Memorial Day Special: Tropical Rum-Glazed Chicken

May 27, 2017


We’ve had a spell of cool, rainy weather the last week or so. It’s been a bit of a buzzkill for those who have graduation parties (or ceremonies) on the calendar but at least it’s not snowing, for Chrissakes, like it did two weeks ago. That was spring madness, right there. It had to have been one of the latest snowfalls for Denver on record, and combined with the epic hailstorm we had in May, let’s just say that spring 2017 is keeping Coloradans on their toes.

The girls have been content to spend their first days of summer break quietly, drawing or reading indoors, with occasional breaks (between rain showers) to walk the Mozzerator or hit the backyard swingset, headphones firmly on ears.

I’ve been puttering in the kitchen, content to watch them from a kitchen window. I made a big batch of pasta salad to nibble on, and some homemade coconut and dried cherry granola that I’ll be telling you about soon. As for the upcoming Memorial Day holiday, we don’t really have much planned, for several reasons.

a) we leave for our Costa Rica/Europe/Road Trip adventures (respectively) in one week. We’re scrambling to get things organized and Jesus, the anticipatory laundry…

b) my husband is working extra hours so he can take off for said adventures, so why have festivities without him?

c) Daddy-o is in Russia at the moment, being entertained by the white nights and performances of Swan Lake and everything St. Petersburg has to offer, so why have festivities without him?

d) I’ve been flatlined by a rotten bout of tinnitus (and accompanying nausea/vertigo) and have been pretty bitter about it, so fuck festivities, man. I’m just hoping that the ringing and the constant irritation subsides before we leave. I’ve been hanging off the side of the bed, tilting away, hoping to ease the dizzy spells.

With a little luck, we’ll have some sun by Monday, so if you’re inclined to bust out that grill and kick off summer with some sizzle and charcoal, I say go for it. While burgers and hot dogs are never a bad idea, if you want something a little more festive, give this chicken a try. It’s got booze in the glaze, so you know it can’t be bad! Plus, it’s got that tropical, island vibe going on that immediately whispers: party.

I’m going to suggest that you plan about an hour before you want to fire up the grill so you can give the chicken a quick brine. Chicken breasts, while convenient and a crowd-pleaser, can dry out quickly on the grill. Brining them in a sugar/salt/water solution helps keep that chicken juicy and tender. You also can use boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead of the breasts. In that case, you don’t have to brine them, but I usually do it anyways in case I wander off in search of a cocktail and forget about my chicken. Not that that’s ever happened or anything.

Whatever your plans are for the holiday, I hope you enjoy it with family and friends. Summer’s coming! Are you ready?



Tropical Rum and Pineapple Glazed Chicken

serves 4

slightly adapted from Fine Cooking

Brine the Chicken:

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup salt

2 cups warm water

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (6 to 8 oz each), patted dry


For the Rub and Chicken Prep:

1 tablespoon firmly packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne

kosher salt and black pepper


1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic

2 garlic cloves, minced

For the Pineapple-Rum Glaze

1/4 cup salted butter

1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon chile flakes

1/4 cup dark rum

1/4 cup pineapple juice

Brine the Chicken (one hour ahead):

Dissolve the salt and sugar in the warm water. Place mixture and chicken in a zip-top bag and refrigerate for one hour. Remove the chicken and pat dry.

Make the Rub and Prepare the Chicken

In a bowl, mix all of the spices, along with 1 1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Set the chicken in a baking dish and drizzle it with the oil. Rub in the garlic. Take the spice rub and rub it thoroughly on both sides of the chicken. Set aside for 15 minutes while you heat the grill to medium-high.

Make the Glaze

Combine butter, brown sugar, chile flakes, rum and pineapple juice in a heavy saucepan. Boil over medium-high heat until syrupy, whisking constantly, about 7 minutes.

Grill the Chicken

Oil the grate of a preheated medium-high grill. Grill chicken about 5 minutes, then flip and cook another 5-6 minutes or until chicken is done.  Remove from grill and drizzle glaze over chicken.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Annie May 27, 2017 at 2:17 pm

Ooh, I have a whole chicken to grill on Monday. This sounds like just the way to do it!!


Kel May 29, 2017 at 6:41 pm

That dish looks divine. Pineapple and rum? Uh, YES, please!

Also — have you tried this?


Annie May 30, 2017 at 4:57 am

I made this with a whole chicken and shared it with several neighbors- huge hit! Thanks for the wonderful recipe! I hope your crew had a wonderful long weekend too.


elizabeth May 31, 2017 at 6:30 am

Ooo–this sounds like it would be killer on a whole chicken.

The most we did over the long weekend was go to a graduation party on Saturday. Otherwise we cooked and wrote and did a few other things around the house, and it was fantastic.


Dawn in MI June 1, 2017 at 5:50 pm

This looks fabulous. AND it gives me an excuse to buy rum. Win win. Thanks for the recipe. And have a wonderful time on your adventure!


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