshmallow frosting. Much depends on if a fridge or cooler is gonna be available for the cake, cool whip & cream cheese frosting needs to be in fridge

    growing up in upstate NY, we went on picnics every saturday, unless we went to friends or friends over for picnics.....
    Lake George park opened at 7am in summer and we were at the ranger booth waiting, which meant leaving 5:30 am (no Northway back then) One Saturday in all the years we went, the ranger said "Mr. Jacob", someone beat you today....LOL, never happened again, we started leaving 10 minutes earlier, my Daddy was not a competitive person at all, so that cracked me up........always lots of us, 3 to 6 families met every Sat there.

    We ate Bfast (eggs, bacon, sausage,pancakes), Lunch was the "picnic food" and Dinner would vary from leftover lunch to Spaghetti,casseroles, lasagna (pre-cooked and heated on the grill) everything cooked on charcoal grills. Great times........

    Once Saratoga state park pools/picnic grounds opened in the early '60's, we would go there occasionally. Depending on site we choose at both parks, we'd have badminton, jarts, softball, potato sack races, bocce ball

    Do families still picnic a lot these days ? We don't there is just DH and I and he is not a "picnic" person unless its next to a lake and his fishing boat in in the water. My sister never did picnics with her kids unless Daddy would talk her into it, always felt sad for my nieces, that they didn't have that type of fun

    gosh - I don't post for weeks, then write a short story ;)

    Happy 4th everyone

  17. Mar, I love your "short story," LOL. It sounds like you had an idyllic childhood.

    We don't picnic much here in the summer. It's just too flaming hot. So cook on the grill, then eat inside. (Our electric company just included that in a list of suggestions for lowering your bill...)

    My idyllic childhood weekends and July 4ths were spent at the country club. While my parents played golf, I spent all day in the pool. Burgers from the poolside grill at lunch. Dinners maybe in the club dining room. On the 4th, there was a big outside buffet, then fireworks across the lake. Heaven.

  18. We're going to have supper delivered. Chinese probably. My stepmother, who was ethnic Chinese from the Philippines, tried to teach me her recipes. Nothing took except my love of Chinese food was enhanced and expanded.

  19. Oj, this all sounds fabulous! Yum. xoxo See you tomorrow! xoxo And I am off to the grocery in the AM. Kids and grandkids descending!