When homemade Spicy Sweet and Sour Sauce meets Grilled Chicken, it’s a match made in heaven! In this recipe for Grilled Spicy Sweet and Sour Chicken I not only give you a recipe you’ll use for all your sweet and sour needs, but I give you the method for perfectly grilling chicken every time!
Recently, I was making sweet and sour sauce for a meatball recipe and it hit me that it would be fabulous on grilled chicken! Using sweet and sour sauce like a barbecue sauce! Why hadn’t I thought of that before?
So, a couple of weeks later, I made up a batch of spicy sweet and sour sauce, fired up the grill and cooked the chicken. This chicken. It was just as glorious as I had imagined. The sauce caramelizes around the edges, gets thick and gooey, just like barbecue sauce! Only it’s spicy, sweet and sour. *thud*
Making your own sweet and sour sauce is so simple! It takes just a few minutes, you control the ingredients, and you control the level of spicy. Don’t like spicy sweet and sour? Leave out the crushed red pepper flakes. And you get a whole lot more sauce than you can buying one of those little jars.
The ingredients in the sweet and sour sauce are: pineapple juice, rice vinegar, brown sugar, tomato paste, soy sauce, crushed red pepper flakes (if you’re making it spicy) and the sauce is thickened with corn starch and water. That’s it. It takes about 10 minutes to make and it’s really good!
I’m giving you the sweet and sour sauce recipe separately from the chicken grilling method, for convenience if you want to use them for other things.
The chicken grilling method is one I have used for a long time. It results in chicken that is perfectly cooked, slightly crispy on the edges without charring the sauce. My method employs indirect heat. And yes, you can do this on a charcoal grill, as well as gas. I have both, but prefer cooking over charcoal.
For a charcoal grill, I put the charcoal in my chimney and get it burning before dumping the coals onto one side of the grill. The chicken will cook on the other side, off the direct heat of the coals. For a gas grill, just heat one side to medium-high, and cook on the other.
The chicken cooks for the first 12 minutes skin-side-up. This allows the skin to cook slightly before turning, it also allows some of the fats from the chicken to coat the grill, which keeps the skin from sticking when you turn it. The chicken is turned skin-side-down for 8 minutes to crisp the skin. While the skin-side is down crisping, that is when you first apply sauce. After turning the skin-side back up, sauce is then thickly applied to the skin-side and the chicken is cooked for an additional 12-15 minutes, until the sauce is caramelized and gooey. Perfect grilled chicken every time.
I hope you will try both this Spicy Sweet and Sour sauce and the method for grilling chicken. Together. Separately. Often.
p.s.: I added sesame seeds (a combination of white and black) to my chicken when I coated the skin-side with sauce. This is optional, but it adds a nice finish and flavor.
- 1½ cups pineapple juice
- ⅔ cup rice vinegar
- ⅔ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional for spicy sauce, adjust for heat)
- 2 tablespoons corn starch
- 2 tablespoons water
- In a medium-sized sauce pan, over medium heat, combine the pineapple juice, rice vinegar, brown sugar, tomato paste, soy sauce and crushed red pepper (if using).
- Bring to a boil.
- In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and water and stir until the corn starch is dissolved (this is called a slurry).
- Pour the corn starch slurry into the sauce mixture and stir to combine.
- Continue to cook until the sauce is thickened, about 3-4 minutes.
- Remove from heat.
- Ready for use immediately, or will store in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks.
- Chicken pieces, rinsed and patted dry.
- For a gas grill, heat the grill to medium-high, on one side only.
- For a charcoal grill, pile the coals on one side of the grill only and light (or use a chimney to light the coals and when ready, dump them on one side only.
- Place the chicken skin-side-up on the cool side of the grill (arranging larger pieces closest to the hot side of the grill) and cook, covered for 12 minutes.
- Turn the chicken skin-side down, coat the back with sauce, cover the grill and continue to cook for 6-8 minutes. Watch for flare-ups on the chicken closest to the fire.
- Turn the chicken skin-side up, liberally coat with sauce, cover the grill and continue to cook for an additional 12-15 minutes, until the sauce is caramelized and gooey.