Kreny’s Hoisin Chicken

Time for a recipe break. With a long-delayed Spring finally arriving in our part of the world, it’s time to fire up the grill. While our son-in-law is a BBQ chef extraordinaire, I too have a few recipes that are family (and guest) favorites.

Corinne Chan Straume“Kreny’s Hoisin Chicken” is one such family tradition. “Kreny” (my college roommate and good friend, Corinne) taught it to me [insert codger voice] way back in ’75. Pete and I enjoyed it at the BBQ following our wedding rehearsal, almost 30 years ago. Then our daughter Karin, and her fiancé, Ian, requested I grill some Kreny’s Hoisin Chicken for their wedding rehearsal three years ago, not knowing we had done the same thing. Last year our other daughter, Teri, and her fiancé, Jeremy, asked me to make it for their wedding rehearsal dinner. Yes, it’s that good.

There are a several cooking hints here I’d like to highlight. One, I use meat tenderizer. This keeps the chicken tender and juicy. Don’t add it ahead of time, or you’ll end up with mushy meat—ick! Sprinkle it on just before you put the meat on the grill. Everyone will wonder why your chicken (and pork and beef) is so much better than theirs!

Another hint is to use a thermometer for cooking meat. While I can tell if chicken is done by how it “squidges” when I poke it, an instant-read thermometer takes the guesswork out of the whole business. You aren’t cheating. We learned this tip from a professional BBQ chef.

Finally, I add smoke flavoring to dishes that I’d like to grill, but can’t for some reason. When it’s below freezing outside, and the snow is flying, it’s very nice to take a break and enjoy a bit of summer with our dinner.

Kreny’s Hoisin Chicken

Chicken pieces (boneless or with bone)
½ jar Hoisin Sauce (I prefer Koon Chun brand)
¼ C catsup
2 Tbsp. sherry (Kreny’s dad used whisky)
Meat tenderizer (without salt)

Combine Hoisin sauce, catsup, and sherry. Slather chicken thoroughly. Put it into a large plastic bag, seal, and refrigerate at least 24 hours and up to 3 days, turning occasionally.

To grill, remove from marinade and sprinkle liberally with tenderizer.

Grill chicken, using indirect heat, until done (follow the directions that came with the grill). An instant-read meat thermometer is helpful to gauge doneness.

If you don’t have access to a grill, you can bake the chicken at 350ºF for 45 min (boneless chicken breasts) to an hour (bone-in pieces). Adding ½ tsp. smoke flavoring to the marinade helps give indoor chicken some outdoor flavor.

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