I am so happy to be back in the full swing of grilled dinners! Not only are they quick and easy, but so delicious. There is really nothing better that BBQed chicken. These skewers get a spicy sauce and a lovely, fresh grilled pineapple salsa to go with it – all made on the BBQ.
A quick, easy chicken pineapple skewer recipe, with a spicy sauce and moist boneless chicken thighs. And the grilled pineapple salsa is the perfect, fresh complement!
The skewers start with boneless chicken thighs. You could use boneless breasts, but for my money, you can’t beat thighs for staying moist on a hot grill. I cut each thigh into 3 or 4 pieces, so one small skewer represents one thigh. Don’t pack the chicken too tightly on the skewer, so that it has room to cook thoroughly.
The sauce features one of my favourite spicy Asian sauces – Sambal Oelek. It’s very easy to find in with the Asian sauces, so if it isn’t part of your complement of sauces yet, I highly recommend. You could also use Asian Chili Garlic Sauce, if it’s what you have on hand. You might need a touch more to get some nice heat going.
Once cut, the thighs just need a quick trip through the sauce before going on to the skewers and the grill. No need to marinate ahead. While the chicken is grilling, the sauce is transferred to a saucepan, where it’s reduced to be brushed on to the chicken at the end. This method allows you to dole out the really spicy part depending on taste – less for those that don’t like a lot of spice or more for the spice lovers.
I can’t say enough good things about the grilled pineapple salsa. It’s just so fresh and delicious. It’s a perfect side for any grilled meat.
- For the chicken:
- 12-14 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 cup rice vinegar
- 1/3 cup Sambal Oelek (or Asian Chili Garlic Sauce)
- 1/4 cup fish sauce
- 2 tsp. finely grated peeled ginger
- For the pineapple salsa:
- 1 fresh pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro or flat-leaf parsley
- 3/4-1 cup diced red onion
- 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced
- 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice (about 1 lime)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- If using wooden skewers, set them to soak in a bowl of water for 45-60 minutes before grilling.
- Start the pineapple salsa but combining all the ingredients except the pineapple in to a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Heat grill to medium-high and quickly grill pineapple slices, allowing to brown slightly. Remove to a plate to cool, then dice and add to the bowl with the rest of the salsa ingredients. Cover and refrigerate.
- Prepare chicken sauce, by combining the brown sugar, rice vinegar, Sambal Oelek, fish sauce and ginger in a large bowl.
- Cut each chicken thigh in to 3 or 4 pieces and place all in the bowl with the chicken sauce. Stir to coat chicken well. Thread 3 pieces of chicken on to small skewers (or more if using longer skewers, but don't pack on too tightly so chicken will cook quickly and thoroughly). I like to thread it on the skewers so that each piece gets passed through the skewer twice, just so they are secure.
- Transfer chicken sauce to a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer and allow to reduce while the chicken cooks. You want to reduce it until it's thickened and a bit syrupy.
- Reduce heat on grill to medium and brush with a bit of oil. Place chicken skewers on to grill. Grill the chicken skewers until nicely browned on one side. Flip and brown up the other side, then remove to a top rack and close the lid for a few minutes to cook the chicken through.
- Take reduced chicken sauce and brush on warm skewers (or transfer to a bowl to allow everyone to add their own heat). Serve with chilled pineapple salsa.