Add Yogurt for the Most Delicious Grilled Chicken

Add Yogurt for the Most Delicious Grilled Chicken

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by Candy Fimolla
Published: June 14, 2021 (1 week ago)

A staple of South and Central Asian cuisine, yogurt soaks provide protein to warm the body.

Of all the things to get you excited when grilling season kicks off — crispy pork rump, herb-dried lamb leg, all the peppers and eggplants and burger galore — the humble chicken thigh falls to the bottom of the list.

Not that chicken thighs are inherently less tasty than burgers and lamb. It’s just that, as a daily staple you might whip up on any given Tuesday, it might not be the first thing you want to throw on the grill.

This yogurt-marinated chicken aims to change all that.

With a very strong marinade with za’atar, garlic and lemon zest, these chicken thighs are incredibly savory, even when marinated for just a few hours. And if you accidentally overcook them—a risk even the most seasoned of roasters face—the yogurts ensure they’ll stay juicy and savory on the inside, and bronze-line and shimmer on the surface.

A common condiment ingredient in South and Central Asia, yogurt has a centuries-old history of being used to tenderize meats destined for dangerously high heat, such as chicken tikka cooked in tandoor or lamb kebabs grilled over a charcoal grill.

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Aided with a pinch of salt, yogurt helps the meat retain its moisture in the face of a raging fire, and adds a creamy flavor that you can easily enjoy with any aromatics you have. The combination of alliums (garlic, shallots, shallots) with As long as you make sure to use enough salt—between and teaspoons of salt per pound of chicken bones—you really can’t go wrong.

Another benefit of yogurt, according to Nik Sharma, a cookbook author, food scientist and New York Times Cooking contributor, is that it contains lactic acid, which is milder than the vinegar and lemon juice found in other condiments. This gives you a longer window of marinating time, allowing you to marinate the meat for up to 24 hours without making it mushy, he writes.

All of this means you can mix it all together in the morning (or the day before) and then bake it when you’re good and hungry. Or if grilling isn’t on the cards, you can even throw the chicken under your broiler . Versatile and adaptable, these chicken thighs will cook to a beautiful texture and seasoned to perfection — no matter how you apply the heat.