Now that we've hit June 1st, I think we can safely declare it's officially barbecue season and this is one of my absolute favorite BBQ dishes of all times! First off, it's a kabob, so, duh, it's immediately more fun than ordinary fork and knife food. Second, it's full of veggies and pineapple, which get grilled and I don't know about you, but I ADORE grilled pineapple in all its charred juicy wonder! And third, and this might be the best thing of all, the marinade that you soak the chicken in and also use to baste the chicken as it's grilling, may quite possibly be the best I have ever tasted!! Everyone in my family loves it and I make it using ordinary old chicken breasts (sans kabobs) all the time. Seriously, once you taste this marinade it will become your reliable go-to and you may never search for another barbecued chicken recipe again!! Life is sweet again and somehow calmer even though nothing's really changed--boy, I'm a much happier camper once the warm weather rolls in!!
These definitely have a tropical feel to them what with the pineapple and the sweetness of the marinade and make such a fun summer dinnertime treat. And while it does take a bit of time to thread all the pieces onto the skewers, the end result is so worth it!
I love the colors and the combination of the tangy pepper and onions with the sweetness of the pineapple and the tenderness of the chicken. It's a treat for the eyes as well as the tastebuds!
And I also love the way that the sugars in the marinade and the pineapple caramelize and form a blackened crunchy coating on the surface of the chicken and pineapple pieces. It's just exactly what you want it to be! Here's to the start of a great grilling season!!
Pineapple Chicken Kabobs
Makes enough to serve at least 5-6 people
Prep Time: Marinade takes about 10 minutes to whip up, chicken has to soak in it for at least 3 hours and up to 24, veggies and pineapple take about 15-20 minutes to cut up. Skewering the kabobs takes about 15 minutes. Grilling Time: About 15 minutes
For the marinade
- 1/3 cup ketchup
- 1/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
- 1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 1/4 cup pineapple juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
- Salt and black pepper to taste
For the Kabobs
- About 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chopped into bite-sized cubes that will fit well on the skewers
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3-4 cups fresh pineapple, cubed (basically just cut up a fresh pineapple)
- 1-2 large red peppers, cored, seeded and cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 large red onion, cut into bite sized pieces
1. To make the marinade: In a large bowl, whisk together the ketchup, sugar, soy sauce, pineapple juice, 2 tablespoons olive oil, rice vinegar, garlic, sesame oil and salt and pepper. Pour about 1/2 cup of it in a small container and refrigerate. Add the cut up chicken to the bowl or transfer to a resealable plastic bag and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours and up to 24.
2. If using wooden skewers, let them soak in water for an hour so that they don't catch fire as you grill.
3. In a large bowl, mix together the pineapple, pepper and onion and toss with the 2 tablespoons of oil. Season with a bit of salt and pepper to taste if you like and then skewer the veggies, pineapple and chicken on the skewers in any pattern you like.
4. Preheat the grill. Brush the grates with a bit more olive oil to prevent sticking and place skewers on grill. Grill for about 5 minutes and then brush the tops with some of the reserved marinade. Turn the skewers, brush that side with more marinade and let cook for another 5-7 minutes, until the chicken is fully cooked. Serve immediately.
5. You can also use this marinade to cook uncut boneless chicken breasts as well. Just make the marinade (double or triple it if you like), let the chicken sit in in for several hours and grill the chicken turning and basting as necessary--probably will take closer to 20-30 minutes, depending on how thick the chicken is.
Note: Recipe adapted from Cooking Classy. I omitted the ginger, upped the amount of chicken and pineapple and used red peppers instead of green.