EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Lifestyle

June 27, 2014

Lemon-pepper pops in pulled chicken

For a fresh take on barbecued pulled pork, we decided to reinvent it from the bottom up. And we started by ditching the pork.

As delicious as pork is, for this July Fourth offering, we wanted something that didn’t take hours upon hours on the grill. Instead, we went with chicken thighs. Nearly as lean as chicken breasts, thighs stay moist and are difficult to overcook. They also happen to be delicious when doused with a one-two punch of lemon-pepper sauce.

We start by marinating the thighs in a blend of lemon juice and zest, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Do it for at least two hours, but you also can toss it together the night before. After that, you just pop the thighs on the grill for about 10 minutes, then shred them with forks.

A second dose of lemon-pepper comes in the sauce you toss the shredded chicken with, a tangy blend of lemon juice and zest, mayonnaise, and buttermilk.

The result isn’t just delicious, it also is wonderfully versatile. Pile it onto bulkie rolls, or heap it onto a mess of baby greens.

BARBECUED AND SHREDDED LEMON-PEPPER CHICKEN

Start to finish: 21/2 hours (30 minutes active)

Servings: 6

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of fat

Zest and juice of 2 lemons, divided

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons light mayonnaise

1/4 cup buttermilk

Bulkie rolls or salad greens, to serve

In a zip-close plastic bag, combine the chicken thighs with the zest and juice of 1 lemon, plus a hefty pinch of salt, 1 teaspoon of pepper and the olive oil. Close the bag, then turn and massage with your fingers to work the marinade into the meat. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.

When ready to cook the chicken, heat the grill to medium-high. Use a vegetable oil-soaked paper towel held with tongs to oil the grates.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Lifestyle

Photos of the Week