Ali over at GIMME SOME OVEN seems to be pretty sincere and direct. Her web site isn’t that bad, but I honestly don’t need 20 pictures of chicken to sell me on her recipe every time I make it. Nor do I need recommendations on cooking thermometers now that I own one. I need her damn recipe, and I need it towards the top of a web page. Again, she knows her shit and you should read her recipe and consider if the shortcuts I take are me being lazy or me being practical (maybe both). I definitely do not do everything she does to a T and my chicken comes out just fine. In fact I made it this week for a guest and surprisingly fell into it from memory, looking like I was hot shit in the kitchen. That guest stayed after to drink bourbon and didn’t die of food poisoning so I *think* we are still friends. Anyway, on with what my lazy ass does.
4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, UNPOUNDED BECAUSE IDGAF but definitely we’ll brine
Some amount of olive oil to coat the breasts
Salt on hand - 1/4 cup for the brine, 1 Tbsp for the chicken
Black Pepper - 1 Tbsp
Garlic Powder - 1 Tbsp
Fancy Pants Hungarian Smoked Paprika 1 Tbsp
Olive oil (because who the hell has time to melt butter)
1 quart of water for the brine
A large flat baking sheet that is good to go at 450 degrees
1 meat thermometer
1 oven that can be set to 450 degrees
Aluminum foil if you plan to tent
First, Brine your chicken. Bowl + Salt for Brining + Water, mix it all up til the salt appears absorbed. Then add chicken. 15 minutes give or take is all it needs. Pat them dry with paper towels, I usually can use two sheets just fine.
Preheat the over to 450
Combine all the remaining spices (Salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder) in a small bowl. Coat the chicken in some amount of olive oil and place it on the baking pan. Rub the spices on to each side like a heathen as opposed to sprinkling.
Throw it in the oven and set a timer for 18 minutes. Check the temperature of a single breast at the thickest part using the thermometer after that 18 minutes is up - if you’ve hit 165 you’re good. If not, put it back in for like 4 more minutes and see where you’re at then. Stop when you get 165 or higher. Remove and put on a plate.
Let the chicken rest in a crazy tent structure made of aluminum foil. Definitely convince your guests watching you that the elaborate specific folds and creases you’re making are impacting the flavor and moistness of the chicken DRASTICALLY and that you were taught it by your great uncle who has passed down this foil folding technique for GENERATIONS after he learned it during the GREAT WAR. Do not clarify what you mean by GREAT WAR. 5 - 10 minutes, whatever, I’ve done this so I’m including it but sometimes I’m just hungry so I’ve skipped.
SERVE. You now have chicken. Congratulations! I really recommend eating at the time of creation. I’ve also put in the fridge, 3 days max I’m going by for legal reasons since that is what Ali says. Freezer does work if you slice it in advance.
A note on how this compares to the original cited recipe
I’ve included a lot already, but the big things are as follows.
I don’t tenderize. You can believe Ernie Anastos all you want and maybe someday I’ll buy a tenderizer and come back here and update this post proclaiming pounding meat to be the one true way. But for now, I just want food, so I cook it as is.
I don’t melt butter and I don’t brush. If you have time to melt butter, good for you! I have time to type this recipe up instead. For the brush, basically same reaction as the tenderizer, I prefer to get my hands oily and rub that chicken.
I increase the amounts and fuck up the proportions of the spice mix. Maybe my breasts are big? Maybe my taste is off? Maybe I don’t actually have taste? But when I’ve used Ali’s precise amounts, I’ve felt it wasn’t covering my breasts well. I imagine if you *do* think her measurements are good you could still make more than enough and store the leftovers, but I always just say fuck it and use it all. Professional!
I don’t brine for 6 hours. I want to actually, but I have just never found the time and the 15 minutes seems to work. If I do, I’ll update.
Ali talks about other ingredients you can try, and you totally should try other things. But let me level with you - the past umpteenth times I’ve made this, I just used the default combo that Ali suggests and was pretty happy. I eventually want to get the Everything Bagel seasoning that my friend Em has been fucking raving about that Trade Joe’s sells since Ali also suggests it. I’ve done “Italian” seasoning and just Rosemary/Thyme which was okay. In the end, you have chicken flavored with whatever you put on it, and the recipe isn’t really getting impacted here. I’d be curious what maybe some citrus might do to the recipe.