Beach Barbecue Chicken

Don't let the number of ingredients fool you, this mouth-watering dish is worth the effort.

Last week temperatures hit over a 100 degrees and my daughter's softball team made an eight mile trek over the Santa Monica Mountains to Sycamore Cove Beach...mid-day...for fun.  

Parents weren't allowed (a very advisable tactic as I get tired driving eight miles, let alone hiking them). My job was to sit at home and hope she survived the adventure.  

Finally, at 3 p.m., I arrived at the beach for pickup. As I sat in the shade of a tree, I contemplated the trailhead and realized that if she made it out of the wilderness alive, she'd have to venture across Pacific Coast Highway. Now the hike seemed like child's play, and I began to hyperventilate.

As I was sitting there, I began to smell the most amazing aroma. Biding his time on the beach was one of my fellow parents.  

Now in my world (aka my house) men don't cook, but apparently other dad's do, and I wandered over to see what he was up to.

This fellow is from Hawaii and apparently they take their barbecue pretty seriously on the island.  He kept pulling out an infinite number of pieces of chicken from a mysterious looking bag of liquid. I swear it looked like he had all of Foster Farms in there. Their entire 12 foot square beach grill was covered with poultry. It smelled divine.  

I forgot all about the grueling hike. I forget about my first born child. I forgot about Pacific Coast Highway. My mind was busy making up silly puns like, "Why did the girl cross the busy road? To get to the chicken on the other side."

He shared with me the ingredients. When I asked him how long he marinated the meat, he said, "since Wednesday." The hike was on a Friday. I knew it had to be good.

Now, I will tell you that I do not have the patience to let anything marinate for three days. It's a nice idea for those cooks who have discipline or my grandparents who would prepare for a meal weeks in advance ("oh darling, you are coming for dinner on Monday? I'll put up the peas on Friday"), but I might have a breakdown waiting for the chicken to be "happy." Instead, I let it percolate overnight, and I must say, I was pleased with the results.

Beach Barbecue Chicken


  • 1 - 5 ounce bottle soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup Sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup Oyster sauce
  • 1 - 4 ounce tube, Gourmet Garden fresh ginger (yes, the whole thing)
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 5 - 7 cubes of Trader Joe's frozen garlic
  • sliced scallions
  • 1 Jumbo package of de-boned chicken thighs, skin on.


Place all your ingredients into a mixing bowl or measuring cup from a hand blender. Using hand blender, combine all ingredients well. Reserved 3/4 cup of marinade in a small container for later.

Place rinsed chicken into a large ziploc bag. Pour the marinade over the chicken. Remove excess air from bag. Massage the marinade over all the pieces, taking care to make sure it is spread evenly. Place in refrigerator overnight. In the morning, squish the bag again and flip over. Let marinate in the fridge until it's time to cook.

Preheat grill. Barbecue chicken. As the chicken finishes cooking, baste with the reserved marinade.

Serve with coconut lime rice (instant rice made with a can of light coconut milk and water and the juice of one lime).


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