Everything you should know before using sauce for grilled chickenEditorial Team
Grilled chicken is a staple of summer cookouts and it has that status for a reason! The juicy, tender bite of a well-grilled piece of chicken is an ambrosial experience. But let’s not stop there! Here’s how you can use sauce for grilled chicken to make the dish even better.
A good sauce can take your grilled chicken from just another grilled dish to a gastronomic spectacle with the sheer extent of flavours and aromas present.
The best part? Grilled chicken is relatively easy to get right and prepare quickly, so anyone—regardless of their grilling experience—can enjoy a delicious grilled meal in a pinch.
Understanding the flavour profile
First things first. Before diving into the vast and flavourful realm of sauces, understanding the flavour profile of grilled chicken is essential for crafting dishes that complement each other and hit all the flavour notes perfectly.
One of the most noticeable things about the flavour of grilled chicken is its umami/savoury flavour. The natural umami notes of chicken become more pronounced as a result of grilling, alongside the classic smoky flavour that all grill lovers admire.
If you are grilling chicken, chances are you’re marinating it in a combination of salt and pepper and some combination of herbs and spices. These ingredients can create different earthy flavours and draw out the natural juiciness of the chicken.
Grilling chicken also creates a much more tender and juicy cut of meat that provides a nice mouthfeel, so when using sauce for grilled chicken, keep the flavour profile of your dish in mind for the best result.
Finding popular grilled chicken variants
As grilled chicken is popular around the world, naturally, there are many options to choose from when preparing your dish.
Here are some of the most popular grilled chicken variants around the world, so if you’re finding your usual grilled chicken dishes a bit boring, maybe you’ll find your next favourite dish here!
- BBQ chicken
Everyone knows it, everyone loves it. This classic grilled chicken variant is an American staple that is typically coated in a smoky BBQ sauce before grilling.
- Teriyaki chicken
Originating from Japan, this dish is famous for its masterful combination of sweet and savoury flavours. The name comes from the marinade, teriyaki sauce.
- Mediterranean grilled chicken
This Mediterranean-style dish features a combination of oregano, thyme, rosemary, garlic, and lemon juice for its seasoning, giving it its signature zesty flavour.
- Tandoori chicken
This Indian dish features a delectable marinade of yoghurt, cumin, coriander, turmeric, and garam masala, giving it its signature red colour and smoky and spicy flavour.
- Cajun grilled chicken
This Cajun-style dish is seasoned with paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder, giving it a spicy, smoky, and slightly earthy flavour.
These are just some of the most popular grilled chicken variants around the world, so make sure to dive in and explore regional cuisine—you just might find some hidden gems to delight your taste buds.
Choosing the best sauces for grilled chicken
There are many options you can consider when choosing a sauce for grilled chicken.
Here are some options that can work well with most grilled chicken dishes.
- BBQ sauce
The quintessential choice for grilled chicken. There’s a lot of choice here owing to the range of flavours and brands in the market. Make sure to consider the dish you’re making and choose flavours that work well with it for the best result.
- Wing sauce
As the name suggests, these sauces are ideal for grilled chicken wings. Common wing sauce types include buffalo sauce, jerk sauce, spicy Caesar, and hot honey.
- Mustard sauce
Using mustard seeds as the base, these sauces are usually thicker than your normal sauce and can be used as a dip or dressing for grilled chicken dishes. They also work fantastically well with hotdogs and hamburgers.
- Hot sauce
The spice lovers’ choice, hot sauces are ideal for those flavour seekers on the hunt for that savoury kick. There’s plenty of range within the category so you can get the specific spice level you’re looking for.
- White sauce
These sauces are made with a creamy base like milk, yoghurt, or similar dairy products. They work exceptionally well with grilled chicken to offer a nice contrast to the smoky flavours with their smooth consistency.
While not technically a sauce, glazes can work really well with grilled chicken to create a whole new range of flavours. Glazes are applied during the cooking process as opposed to sauces, which are usually applied post-cook.
Learning tips to use sauce for grilled chicken
To wrap up, here are some tips that will come in handy when preparing your next grilled chicken feast.
Consider flavour profiles
Decide what sort of flavour you are hoping to achieve with your dish. Is it sweet? Spicy? Tangy? Savoury? Smoky? Or a combination of flavours? This choice will guide all others.
Pick complementary flavours
With the flavour profiles decided you can go on to choose the type of grilled chicken you are going to make and the sauces you are going to use for it.
Make sure to pick sauces that complement the flavour of the chicken dish you’re making without overpowering it.
Additionally, the cut of chicken you are using is an important part of choosing a sauce. For example, while buffalo sauce is ideal for wings, a more citrusy sauce will pair better with chicken breast. Take these considerations to heart when choosing a sauce.
Decide on spice levels
Not everyone enjoys spicy food, while some others may love a dish with a side of pain! Make sure to choose a sauce that won’t conflict with your spice preferences.
Add your own flair
Don’t forget the most important ingredient of all, your signature flair! If you feel like a pairing that is traditionally not a popular choice would work well, go for it!
Grilling is about having fun and what’s more fun than experimenting with the myriad of flavours you have?
Elevate your grilled chicken game with the perfect sauce pairing to make the flavours pop
Grilled chicken is a universally loved dish that can be elevated beyond some creative sauce pairings. Now that you know everything you should know before using sauce for grilled chicken, go forth and grill!