We have been trying for what feels like FOREVER to figure out how to get that perfectly charred skin on grilled chicken. There has been a lot of trial and error, including nights where I acted like a complete brat because the chicken just wasn’t right. (What can I say? I’m a perfectionist.) Also, have you eaten skin-on chicken with not-crispy skin? Gross. Well, I’m happy to report that we’ve finally figured it out, and I am going to share the secret with you all!
My brother gets this crazy delicious rub that you can’t buy here in St. Louis, unless you get it online, and it is stupid expensive. Every time we visit, we always have to have some “Crack Chicken”, as we so fondly call it. I’ve never seen chicken fly off the plate like this stuff does. Even when I was pregnant with my twins and had a huge meat aversion, I craved this stuff! Well…instead of dreaming of the deliciousness, I decided to try to make my own. It’s not an exact replica, but it’s close enough to make this girl super happy.
The rub is a perfect balance of sweet and spicy. When grilled properly, the sugar caramelizes on the skin and is simply delightful. The key is to cook the chicken over indirect heat, so that when the fat starts to render, it doesn’t drip onto the flames and burn. After that, you just throw it on the flame so that the skin can get nice and crispy. Voila: Crispy Grilled Crack Chicken perfection!
Crispy Grilled Crack Chicken
- 1/4 cup salt
- 1/4 cup mustard
- 4 chicken thigh quarters, skin-on
- prepared Brown Sugar Rub
Brown Sugar Rub
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp Kosher salt
- 1 Tbsp chili powder
- 1 Tbsp cumin
- 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 Tbsp ground mustard
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/4 tsp chipotle chili powder
- Dissolve 1/4 cup salt with about 2 quarts of lukewarm water in a large bowl. Place chicken in the bowl of salt water to brine for at least 1 hour but up to 24 hours. (You can actually use this as the thawing method.)
- When you are ready to prepare chicken, pat each piece dry with a paper towel.
- Pour mustard into a small bowl and brush all over the outside of each piece of chicken with about 1 Tbsp of mustard each.
- Mix rub ingredients together in a small bowl and rub generously all over chicken until it is completely coated. Don't be afraid to use all of the rub!
- When ready to grill, cook that chicken over indirect heat for about 10 minutes on each side, or until you start to see char developing on the outside of the chicken. Our grill has four burners, so we lit burners one and three on high, putting the chicken over burner two, which was not lit.
- Once the chicken has cooked over indirect heat, turn on the burner directly underneath the chicken to start crisping up the skin. Continue cooking the chicken over the direct heat for about another 10 minutes, turning every 2 minutes or so, until you get the desired level of charred skin.
- Serve hot off the grill.
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