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Juicy chicken in a mouthwatering marinade, skewered and grilled to perfection? SIGN ME UP! This grilled chicken marinade incorporates soy sauce, honey, beer, and delicious spices to give you tender meat for chicken skewers. Skewered with plenty of veggies – this grilled chicken marinade is literally the best!
What is chicken marinade?
Chicken marinade is any type of sauce or combination of liquid and spices that you use to infuse the chicken with flavor. It is also used to inject more juice into the chicken since it has a tendency to dry out when you grill or bake it!
What are chicken skewers?
Chicken skewers go by different names – some people call them kabobs or shish kabobs.
There are a lot of different ways to make them, but the idea is the same. You layer a long wooden skewer with chicken and your choice of fruits and vegetables.
I have even seen chicken skewers with pineapple on them, so be creative and fill them up with your favorites.
Why should I marinate chicken?
Grilled chicken is bland with just salt and pepper. So, marinating chicken prior to grilling it imparts more flavor into the chicken breast, turning a blank canvas into a delicious work of art.
Marinating chicken prior to grilling also helps keep it from drying out from the high heat of the grill!
Chicken thighs don’t dry out nearly as badly as chicken breasts, but I still think you should marinate all chicken before grilling it.
Chicken marinade ingredients
The ingredients used in the grilled chicken marinade are:
- Red pepper flakes
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Bay leaf
- Soy sauce (low sodium)
- Olive oil
- Minced garlic
The soy sauce in the marinade helps salt the chicken and keep it moist while cooking. The sugar in the honey helps caramelize the outside of the chicken.
If you don’t have fresh garlic on hand, you can substitute garlic powder.
Why add beer to marinade
Beer has enzymes that will help break down the chicken and make it extra tender. It also adds an additional layer of rich flavor to the meat!
My favorite beer to marinate with is Guinness, but I have also used IPA’s and Ambers with this same recipe.
How to marinate chicken for chicken skewers
Here is how to prepare the chicken marinade:
- Whisk all these marinade ingredients together and add the bay leaf.
- Slice chicken breast into 1 1/2 inch chunks and add to the marinade. This recipe skewers the chicken with vegetables, but you can also use this marinade for whole chicken breasts.
- Cover the chicken and allow it to marinate in the refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours or overnight.
The longer the chicken marinates, the more flavor!
Best vegetables to use for chicken skewers
Slice the vegetables to use on the skewers in between the chicken. You can choose your favorite vegetables!
I usually use:
- Red onions
- Assorted bell peppers
- Whole garlic cloves
Mushrooms also work well with the recipe!
For a little extra spice, add some jalapeno peppers. You can also add some pineapple for a bit of sweetness.
Tips for cutting bell peppers
- Using a paring knife at a diagonal, cut around the crown of the bell pepper.
- Grab the stem and twist to remove the seeds.
- Slice in half and using your paring knife, shave the white membranes out of the inside. These are bitter.
- Cut into 1-inch squares to be skewered.
How to assemble grilled chicken kabobs
If you are using bamboo skewers, make sure to soak them for 10 minutes prior to skewering, to avoid them burning on the grill.
When skewering the chicken, you can follow any order you would like!
The zucchini and bell peppers sometimes slip off the end as they shrink on the grill, so you might want to add chicken on the ends to keep them on.
I also double up the onion pieces since they are thin.
How to grill chicken skewers
Start out by preheating your grill on high for 10 minutes, and using a grill brush, scrape off any previous bits. Lower the heat to medium (425F-450F).
To grill the skewers:
- Place the skewers on the grates and grill until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. The cooking time will depend on how thick your chicken pieces are.
- While the skewers grill, rotate them every so often with tongs, so each side gets evenly cooked.
Remove them from the grill once the grilled chicken has reached 165F internal temperature. The vegetables should be tender and charred.
I always use an instant-read food thermometer when I cook to make sure I fully cook the chicken. You can’t really go by how it looks on the outside.
What to serve with chicken skewers
Use a fork to slide the grilled chicken and vegetables off the skewers, or you can serve on the skewer for everyone to remove themselves.
Looking for other grill recipes?
- Grilled Jerk Chicken Skewers
- Marinated Steak Skewers With Chimichurri
- Blue Cheese Stuffed Burgers
- Fall-Off-The-Bone Dry Rub Ribs
- Marinated Flank Steak
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- 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast (cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes)
- 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon fresh minced garlic (or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon dried sage
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 can beer (Guinness stout or beer of choice)
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- Clean chicken breast and cut into roughly 1 1/2 inch cube pieces
- In a large bowl add all the ingredients (minus the beer) and whisk together. Once mixed, pour in beer, and stir to combine. Add in chicken, mix, cover with a lid or wrap, and refrigerate for minimum 2 hours or overnight.
- While chicken is marinating, slice up all of your vegetables that are going onto the skewers. Once done, drizzle olive oil, salt and pepper, and mix to coat the vegetables.
- Preheat your grill on high for 10 minutes and use a grill brush to clean any previous remnants. Lower the heat to medium (425-450F).
- Once the chicken is done marinating, place the ingredients on the skewers. Alternate between assorted vegetables in between each chicken piece. Since red onions are thin, I double up on the onion pieces.
- Grill until meat is fully cooked through (165F degrees) and vegetables are charred. Rotating every few minutes so the chicken and vegetables are evenly cooked.
- Serve the skewers on their own or with your favorite side dish!
- If using wooden skewers, make sure to soak them in water for 10 minutes prior to grilling so they do not burn or catch fire when cooking.
- The internal temperature of the chicken should be 165 degrees.
- If you don't have fresh garlic on hand, you can substitute garlic powder.
- My favorite beer to marinate with is Guinness, but I have also used IPA's and Ambers with this same recipe.
- For a little extra spice, add some jalapeno peppers. You can also add some pineapple for a bit of sweetness.