Want a Top Chef All-Star’s favorite grilled chicken recipe? Chef Gregory Gourdet’s boldly seasoned grilled chicken with lemongrass, cilantro, and fish sauce, is the spicy Thai-inspired barbecue recipe that’ll jazz up your summer menu. It just so happens to be paleo, low carb, and gluten-free as well!

An overhead shot of a round off-white platter topped with grilled chicken thighs and topped with fresh cilantro and edible flowers.

I’m so excited that I can cook all of my pal Chef Gregory Gourdet’s acclaimed recipes in my home kitchen with his debut cookbook, Everyone’s Table!

An overhead shot of Gregory Gourdet's cookbook, Everyone's Table

GG and I both love vibrant flavors, and as I cook my way through his beautiful cookbook, I’m continually inspired to push the envelope when seasoning my dishes. Now, I peruse the fresh herb aisle every few days and stock my pantry with whole spices (instead of the pre-ground stuff). And more fish sauce—always more fish sauce. Yes, your dishes will catapult from ho-hum to acclaimed restaurant-level with GG’s recipes!

A hand is adding edible flower petals to a platter of grilled chicken with fresh cilantro.

Remember how I told you in my last post that I’d be sharing more than one recipe from GG’s new cookbook? Next up: here’s his recipe for his favorite grilled chicken. You’re in for a real treat!

Side view of a blender filled with the marinade ingredients for Gregory Gourdet's favorite grilled chicken.

Ingredients

The secret to this fantastic grilled chicken recipe is the blend-and-go marinade that blitzes together in just a few minutes!

  • Avocado oil
  • Fish sauce: GG loves fish sauce as much as I do. Don’t be afraid to use the amount he asks for!
  • Diamond Crystal kosher salt: GG and I love well-seasoned food. If you don’t like salt as much as we do, you can cut down the salt in the marinade.
  • Lemongrass: Not sure how to prepare lemongrass? Check out my tutorial here.
  • Fresh cilantro: Hate cilantro? You can substitute basil or Italian parsley instead.
  • Palm sugar or coconut sugar: The sugar helps balance out the spice, heat, and umami. If you’re on a Whole30, you can use ⅓ cup apple juice instead.
  • Black peppercorns: Whole black peppercorns will add a ton more flavor than ground peppercorns!
  • Coconut aminos: This slightly sweet soy sauce alternative will add umami and depth to the marinade.
  • Coriander seeds: As I said above for the peppercorns, whole coriander seeds will add a boost of flavor compared to ground coriander.
  • Garlic cloves: The more garlic, the better!
  • Thai chiles: GG’s recipe uses 6 Thai chilies in his marinade, but if you can’t handle spicy, use less or leave it out.
  • Bone-in, skin-on chicken: I love grilling chicken thighs, but drumsticks or breasts work great as well. If you’re cooking chicken breasts, start checking the internal temperature earlier and aim for 150°F instead of 165°F for dark meat.

How to make Gregory Gourdet’s Favorite Grilled Chicken

Make the marinade:

In a blender, combine avocado oil, fish sauce, kosher salt, lemongrass, cilantro stems and lower leaves, palm sugar, black peppercorns, coconut aminos, coriander, garlic, and chiles.

A smiling Asian woman is adding Thai Chili peppers to a blender to make a grilled chicken marinade.

Blend to a coarse puree, about 2 minutes.

An overhead shot of a greenish-brown chicken marinade in a Vitamix blender.

Marinate the chicken:

In a large bowl, season the chicken all over with some Diamond Crystal kosher salt.

A woman in a red apron is sprinkling salt into a silver bowl filled with raw chicken thighs

Pour in the marinade, and toss to coat well, making sure the marinade gets into the nooks and crannies.

A person in a red apron is pouring a greenish brown marinade into a silver mixing bowl filled with salted chicken thighs.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 12 hours and up to 3 days.

A woman in a red apron is placing a blue silicone round lid on top of a large silver bowl filled with marinated chicken thighs.

Grill the chicken:

When it’s time to cook the chicken, fire up a grill so there’s a high-heat area and a medium-heat area. Remove the chicken from the marinade, giving each piece a brief shake, and transfer it to a large plate or tray.

A pair of silver tongs is transferring the marinated chicken to a platter.

Pour the reserved marinade into a small saucepan.

Pouring reserved chicken marinade from a large silver mixing bowl to a small blue saucepan.

Bring it to a boil over high heat, and turn off the heat. You’ll use it in a bit to glaze the chicken.

A side shot of a yellow silicone spatula stirring reserved marinade in a blue saucepan on the stovetop
Place the chicken, skin-side down on the hot area of the grill. Cook, uncovered, until the skin is crispy and charred, about 4 minutes.

An overhead shot of chicken thighs, skin side down on a hot grill.

Flip the chicken as you move it to the area of medium heat (or turn down your gas grill)…

A closeup of chicken thighs on the grill with charred and crispy skin.

…and baste with some of the reserved marinade.

A red silicone brush is adding marinade to the skin side of grilled chicken thighs.

Cover the grill and cook until the thigh meat pulls easily from the bone and the internal temperature reaches 165°F, about 25 to 30 minutes. If you are cooking breasts, they’re done when the internal temperature reaches 150°F.

A hand is covering a grill filled with chicken thighs with the lid.

When the chicken is ready, flip it back to skin-side down…

A closeup shot of a pair of tongs flipping a grilled chicken thigh.

…and cook for about 30 seconds more, brushing the remaining marinade on the meat side as the skin side crisps up.

A silicone brush is brushing marinade on the meat side of a grilled chicken thigh on a gas grill.

No grill? Here are oven directions!

Heat the oven to 400°F convection or 425°F conventional with the rack in the middle position. Shake off the excess marinade and arrange the chicken, skin-side down, on a stainless steel wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet.

Marinated chicken thighs are on a wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet being placed in an oven

Roast the chicken for 45 minutes, rotating the tray and flipping the thighs skin-side up at the halfway point.

Plate the chicken

Transfer the cooked chicken to a platter and rest the thighs for 5 minutes.

A person in a red apron is using tongs to place the grilled chicken on a round white platter.

Garnish with cilantro and edible flowers and serve!

A hand is adding fresh cilantro and edible flower petals to a platter of grilled chicken.

I’ll be sharing one more recipe from GG’s new cookbook soon, but in the meantime, you need to order a copy for yourself right here!

What should you serve with this?


Looking for more recipe ideas? Head on over to my Recipe Index. You’ll also find exclusive recipes on my iPhone and iPad app, and in my cookbooks, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2013), Ready or Not! (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2017), and Nom Nom Paleo: Let’s Go! (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2021).


 PRINTER-FRIENDLY RECIPE CARD

Gregory Gourdet’s Favorite Grilled Chicken

4.77 from 26 votes
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time45 minutes
Marinating time12 hours
Total Time12 hours 55 minutes
Servings 8
Chef Gregory Gourdet’s boldly seasoned grilled chicken with lemongrass, cilantro, and fish sauce, is the spicy Thai-inspired barbecue recipe that’ll jazz up your summer menu! 

Ingredients  

  • ¾ cup avocado oil
  • ½ cup Red Boat fish sauce
  • 5 teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt  divided
  • 4 lemongrass stalks trimmed, bruised, then thinly sliced
  • 1 small bunch fresh cilantro stems roughly chopped, upper leaves reserved for garnish
  • ¼ cup finely chopped palm sugar or coconut sugar
  • ¼ cup black peppercorns
  • 3 tablespoons coconut aminos
  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 8 garlic cloves peeled
  • 6 Thai chilies stemmed (use less or omit if can't do spicy)
  • pounds chicken thighs or other bone-in, skin-on chicken parts
  • 2 tablespoons edible flowers optional garnish

Instructions 

Marinate the chicken

  • In a blender, combine the avocado oil, fish sauce, 1 tablespoon of the kosher salt, the lemongrass, cilantro stems and lower leaves, palm sugar, black peppercorns, coconut aminos, coriander, garlic, and chiles. Blend to a coarse puree, about 2 minutes.
  • Season the chicken all over with the remaining 2 teaspoons of salt, put it in a large container along with the marinade, and toss to coat well, making sure the marinade gets into the nooks and crannies. Cover and refrigerate for at least 12 hours and up to 3 days.

Grill the chicken

  • When it’s time to cook the chicken, fire up a grill so there’s a high-heat area and a medium-heat area.
  • Remove the chicken from the marinade, giving each piece a brief shake and reserving the marinade, and transfer it to a large plate or tray. Pour the reserved marinade into a small pot, bring it to a boil over high heat, and turn off the heat. You’ll use it in a bit to glaze the chicken.
  • Grill the chicken, skin-side down and uncovered, on the hot area until it’s charred and the skin is crispy, about 4 minutes. Flip the chicken as you move it to the area of medium heat (or decrease to medium heat on a gas grill), baste with some of the reserved marinade, then cover the grill. 
  • Cook the thighs until the meat pulls easily from the bone, 25 to 30 minutes and the temperature measures 165°F. Cooking breasts? Cook for 20 to 25 minutes, and temperature measures 150°F.
  • When the chicken is ready, flip it back to skin-side down and cook for about 30 seconds more, rubbing the remaining marinade on the meat side as the skin side crisps up.
  • Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes. Serve, garnishing with the remaining cilantro and edible flowers.

Video

Notes

Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days.
NO GRILL? HERE ARE OVEN DIRECTIONS!
Heat the oven to 400°F convection or 425°F conventional with the rack in the middle position. Shake off the excess marinade and arrange the chicken, skin-side down, on a stainless steel wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet. Roast the chicken for 45 minutes, rotating the tray and flipping the thighs skin-side up at the halfway point.
Recipe adapted slightly with permission from Everyone’s Table by Gregory Gourdet, copyright © 2021. Published by Harper Wave, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

Nutrition

Calories: 705kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 43g | Fat: 54g | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Like this? Leave a comment below!

About Michelle Tam

Hello! My name is Michelle Tam, and I love to eat. I think about food all the time. It borders on obsession. I’ve always loved the sights and smells of the kitchen. My mother was (and is) an excellent cook, and as a kid, I was her little shadow as she prepared supper each night. From her, I gained a deep, abiding love for magically transforming pantry items into mouth-watering family meals.

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21 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I agree with Tara K, too salty and I love salt. I marinated 3 days, maybe next time I will only do 24 hours and/or cut back on the salt by 1/3. . Otherwise the flavors are amazing! (PS my husband just asked if it would be wrong to lick the plate 🤣)

  2. 4 stars
    We tried this chicken recipe with boneless skinless thighs. It was very tasty and will make it again, but will leave out the peppers (I can’t do spicy) and cut back on the peppercorns. Thank you for sharing this recipe.