Herbs that go Great with Grilled Chicken

When grilling chicken, one of the biggest decisions you will need to make involves which herbs to use. Fortunately, there are a number that go well with chicken, including the following.

Cilantro

Sometimes known as coriander or Chinese parsley, this herb is a favorite in Mexican dishes. Use it along with lime to add zest to your chicken, or place on top of chicken breasts just before shredding them to use in tacos.

Rosemary

This woodsy herb is ideal when cooking chicken over a wood fire, but may also be used for gas or charcoal grilling.  When cooking a whole chicken, place a few sprigs inside the bird; otherwise, sprinkle a dash or two of crushed flakes on top of individual pieces. It does have a strong flavor, and should therefore be used very sparingly.

Sage

Often used in dressings and soups, sage is a natural accompaniment to all sorts of chicken dishes. It is often stuffed into the cavity of a chicken before placing it on the grill, but may also be added to a rub or marinade. As with rosemary, sage also has a strong flavor that can overpower your chicken if you use too much.

Oregano

Although it is a member of the mint family, oregano has a rather mild flavor that does not leave behind any unusual aftertaste. Often used in Italian dishes, it can be mixed with lemon juice, salt, and pepper to make a flavorful baste that will help chicken remain moist.

Thyme

This popular Mediterranean herb has long been a favorite in chicken recipes because of its delicate aroma and flavor. When grilling, thyme is most often included in a rub along with other spices such as garlic, salt, and pepper. Adding it to a spicy marinade will also help bring out the flavor of other ingredients such as tomatoes and peppers.

Marjoram

Recognized for its citrus and pine flavors, marjoram is often used in Middle Eastern dishes. There are several ways to use marjoram: placing whole leaves on top of chicken, adding to olive oil before brushing on meat, as a rub, or sprinkled on top of individual pieces.

Tarragon

Often used in sauces, the slightly pungent flavor of tarragon nicely complements other vegetables such as tomatoes and onions. It is ideal whenever grilling chicken along with fresh mushrooms or peppers. If your grill also doubles as a roaster or smoker, you may add a few sprigs to the inside of a whole bird just before cooking.

Garlic

Sometimes thought of as a vegetable, garlic is nonetheless an herb and a very versatile one at that. Use garlic along with any of the above spices to create a custom rub, or add to sauces or marinades to turn the flavor up a notch. You may even add a dash or two of garlic to melted butter and then brush on chicken to keep it from getting too dry.

All of the above herbs are perfect for a number of grilled chicken recipes. Use them to stock your cupboards, or grow your own fresh specimens to ensure you always have some delicious herbs on hand.

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