What to Feed the Groomsmen? Grilled Chicken with Garlic Herb Marinade
I have the pleasure of providing lunch for my son Evan, and his 8 groomsmen this weekend. Visualizing the amount of food required for a group of hungry men brought me back to Evan’s high school and college days when I had to feed Evan and his friends after a swim meet. Swimmers require a lot of calories on any given day, and the amount of food they eat is phenomenal. Fortunately, the groomsmen do not have the same appetite as Evan’s teammates had. Yet in the back of my mind the question remained, what to feed the groomsmen? I went around and around about what food to order and finally came up with the idea of doing it myself and make sandwiches with grilled chicken and grilled flank steak.
Of course, it would be easier to order sandwiches from the venue, but the cost for sandwiches was equivalent to a 5 course meal. Additionally, the wedding venue is a resort in a rural area and there is no other place nearby to order food. Making the lunch myself, is the next best option. Fortunately, the venue is just over an hour away from home and I will have a full kitchen in my suite. These perks allow me to feel confident that I can cook everything at home and keep the food fresh once I am at the resort.
Even though it may seem like I am feeding an army, Evan gave me direction to keep the food simple without a lot of munchies with dips, salsas, and desserts. His concern is if there is a lot of food to munch on after they are all dressed, someone, himself included, will spill or drip on their clean and pressed white shirt or their new suit. I totally get that, and I do not want any spills on my gown either. Even at 28 years old spills happen, and white shirts and fancy new suits are an easy target. So, the menu is simple, make your own sandwiches with grilled chicken or grilled flank steak, lettuce, tomato, avocado and condiments on sourdough bread. On the side, only chips. No dip. No salsas. No dessert.
It may sound sparse, but I know the sandwiches will fill them up and keep the groom and groomsmen satiated well past the wedding ceremony. Everyone appreciates having a nice lunch, but the focus on Saturday afternoon is not the food, it is the bride, the groom and getting ready for their upcoming wedding.
Because the menu is limited, and for a special occasion, I wanted to provide sandwiches made with real meats, not processed cold cuts. Garlic and herb marinated, grilled chicken and steak make delicious sandwiches that are not the usual fare. Especially when they are made on Evan’s favorite bread, Joe’s Dough sourdough batard. Between my husband’s homemade sourdough bread and my marinated and grilled meats, both of us contribute to the meal that gives the groom and groomsmen something special to eat, even though it’s only a sandwich.
The marinade is a basic one, with lots of garlic and dried herbs, mustard, vinegar and olive oil. Chicken, especially boneless, skinless chicken breasts, get mushy if they marinate for too long so I keep that time period for a maximum of four hours. First, I pound the chicken flat then season both sides with Kosher salt. Then make the marinade. Once the chicken is coated in the marinade, it then rests on the counter for 30 minutes. Marinating the chicken at room temperature gives the seasoning a jump-start to penetrate the meat because the chicken absorbs the marinade faster when warm then when cold. After 30 minutes, I place the chicken in the refrigerator to marinate until 30 minutes before it is time to grill the chicken.
I have no qualms about letting my chicken rest on the counter at room temperature for 30 minutes because I have air conditioning and it is not too hot and humid. If you do not have air conditioning and it is hotter than hot, be wise and place the chicken in the refrigerator once it is coated in the marinade.
For even cooking I recommend pounding the chicken breasts with a meat mallet to an even thickness between two pieces of plastic wrap. The plastic wrap protects the chicken meat and prevents the chicken from sticking to the surface of your counter. Also, the chicken breast gets a nice flat surface to build a sandwich on.
Depending on the size of each chicken breast, cut the chicken breast in half on a diagonal. This way you get two pieces of chicken that will easily fit on the sandwich bread. Plus, you get enough for two grilled chicken sandwiches from one breast.
Mix it up
Making a sandwich with lettuce, tomatoes and avocado gives the option of making a grilled chicken salad instead of a sandwich. For people who eat a Paleo, or no carb diet, you can provide your guests with the food they eat without you having to make an extra dish.
Make the grilled chicken with either boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs. The photographs in the post, picture the sandwiches and grilled chicken made with grilled chicken thighs.
For vegetarian diets bring some extra cheese like mozzarella, or Munster cheese to make a cheese sandwich with the same vegetables used for the grilled chicken sandwiches. Or, make a salad with cheese. The cheese will also pair well with the grilled chicken and steak.
If the weather turns bad, sear the chicken on the stove using a grill pan, then finish the cooking in the oven. Add some chicken stock or white wine to the baking dish with the chicken to keep it moist and make pan juices. This makes a delicious grilled chicken dinner.
More sandwich recipes in my post, Easy Picnic Ideas for the Summer.
Make a sandwich with Sherry Marinated Grilled Flank Steak
Grilled Chicken with Garlic Herb Marinade
An easy grilled chicken recipe with a classic marinade of garlic and dried herbs. This recipe it easily prepared with boneless-skinless chicken breasts or thighs and makes delicious sandwiches.
Depending on the size of the chicken thighs or breasts you can get 5 to 6 sandwiches. I had a 2 lb (1 k) package of chicken thighs that totaled 5 chicken thighs. A decent serving size per sandwich is 4 oz (125 g) of meat. American chicken breasts are large and range anywhere between 7 - 9 oz (200 - 250 g).
See Notes for directions for stove top grilling method.
- 2 lb (1 K) boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs
- 1 tsp Kosher salt
- 3-4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 ½ tsp Dijon mustard
- 2 TB sherry vinegar
- 1 tsp dried onion flakes
- ¼ tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried rosemary
- ¾ tsp Worcestershire sauce
- ¼ cup 75 ml extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup chicken stock optional
Prepare the Chicken
If you are using chicken breasts, pound the chicken breasts with a meat mallet between two pieces of plastic wrap, until you get an even thickness. About a half-inch (1 cm) thick is ideal, but you do not what the chicken beasts to get torn apart. Place in a baking dish large enough to hold all the chicken.
Sprinkle kosher salt over the chicken thighs or breasts on both sides. Let the chicken rest in a baking dish just large enough to hold the chicken on the counter while you prepare the marinade.
Make the Marinade
In a small bowl, mix together the garlic, Dijon mustard, vinegar, onion flakes, oregano, basil, rosemary, and Worcestershire sauce until thoroughly mixed together. Add the olive oil and mix until well incorporated.
Pour the marinade over the chicken and turn the thighs or breast over to cover both sides of the chicken. Cover the chicken in the baking dish and rest on the counter for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes place the chicken in the refrigerator and marinate for a couple of hours.
30 minutes before grilling take the chicken out of the refrigerator and rest on the counter.
Prepare the Grill
20 minutes before grilling, prepare the grill according to your specifications.
When the coals are ready, push them over to one side to create two areas, one for direct heat and the other for indirect heat. Oil the grill.
Grill the Chicken
When the grill is hot, place the chicken top side down on the grill over the coals. Grill for two minutes then rotate the chicken 45° and grill for 2 more minutes. Turn the chicken over on the other side and repeat the same grilling process.
Transfer the chicken to the side of the grill with indirect heat and cook until the chicken is done, internal temperature 165°F / 74°C .
Remove from the grill and rest for 15 minutes.
Serve as is or make into sandwiches.
To make the chicken with a stove top grill.
Preheat the oven to 375°F / 190°C / Gas Mark 5. Position the rack in the middle position. Place a grill pan on the stove and turn the heat to high. Just before the pan starts to smoke, spray the pay with cooking spray. Turn the heat down to medium high and sear the chicken as directed using an outdoor grill, for two minutes then rotate at a 45° angle and grill two minutes more. Turn the chicken over to the other side and grill for two minutes. You may need to cook the chicken in batches.
Transfer the chicken to a baking pan just large enough to hold the chicken. Pour the chicken stock in the pan and bake the chicken until done. The juices from the chicken run clear when pierced with a fork and the internal temperature is 165°F / 74°C. Start checking for doneness after 10 minutes. Depending on the thickness of your chicken and if they are thighs or breasts, it could take from 10-25 minutes.
© 2018, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.