Grilled Chicken Breasts with Honey and Lime is a simple, low-fat option for your summer barbecue. It is the last recipe in Jean Childress’ Light & Easy Cookbook, part of her self-published Country Kitchen Collection. I happened upon this recipe while searching out side dishes. The opposite-facing page features the intriguing and delicious Sesame Asparagus, and probably not by accident. The two dishes pair perfectly (and also helped me get through a surplus of leftover rice). Despite the heroic levels of honey in the recipe, I’d still say this qualifies as “Light” and it’s certainly “Easy”. It was particularly easy for me, in that I already had the entire ingredient list on hand.
The ingredient list might suggest teriyaki chicken, and you wouldn’t necessarily be wrong. The marinade follows the same soy + sweet + citrus formula that most Western teriyaki dishes follow. The soy sauce lends an amber hue to the chicken and the sweet stuff picks up a still-sticky char on the grill. You’d be forgiven for mistaking it for conventional takeout. What’s different here is the aforementioned heroic levels of honey, which lends something more than sake or mirin. This is particularly true if you use a good quality honey. The soy sauce and citrus still play their parts, but as bit players supporting a strong, floral honey vibe. I don’t want to overstate my case – Grilled Chicken Breasts with Honey and Lime is not especially innovative nor life-changing, but it’s enough different from teriyaki chicken to treat it a little bit differently.
Preparation is easy. Chicken breasts are trimmed and halved, then marinated in a four-ingredient marinade for three or four hours. 10-12 minutes on a hot grill and you’ve got dinner on the table. Neither fussy nor fancy. And no need to splurge on more expensive chicken. There are a few recipes where air-chilled chicken breasts or heritage breeds shine, but this isn’t one of them. The marinade is bold, and maybe a little too bold. The chicken isn’t much more than a delivery vehicle. Unless you’ve got ethical reasons to buy expensive chicken, you’re not going to get your money’s worth.
The recipe below is more or less identical to the original recipe in Light & Easy Cookbook. I’ve omitted the direction to “add salt and pepper to taste”, which seems both redundant and unnecessary for a soy-based marinade. I also found it useful to brush the chicken with a little bit of vegetable oil before tossing it on the grill, and eliminated the recommended cooking times in favor of cooking to temperature. I’m usually conservative with my chicken cooking times, but the recommended 6-8 minutes per side would have turned my chicken breast halves into charcoal. Instead cook until the thermometer reads 165º F (or just below – the temperature will rise 3-5 degrees while it rests).
As mentioned previously, I served Grilled Chicken Breasts with Honey and Lime with the Sesame Asparagus side from the same cookbook. Both recipes have vaguely Asian DNA and they pair perfectly. Add some simple white rice to soak up the juices and you’ve got yourself a meal. Or lean into the sweet and serve this with potato salad and a slice of watermelon. And I’m eyeing the leftovers in the fridge for a late night chicken salad sandwich. You really can’t go wrong here: this dish will work with anything. Enjoy!
- Trim chicken breasts and slice in half lengthwise.
- Mix soy sauce, honey, and garlic. Squeeze in the juice from both limes.
- Add chicken breasts and marinade to a plastic bag. Remove excess air and store in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours. (If you have a vacuum sealer, use it)
- Prepare a medium-hot charcoal grill to a surface temperature of around 400º F. A gas grill or broiler will work in a pinch. If using the broiler, keep the chicken 4-5 inches from the heating element.
- Remove chicken from marinade, draining excess liquid. Brush lightly with vegetable oil.
- Cook about 4-6 minutes each side until the internal temperature in the thickest part of the chicken reads 165º F. Remove and serve immediately.