Chicken is easily the most searched for ingredient on New York Times Cooking, and it stands to reason: It’s economical, it’s widely available, it’s better for the climate than other meats. And it’s endlessly adaptable, a blank canvas for all sorts of preparations and vibrant, delicious seasonings. In the cold weather months, that means cozy soups, braises and burnished roasts. But in the summer, grilling becomes the method of choice, as it gets you out of a hot kitchen, and adds a layer of fire-kissed flavor and texture to the otherwise mild-mannered meat. You can always salt the dickens out of chicken, grill it well and get tasty results, but if you’re looking for something a bit more exciting, here are 13 of our favorite grilled chicken recipes that will keep you busy and full through September.
J. Kenji López-Alt has a clever trick for keeping grilled chicken breasts tender: He slathers them with mayonnaise, then lets them marinate up to 24 hours before grilling. In this recipe, Kenji mixes the mayo with a little chimichurri, but you can flavor it with almost anything. Pesto, salsa verde, bottled barbecue sauce, jarred Thai curry paste, teriyaki sauce or mole work equally well.
This salty-spicy-sweet recipe from Sam Sifton is a reader and staff favorite. Boneless chicken thighs rest in a combination of sesame oil, soy sauce, hoisin sauce and black pepper. Then, while grilled, they’re basted with a mixture of soy, ginger and brown sugar, creating a shiny, impossibly delicious lacquer.