Tailgate food is a specific breed of culinary beast. It needs to be crowd-pleasing, low maintenance, quick and easy, portable is a plus, and above all: delicious. For those dedicated to the art of pre-game food, stuff on sticks made with beer is just a game-day win. Beer has been praised the world over for giving meat a tender, more flavorful texture. Using the meat-tenderizing properties of a good beer brine, as well as making sure to use the more flavorful chicken thighs instead of breasts, will give your chicken skewers an edge over the other guy’s. Your secret is safe with me.
Tailgate Chicken Skewers
For the chicken:
- 1 cup brown ale
- 2 Tbsp kosher salt
- 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
For the glaze:
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ⅔ cup stout beer
- ¼ cup low sodium soy sauce
- 3 Tbsp tomato paste
- 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 Tbsp Sriracha hot pepper sauce
- 1 tsp onion powder
- ¼ cup brown sugar, packed
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
In a medium bowl stir together the brown ale, salt granulated sugar, and onion powder. Add the chicken thighs. Refrigerate and brine for 2 to 4 hours.
While the chicken is brining, place 6 wooden skewers in water, allow to soak for 30 minutes to one hour.
Prepare the glaze. Heat olive oil over medium high heat, add the garlic (tip: use a microplane to quickly reduce garlic to a paste in seconds, rather than mincing with a knife), stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a strong simmer until thickened, about 8 minutes.
Preheat grill to medium high.
Remove chicken from brine, rinse well and pat dry.
Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces, thread onto prepared skewers.
Brush the chicken on all sides with glaze, place on the grill, close lid.
After two minutes, turn and brush with additional glaze. Repeat until chicken is cooked through, about 6 minutes.
Chicken thighs are immeasurably more flavorful than chicken breast, and also stand up better to high temperatures without drying out, making them the perfect choice for grilling.
Makes 6 skewers.