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Saturday, February 24, 2024

Executive Chef Kenneth Arneson’s Grilling Tips and Grilled Chicken with Sweet Chili Plum Sauce Recipe

Executive Chef Kenneth Arneson “Chef Ken” – Point Hilton Squaw Peak

Chef Ken says: Grilling should not be confused with barbecuing. They are two very different styles and methods. With grilling, you want to start with high heat and adjust your temperature according to what you want to grill. With barbecuing, you start with low heat then work your way up.

On grilling chicken: Chicken is often referred to as the “red-headed stepchild of grilling.” Don’t discredit chicken because it’s easy to cook. This meat can be as complex and delicious as a steak. Here are a couple of important things to consider when grilling this noble bird.

  1. Chicken can be just as susceptible to additional flavors as seafood, therefore, stick with simple foundation flavors like the salt, pepper and garlic.
  2. If possible, grill with bone-in chicken. The bone aids in keeping your chicken moist during the long duration of the cooking process.
  3. Remember to cook your chicken to at least 155-160 degrees internal temperature.
  4. Medium heat is best when cooking chicken – it will cook more evenly. Otherwise you will get burnt chicken on the outside and raw chicken on the inside.
  5. Wait to sauce the chicken until the meat is three quarters cooked or roughly about 145 degrees internal temperature. This will keep you from overcooking your sauce.
  6. Rotisserie chicken: Take one whole fresh lemon, slice it thin and stick it under the skin as far as you can go and pair with some rosemary sprigs, parsley, and sliced garlic cloves. Then rub the outside with olive oil and kosher salt before putting it on the spit roster. Remember, medium heat is best because you are looking at about one to two hours of cooking time or until 155-160 degrees internal temperature. Injecting flavors is another method. Make a simple solution of water, oil, garlic powder and a hint of Worcestershire sauce and inject into the chicken breasts and thighs. Again rub the outside with oil and kosher salt before roasting.


Grilled Chicken with Sweet Chili Plum Sauce

  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 4 Hatch chili or Poblano chili – chopped
  • 1 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 4 ripe plums pitted and chopped
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp. light brown sugar
  • 4 pc bone-in skin-on chicken breast
  • 2 tbsp. canola oil


  1. Combine the chicken stock and chilies in a large saucepan; bring to a boil over high heat and cook until reduced by half – about 20-25 minutes. Strain mixture into a medium bowl.
  2. While the stock is reducing, combine the vinegars, granulated sugar, and plums in a medium sauce pan and cook over medium heat until the mixture is thickened and the plums are very soft – about 10-15 minutes.
  3. Puree the mixture in a blender or food processor until smooth and strain into a clean saucepan.
  4. Add the reduced stock to the plum mixture and cook over medium heat until reduced and sauce-like consistency. Stir occasionally during this process.
  5. Season to taste with kosher salt.
  6. Combine 2 teaspoons of salt and black pepper with brown sugar in a small bowl. Brush chicken with oil and season with the spice mixture on both sides.
  7. Grill the chicken skin side down until golden browned slightly charred – about 4-7 minutes per side.
  8. When chicken reaches an internal temperature of 155 degrees, remove from heat and ladle with sauce.
  9. Garnish with cilantro.


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