We had a couple of 20-year-old guys over for dinner the other night. (Dark suits, black name tags, riding bikes, seen them around?) I like having them over because they’re sweet. And easy to please. While we were eating, I asked them if they’d ever had Malibu Chicken.
“Yes, but not like THIS,” one replied.
That was exactly my thought the first time I made this.
Grilling this kind of chicken is unique, I think, but what makes it really special is the smoky-sweet sauce that gets spread all over it and between every layer (chicken, ham, cheese, and pineapple). The sauce is mostly butter and pineapple juice with some other things thrown in to make it pop. (Mine looks speckled because I accidentally put the grill seasoning in the sauce as well as the chicken. I didn’t even realize that until just now. It tasted really peppery and a tad saltier than I remembered from the first time, but it was still really good. Oops.)
I found this recipe on Patio Daddio BBQ, one of the few manly food bloggers on Tasty Kitchen. This guy is a competitive BBQ’er. I, with my stove-top grill pan and fear of charcoal, am most definitely not. But I made it work. And I’m sure you can too.
Grilled Malibu Chicken
6 boneless/skinless chicken breasts
2 T BBQ seasoning (I used Montreal Steak Seasoning)
12 slices deli ham (thin)
6 slices canned pineapple
6 slices Swiss cheese
1/2 cup pineapple juice (from the can)
4 T butter, melted
1 T plain yellow mustard
1 T honey
1 T molasses
2 tsp worcestershire sauce
1 tsp chili powder
The original recipe suggested pounding the thicker parts of the breasts to make them more uniform in thickness, but I simply sliced through them horizontally to form two thin breasts out of each one. They cook faster this way, the meat goes farther, and it's more flavorful when you're using sauces or marinades.
Season both sides of each breast with the BBQ seasoning, cover and refrigerate at least an hour.
Combine the butter, pineapple juice, mustard, honey, molasses, Worcestershire sauce and chili powder a medium mixing bowl and whisk until smooth, then set aside.
Prepare your grill for two-zone cooking (direct and indirect) at medium-high heat (about 400º). Or if that last sentence makes you panic, turn on your grill-pan to medium-high heat.
Quickly grill one side of each breast and each pineapple ring over direct heat until they are seared and have nice grill marks, about two minutes. Flip each breast and ring, brush with the sauce, and cook another two minutes.
Move the chicken to the indirect part of the grill (or a not-so-hot part of your pan) and brush the top of each with the sauce. Top each breast with two slices of ham and drizzle the ham with the sauce. Put a slice of cheese then a pineapple ring on each breast and drizzle yet again with the sauce. Continue cooking with the grill lid down (or in my case, a piece of aluminum foil. . . grill masters are rolling their eyes, I'm sure) until the internal temperature reaches 160º, about 10 minutes.
Serve with . . . another drizzle of sauce. Makes 6 servings.
Side Dish Suggestions: We ate this with a green salad, roasted broccoli, and garlic bread. D-LISH.
1. The first time I made this I used fresh pineapple. Instead of buying pineapple juice separately, I just pureed enough pineapple to make 1/2 cup for the sauce. It made it thicker, but still tasted great.
from Patio Daddio BBQ via Tasty Kitchen