So raise your hand if you’d like a Spiedie, maybe my New York Chicken Spiedies. If these are new to you, Spiedies are chunks of highly marinated meat, in this case, chicken, skewered and grilled to perfection, then served on a fresh, soft roll; it has to be soft, nothing too fancy. And then drizzled with the same garlicky herby vinaigrette it was marinated in, not just because that gives it a double dose of flavor, but because it also kind of melds that gorgeous, juicy grilled chicken and the bun into one cohesive sandwich.
And if you raised your hand, I wish I could actually give you one!! I guess the recipe for New York Chicken Spiedies will have to do.
About New York Chicken Spiedies:
First of all, before I tell you about New York Chicken Spiedies, I gotta give a shout out to my Sister (who has shared so many recipes over the years and given me so many ideas for my site) and whose recipe for Spiedies is already here. It’s My Sister’s Spiedies. It’s amazing, too, although the photos could use a good updating – sometimes though, yanno, ya gotta tinker.
Since I used My Sister’s Spiedie Recipe for pork, last time, and it can be used on lamb or venison, too, I wanted something just a little bit “more” for chicken. See, chicken these days, especially boneless breast, really needs all the help it can get. And although this chicken might be marinated longer than you typically see chicken marinated, it still isn’t marinated as long as some of the other proteins. So to compensate for all of that, I upped the volume on these Spiedies.
You’re gonna want to use the grill for this recipe, so I’ve included a couple of tips I’ve picked up over the years. Serve your Spiedies with a little reserved marinade, or maybe a garlic lemon sauce. From what I’ve heard, never with anything else. No ketchup, no mustard, no cheese, etc. On the side, you can’t go wrong with fries or onion rings; or maybe a leafy salad, Syracuse Salted Potatoes or coleslaw or maybe my Classic Potato Salad, Instant Pot or Not.
In Other News:
We had our Spiedies for the Fourth of July, which if you’re not from the States is a celebration of our Independence Day. The Revolutionary War started in 1775, ended in 1783, and Independence Day is when the Declaration of Independence was publicly declared, announcing we were no longer subjects of the English crown. To celebrate, there are community events, people have reunions, picnics, and barbecues and many gather at dusk to watch fireworks.
Kraig, his girlfriend Tweety, and I spent the afternoon at Historic Fort Snelling at my son Kraig’s suggestion, a place I’d have never have thought to visit. I was surprised at how well done everything was. As someone on Trip Advisor said, “This site does a great job offering deeply researched multicultural histories that give a fair perspective on a location important to many peoples over generations of history.” Some of the photos came from Trip Advisor.
There were some special programs, reenactments, lots of interesting rooms to visit and wonderful historians who volunteered. I especially loved talking to a very informative woman in the Dred Scott room and visiting the kitchen in the Commander’s House. Unfortunately, the nearly unbearable heat, humidity, and my legs did me in and I had to duck inside the visitors center so I missed several programs. The “kids” enjoyed every minute they spent there and I browsed the bookstore, resisted buying every historic cookbook they had and watched a film in their dark, cool theater.
Making New York Chicken Spiedies:
When you make Spiedies, you’ll marinate them in what is basically an Italian Vinaigrette (and the vinaigrette in this recipe is fantastic on salad, too) and you’ll want to marinate them for a good, long time. Don’t skimp on the oil in the marinade; it helps prevent the high acidity from “burning” the meat. While sometimes, we think fresh herbs are going to make everything better, my sister gave me the tip years ago to use dried. There’s an intensity that just doesn’t come through with fresh. Measure those herbs into your hand and lightly crush them to help release any essential oils into the marinade.
I marinated the chicken three days, much longer than many cooking authorities recommend for any chicken marinade and they turned out beautifully; some people marinate the other proteins even longer. If you don’t have that much time, don’t sweat it; they’ll still be fantastic, even with a few hours of marinating. This recipe is a good contender to double or triple and prep ahead – just portion into Ziplocs and freeze and as the chicken thaws, it marinates itself. Whatever you do, make more of these than you think you need, especially if you have big appetites. We decimated close to three pounds between ourselves, first in sandwiches and later by just nibbling chicken cold from the fridge. And there was a little debate over who got what was leftover!
Use a two-zone fire on your charcoal or gas grill to get gorgeous, juicy results. You’ll sear and caramelize the chicken over the hotter portion of the grill for gorgeous color, then move it to the cooler area if needed to cook all the way through. You’ll likely get more “burnt” edges with a charcoal grill, more caramelized with a gas grill; both are good! These will only take a few minutes to cook. Check the chicken in the center of the skewers, preferably with a thermometer, for doneness.
Preparing the Chicken for the Skewers:
Chicken breast is an odd shaped protein and these skewers cook the best if the chunks are all about the same size. You’ll want them chicken chunks to be large enough on the skewers to caramelize and pick up some color without risking overcooking the chicken. Thighs are usually much thinner than breast meat. If you are using thighs, you’ll want to use all rectangular strips and fold them over on themselves as you skewer them.
I’ve included a pic and instructions on how to fudge the thickness by cutting the thicker portions into chunks and then cutting the thinner parts into strips to fold over when you skewer them. If you still have a good mix of larger and smaller pieces, put the larger ones on their own skewers and give them just a bit longer.
Saving Money on New York Chicken Spiedies:
Shop carefully for your chicken and know the highs and lows in your area; normally chicken will drop to a rock bottom low once a quarter or so. The larger family packs are generally less per pound so pick them up and portion in sizes your family will use and freeze.
When shopping for lemons, pay attention to the weight. Weigh several and pick the heaviest. As far as the herbs, look for packages in the produce section or check out the bulk herbs if your store has them. It really does pay to grow your own herbs in the garden or in pots. Bring them in when fall hits or just harvest and dry.
The rolls may be a challenge to find in some areas. Check your store’s bakery – their selection may be better and the prices are usually lower than the groceries “bread” section. I was able to find some nice rolls in the bakery section. Aldi has a nice, soft, hoagie type of a roll, and if you wish to go higher end, maybe check out brioche rolls. If all else fails, look for a good bakery hot dog bun.
New York Chicken Spiedies
- 2 to 3 pounds chicken breast
- 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- 2 lemons, one zested, both juiced (about 1/4 cup)
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed and minced
- 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon oregano leaves
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
- Soft hoagie type rolls or soft Italian rolls, if available
Prepare chicken by first cutting into generous strips, about 1 1/4 inch wide. From the larger, fatter area of the breast, cut across into cubes. As the breast thins out, leave in a rectangular shape of about 2 1/2 inches long; the idea is that the thinner, longer pieces will be folded in half and placed on the skewers. When done so, they should be about the same thickness and size as the larger cubes and cook more evenly. Place chicken in a large Ziploc bag and place bag in a container.
For the marinade, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice and zest, garlic, thyme, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Reserve about 1/2 cup of the mixture for grilling and serving. Pour the remainder over chicken and give it a quick massage then seal, squeezing out as much air as possible. Refrigerate at least overnight and preferably longer, up to three days, turning now and then.
When ready to cook, build a fire in your grill, leaving about 1/3 of grill free of coals, or set a gas grill to high, leaving one burner off. Remove the meat from its marinade and thread onto metal skewers, or wooden ones that have been soaked in water for 30 minutes. As you thread, fold over any of the longer, thinner pieces, smooth side out. The chunks can be placed quite close together. Discard marinade. Remove reserved marinade from the fridge and pour about 2 tablespoons in a small container to brush the finished spiedies with.
When coals are covered with gray ash and fire is still quite high or gas grill is hot (you can hold your hand 5 inches above coals for only a couple of seconds), place the skewers of meat directly over the flames. Cook the chicken quickly, but do leave it undisturbed, for about two to three minutes, or until it has begun to caramelize, brown and get crispy edges on one side, then turn and repeat. The total cooking time should be another five to seven minutes, so about 10 minutes total at the most. When finishing, brush the chicken with a little of the marinade.
If the skewers start to burn, or if the outside is crispy at its edges, caramelized and brown and still not cooked through, move the skewers over to the cool side of the grill to finish.
Rest the spiedies few minutes, then serve the skewers along with the rolls. Hold a roll in your hand, place the shewer in the roll and use the roll to wrap the chicken on the skewer and pull it off onto the roll. Serve with the rest of the reserved marinade on the side.
Note: if the olive oil in vinaigrette has hardened, just leave it at room temperature for a little bit, or set it near your grill where the heat will melt it in minutes.