Grilled Firecracker Chicken
Today I have a recipe for Grilled Firecracker Chicken that you’re gonna to love. It’s a simple recipe with tons of flavor and it only takes a few ingredients that are already in your pantry; I call this one Firecracker Chicken!
For this Firecracker Chicken recipe I use a whole chicken cut into 8 pieces (wings, breast, legs, & thighs). Most supermarkets have these prepackaged, but you can start with the whole bird and cut it up yourself. I prefer to have both white and dark meat for serving, but’s it’s ok to use just the pieces you like as well.
First the Firecracker Chicken goes into a marinade, and for this, I use a big bottle of Frank’s Red Hot Sauce. Franks is a milder hot sauce but it has a garlic flavor that I really like.
You’ll need about 2 cups to cover the chicken and a little more for making the Firecracker Chicken sauce at the end, so reserve at least a ½ cup for later.
Place the chicken in a large ziplock bag and pour the hot sauce over it. Move the pieces around so each piece is covered in the marinade and get the bag into the refrigerator for an overnight rest. It’s also a good idea to place the bag into a larger container just in case it leaks.
The next day remove the chicken pieces from the marinade and let the excess drip back into the bag. Place the chicken on a large platter and season the outside of each piece with Salt, plenty of course ground black pepper, and a little ground cayenne pepper. Be careful with the cayenne because it brings the heat!
Now that the Firecracker Chicken is seasoned it’s ready for the grill. For this cook you want to set your grill up for indirect cooking.
I used my Big Green Egg with the deflector plate in place but you can do this on any grill just keep the heat on one side and cook on the opposite. The grill temperature needs to be in the 275-300 range.
You also want to use a little wood for added smoke flavor. For me it’s a couple chunks of pecan or your favorite wood will do the trick.Once the grill is holding steady at 275 arrange the chicken pieces skin-side up on the cooking grate and close the lid.
This cook takes about 2 hours, but the important thing here is to make sure the Firecracker Chicken is done. For the white meat that means 165 internal and the dark meat needs to hit 175. Larger pieces like the breast will take longer to cook, so don’t go by time alone when you’re cooking chicken. It’s always best to have a meat thermometer handy.
For the first hour the Firecracker Chicken grills skin-side up. After an hour flip the chicken pieces over so the fat underneath the skin has a chance to render. It will also firm the skin so you get bite-through texture.
After 30 minutes of skin-side down cooking, flip the pieces back over. You’ll notice that the color is really looking good and some of the smaller pieces may even be done.
The breast and thighs still need more time, so it’s ok to remove the wings and legs if they temp out. Use your meat thermometer to verify proper doneness. Just place the smaller pieces in a pan and cover with aluminum foil until the big pieces are ready.
The breasts have to hit 165 internal and the thighs need to reach 175. You should see clear juice running out of the holes where you placed the thermometer. This is an indicator that the Firecracker Chicken is fully cooked. Now it’s time to set a quick glaze.
Firecracker Chicken Sauce:
– ½ cup Brown Sugar
– ½ cup Frank’s Hot Sauce
– 1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
– 1 teaspoon Salt
– 1 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
Combine these ingredients in a small bowl and stir until the sugar is melted.
At this point return the smaller pieces to the grill skin-side up. Brush the glaze on the skin and flip each piece over. Glaze the bottom side and close the lid for 2-3 minutes.
Flip the Firecracker Chicken over and set the glaze on the bottom side for an additional 2-3 minutes. Remove the chicken from the grill and serve. It’s that easy!
The Firecracker Chicken Glaze really makes this chicken pop and the heat level is just right.
You can tone back the cayenne pepper for the wimps but trust me it’s really not that hot at all.