The 4th of July in my hometown is more than quick patriotic nod to our country’s founding fathers. In that little midwestern town it’s homecoming and founder’s day and independence day all rolled into one. The high School reunions are all scheduled for that week, half the town is in the parade, and people block of streets for neighborhood parties. My mother often made a soy and pineapple chicken dish for any big summer gathering, including the requisite neighborhood picnic the fourth.
This dish is a play on that one. But with one major addition. Bacon.
Soy sauce, bacon, and pineapple are a great flavor combination, however, pineapple offers an extra bonus, because it contains an enzyme that quickly breaks down proteins, meaning that a very quick soak in a marinade based on pineapple juice can render even a tough old bird tender and juicy.
This recipe takes advantage of that enzyme to make a juicy, tender, bacon-wrapped packet of boneless chicken that is a quick and easy backyard crowd pleaser – once crowds are a safe thing again.
One of the great things about this dish is how quickly it all comes together. You’ll quickly marinade the chicken, wrap it up with bacon and pineapple, and grill or roast it. I like to use wooden skewers to both hold everything together and making turning and serving easier, but tooth picks or even kitchen twine will help form the packets. This is a pretty flexible dish in that it can feel fancy, or casual. You could serve it with white rice, fried rice, even a slaw.
Bacon Wrapped Pineapple ChickenCourse: Boneless, GrilledCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Medium
Pineapple stuffed, bacon wrapped packets of grilled chicken.
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
4 pieces bacon
4 pineapple spears (see note)
4 tbsp pineapple juice
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp Sriracha
- Mix pineapple juice, honey, pineapple, sesame oil, Sriracha, and soy sauce in a non-reactive bowl. Stir until the honey is dissolved.
- Add the chicken to the marinade, cover, and refrigerate for 30 minutes maximum. Because of the action of the pineapple enzymes, longer marinade times will make the chicken mushy.
- Remove each thigh from the marinade, roll the thigh around the pineapple spear, and wrap the entire piece with bacon, using toothpicks or skewers to fix it all together into a packet.
- Brush additional marinade over the bundles, and grill over medium heat, basting with remaining marinade, until the bacon is crisping and the internal temperature of the chicken is 165°F.
- To make pineapple spears, cut 4-6 inch long pieces from around the core, discarding the core. Alternatively, you may be able to buy pre-cut or canned spears at your local grocer. Canned spears will have a different flavor and texture than fresh.