There is something about summertime that makes me feel compelled to grill up some kind of meat and slap it on a bun, surrounded by some fresh garden veggies. It is kind of irresistible to me.
You see – we can only grill in the summer. We don’t have a covered spot for either of our grills, so once it begins to get really nasty out, we pack them into the barn till spring. Theoretically, we could leave one of them in the nearer-by shop, light up some charcoal in the winter, and trudge across the frozen tundra with a plate of burgers, but instead I cook up a big pot of something like Chuck Steak Chili and we forget all about that idea.
This recipe reflects not only my compulsion toward burgers, but also my deep and abiding love for sriracha sauce. How did we ever live without this stuff? We are kind of hot sauce freaks. Just for kicks, I went and counted and there are 8 different kinds in the fridge – they take up an entire shelf in the door. [I think you have to have 10 bottles for it to be considered an obsession though, so we are good.] However, the biggest bottle is always sriracha, because buying the little bottles is just a waste of time, they are gone so quickly.
Marinating chicken in buttermilk is an old farmhouse trick – the acid in the buttermilk helps the meat stay tender and juicy, and it also helps sink the other flavors in the marinade deeper into the chicken. You often see advice about subbing regular milk with vinegar or lemon juice in it for buttermilk in baked goods, but that won’t work here – you need the real deal. Buttermilk keeps a very long time in the fridge – long past the expiration date, especially if you are going to use it for baking, so get some and use the rest for Buttermilk Cornbread, or Lime Buttermilk Bars or one of the dozen or so recipes on here using buttermilk. [okay, so maybe I'm a freak about buttermilk too]
You can use what ever you like to top your Chicken Burgers – bacon and cheese would be good additions, as well as sliced red onions, maybe some pickles, or hot peppers, but I kept things on the simple side with just some fresh lettuce from the garden, thick tomato slices and creamy avocado. Top it all off with a super simple sriracha mayo sauce, and you will be all set for dinner!
- 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, about a pound total
- ¾ cup buttermilk
- 1 - 2 tablespoons sriracha sauce
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- few grinds fresh pepper
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 1 - 2 tablespoons sriracha [ or more, if you like!]
- fresh lettuce, any kind, torn into large pieces
- tomato slices
- 1 avocado, pitted, halves and cut into slices
- [optional: crispy bacon, sharp cheese, sliced red onion, pickles, hot peppers]
- 4 brioche buns, or hard rolls - something substantial.
- Trim the chicken breasts of fat, etc. Lay on a piece of plastic wrap, cover with another piece, and gently pound until the breast is of a uniform thickness.
- Cut each breast into two pieces, as close to the same size as possible.
- in a pie plate, or other shallow dish, whisk together the butter milk, sriracha, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
- Lay the chicken pieces in the dish with the marinade, turning to coat both sides.
- Marinate at least 30 minutes at room temperature, or up to 8 hours in the fridge.
- Grill the chicken on a gas or charcoal grill, over medium heat, until done - about 6 minutes per side, until a thermometer reads around 160º in the thickest part.
- Remove the chicken to a plate and allow to rest for 5 minutes. This helps it stay juicy, and the internal temperature will go up another 5 to 8 degrees or so.
- Stir the mayo and sriracha together for the sauce.
- After 5 minutes, place the chicken burgers on the buns, and top with sauce and topping of your choice.
- Refrigerate any leftover chicken.
Fantastic – several of my favorite obsessions sandwiched inside a brioche bun!