GRILLED chicken doesn’t need much more than salt, pepper, and a little char. Eating healthy food without oil can be made through this trick.
From the usual soy sauce, calamansi or lemon with garlic in marinating your chicken, level it up with these various marinade options, rubs, and seasoning ideas before tossing it on the grates. Most of the ingredients needed are already in your kitchen.
Harissa and Yogurt. Plain yogurt and a healthy dollop of harissa (a garlicky red pepper paste) will make for a sweet-hot marinade. Make extra and serve the unused portion as a sauce.
Za’atar and Lemon Zest. Za’atar is a heady blend of thyme, sesame seeds, and sumac. It’s astringent, tangy, and great with chicken. Rub it under the skin to prevent the sesame seeds from burning when the grill gets really hot.
Buttermilk, Dill and Lemon Zest. A buttermilk brine not only adds flavor, it makes for one tender chicken.
Brown Sugar, White Wine Vinegar, Onions, Garlic. This marinade hits all the right notes: Sweet, acidic, and earthy. Plus, the vinegar helps tenderize the chicken, and the brown sugar adds a nice note of caramelization to the skin when cooked.
Fish Sauce, Sambal Oelek, Sriracha and Brown Sugar. This marinade is funky, spicy, and just a little bit sweet.
Honey and Mustard. Smear it on thick. Sinus-clearing Dijon is perfect for this. If you want a little more texture, cut the mustard with a whole-grain version.
Berbere Spice Mix. This blend of cinnamon, cumin, paprika, allspice, and more, is complex, heady, and perfect for the grill. It’s worth seeking out—or making at home. As a bonus, it’s tasty on way more than chicken; we even like it stirred into yogurt.
Smoked Paprika, Cayenne, Grilled Lemons, Fresh Parsley. Don’t be afraid to add a little heat. The lemon and parsley will help you keep your cool.
Roasted Garlic and Sea Salt. Pop the roasted garlic out of its skin and mash it into a paste with briny sea salt. Slather all over the bird before grilling.
Garlic, Oregano and Rosemary. Now this is a classic. Turn it into a marinade with flavorful olive oil.
Fish Sauce, Oyster Sauce, Sugar. Toss the wings in this quick marinade before grilling. Whip together a dipping sauce with ground Thai chiles or chiles de árbol, fish sauce, lime, and toasted sesame seeds.
Bacon Grease, Maple Sugar, Red Wine Vinegar. The granulated version of maple syrup will caramelize over the grill’s high heat. Mix all three ingredients into a paste and brush or rub it on.
Rice Vinegar, Chiles, Scallions, Agave. This potent marinade works its magic overnight. These wings are hot, sweet, and tangy. Try chiles de árbol, or, if you can’t find them, red pepper flakes.
Cumin, Paprika, Red Pepper, Garlic. These are all big, bold flavors—but they can stand up to the bossy heat of an open flame.