The Best Grilled Chicken Marinade Has Just Two Ingredients

Photo: Shaiith, Shutterstock
Photo: Shaiith, Shutterstock

As much as I love a less-than-mainstream cut of meat, I cannot deny myself the simple pleasure of grilled chicken thighs, particularly if those thighs have been marinated in yogurt and garlic salt — a most perfect poultry marinade.

“Yogurt and garlic salt” does not sound especially sexy, but I assure you that chicken smeared with these two ingredients — and only these two ingredients — comes out tasting downright seductive. As we know from several other poultry recipes, the acid in the dairy tenderizes, the protein promotes browning, and the fat keeps things moist. Why the garlic salt? It tastes very good. It’s easy to use. It’s cheap. It imparts garlic and salt, two of the best flavours; sometimes parsley is involved. There is no downside to using garlic salt.

Ratio-wise, you want to add enough garlic salt so when you taste the yogurt (before smearing it on the chicken) you go “Hmm. This is a little too garlicky and salty.” I use at least one tablespoon of garlic salt per cup of yogurt, but you may want to use a little more or a little less depending on which brand of garlic salt you’re using. (Some are more salty; some are more garlicky.) I like using a thick yogurt — like full-fat Greek yogurt or a labneh — because they are nice and rich and can be wiped off the chicken with ease just before grilling.

To take advantage of the magical combination of yogurt and garlic salt, simply combine the two ingredients using a rough ratio of 1 tablespoon of garlic salt for every cup of yogurt (which is enough for about a pound of chicken), give it a little taste, and add more garlic salt as needed until it tastes “just a little too salty.”

Smear it all over whatever chicken you intend to grill (I like thighs), put the chicken in a bag, and leave the bag in the fridge overnight, or up to 24 hours. When it comes time to grill, simply wipe the excess off with a paper towel, and cook over hot coals or gas-fuelled flames as usual.

This chicken is very good hot off the grill, but it’s also terrific cold, so don’t be afraid of making “too much.”

Log in to comment on this story!