Grilled Chicken with Sweet Tomato Barbecue Sauce

Dsc02162 I really love this time of year, because I start to use the outdoor grill almost every day to prepare dinner.  We typically don’t use it for lunch, as the Las Vegas temperatures rise a bit too high for grilling to be tolerable during the daytime hours.  Grilling is one of my favorite methods of food preparation.  It allows to you take some extremely simple ingredients, such as a marinated chicken breast, some unshucked ears of corn, and a few pieces of ciabatta drizzled with olive oil, and convert them into a barbecue feast.  Something about those little perfectly angled criss-cross grill marks takes something that might be very ordinary coming out of the oven and makes it irresistible to onlookers. 

Although becoming a whiz at the grill isn’t difficult, many people seem to be intimidated by it, spurred by too many memories of overcooked, overcharred, and overdried chicken breasts, burgers, and ribs.  After years of watching the grillmaster himself, Mr. Bobby Flay, on his Food Network shows: Hot Off the Grill, Grillin’ and Chillin’, Boy Meets Grill, and, well, you get the picture, I like to think that I’ve picked up at least a few proper grilling techniques.  The most important of these is to not move your food too much on the grill.  People have a tendency to want to flip and move their food around, and it really should only be flipped one time.  I also know to never cut into meats to check for doneness.  Use a thermometer or check for firmness instead, as cutting into it will release too many juices and dry out your food.  Third, Bobby seems to think that nothing goes better with grilling than a margarita (he makes them often), so always make a batch of these to go with your meal.

Properly grilled food requires little more than something simple to go on top, and this homemade roasted tomato barbecue sauce is just that.  With a smoky undertone from the sauteed bacon, tang from the balsamic vinegar, and a little bit of kick from the Tabasco, this recipe has something for everyone.  Best of all, it can be pulled together in no time, for an impromptu grill-fest!  Here are a few tips for this recipe, perfect for easy outdoor entertaining:

  • To make this recipe lower in fat and calories, opt for some high-quality, preferably smoked, turkey bacon.
  • The Tabasco sauce may be eliminated if spicy foods are not favored in your household.
  • This barbecue sauce is very versatile, and it will last for several days, covered and refrigerated, so make a double or triple batch if you plans include a lot of grilling.  This sauce would taste great over pork chops, grilled salmon, or a firm white fish, such as halibut, seabass, or swordfish steaks.  You could also use it as a topping for burgers or grilled chicken sandwiches.

Grilled Chicken with Sweet Tomato Barbecue Sauce

Serves 4


1 pint grape tomatoes

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oilDsc02161

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2 tablespoons lime juice

4 slices center cut or pepper bacon, chopped

1 yellow onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed

2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400F degrees.  On a baking sheet, toss the tomatoes with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Roast until charred, 15-20 minutes.

Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium-high.  Drizzle the chicken breasts with 1 tablespoon olive oil and the lime juice.  Season with salt and pepper.  Grill, turning once, until cooked through, about 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, heat the remaining tablespoon olive oil over medium heat.  Add the bacon and cook for 3-4 minutes, until slightly crisp.  Drain off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat.  Add the onion and garlic and cook until softened, 3 minutes.  Stir in the vinegar, brown sugar, Tabasco, and Worcestershire sauce.  Add the roasted tomatoes and mash together.  Season with salt and pepper.  Top the grilled chicken with the tomato sauce and serve.


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