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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
Blend to a coarse puree, about 2 minutes.
Marinate the chicken:
In a large bowl, season the chicken all over with some Diamond Crystal kosher salt.
Pour in 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 transfer it to a large plate or tray.
Pour the reserved marinade into a small 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.
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.
Flip the chicken as you move it to the area of medium heat (or turn down your gas grill)…
…and baste with some of the reserved marinade.
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.
When the chicken is ready, flip it back to skin-side down…
…and cook for about 30 seconds more, brushing the remaining marinade on the meat side as the skin side crisps up.
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.
Plate the chicken
Transfer the cooked chicken to a platter and rest the thighs for 5 minutes.
Garnish with cilantro and edible flowers and serve!
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?
- Grilled Carrots with Herby Coconut Yogurt (another recipe from Chef Gregory Gourdet!)
- Smashed Cucumber and Carrot Salad
- Red Cabbage Slaw with Tangy Carrot Ginger Dressing
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
- 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)
- 4½ pounds chicken thighs or other bone-in, skin-on chicken parts
- 2 tablespoons edible flowers optional garnish
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.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
The introduction says ” If you’re cooking chicken thighs, start checking the internal temperature earlier and aim for 150°F instead of 165°F for dark meat” Did you mean to write chicken breasts – not thighs? Thanks for posting this recipe – I’m looking forward to trying it (and checking out the new cookbook!).
Fixed! Thanks for catching that!
I really appreciate your ‘What should we serve with this?” feature…very helpful. Thank you for all your testing and sharing.
Very fascinating and it looks tastee. Lol
Dying to try this but on whole 30. Could I omit sugar and have it still taste good?
I would wait until your Whole30 is over! You should try the recipe as written to see how you like it before changing things up!
Can you provide a bit more info on how to prepare the lemongrass stalks? Never worked with them. What do i trim and what do you mean by bruise?
Here’s a tutorial: https://nomnompaleo.com/post/132167503808/how-to-cook-with-lemongrass
Vibrant flavors! This is a keeper. Only marinated chicken for a day. Served with cabbage carrot ginger slaw. Couldn’t stop tasting the marinade straight out of the blender. Can’t wait to buy his cookbook. Great recipe thanks for sharing! 😄
I was only able to find lemon grass in a tube. How much should I use? I found Thai chili peppers. Do I put the whole piece in the blender seeds and all?
I haven’t tried it with lemongrass in a tube so I’m not sure. Yes, the original recipe asks that you put in the whole chili pepper, seeds and all. 6 peppers is pretty spicy so you can cut it down if you need to.
How long can unused marinade last in the fridge?
Probably 4 days max.
If I’m using drumsticks can you provide some guidance on grilling? My guess is to keep them on high and turn them until all sides are browned and then move to a lower temp. And continue to keep an eye out so the skin doesn’t burn. But I’ve no idea how long they might take. Thanks for any help!
They’ll cook a little in about the same amount of time as the thighs—maybe a little quicker depending on the size. The final temp should be 165 F.
I made this chicken and it very tasty but extremely salty.I’m going to try it again with half the salt and half the fish sauce. I made it with your cabbage carrot slow which I’ve made before.one of my favorites. Thank you