We are notorious for overcooking chicken on the BBQ around here. I just don’t cook meat all that often and or all that well, apparently. I think every time I’ve ever grilled chicken it comes out like the turkey in Christmas Vacation leaving us with nothing but chewy chicken jerky and a puff of dry, hot air. So, when I was paging through an issue of Fine Cooking that I’d picked up at the airport, I read every single line of the “How to Grill a Juicy Chicken Breast” article on my flight home.
In this recipe for Barbecued Buttermilk-Marinated Chicken Breasts, the buttermilk serves as a marinade that penetrates into the chicken by breaking it down with the acids in the buttermilk. It doesn’t take long (only about 20-30 minutes) to get that juicy, tender chicken we all long for. Not wanting another charred chicken flake, we gave this recipe a go. And for the first time, we had perfectly juicy, grilled chicken breast to top our Buttermilk BBQ Southwest Chicken Salad!
I am so glad I came across this recipe and I assume it’ll work great in many other flavored chicken situations; maybe an herby lemon chicken would be nice. We love a good SW Chop salad around here so this recipe for Buttermilk BBQ Southwest Chicken Salad in my new go-to. Plus, it doesn’t take too long and is pretty simple to prepare.
This is the original recipe for Barbecued Buttermilk-Marinated Chicken Breast from Fine Cooking. Below is my quick and easy recipe for Buttermilk BBQ Southwest Chicken Salad packed with juicy chicken, grilled corn, crisp lettuce, sweet cherry tomatoes, creamy avocado, hearty black beans, fresh cilantro and spicy peppers all tossed in a tangy and herby buttermilk dressing. The perfect weeknight salad in summertime.
*If you end up with leftover buttermilk, might I suggest using it in my Huckleberry Jammers, Strawberry Rhubarb Shortcake with Whipped Mascarpone or Nutella Banana Bread.
- buttermilk - 2 cups, shaken
- ground cayenne pepper - 1/2 tsp.
- salt - 1/2 tsp.
- freshly ground black pepper - 1/2 tsp.
- boneless, skinless chicken breast halves - 4-6
- olive oil, for grilling
- homemade or good-quality store-bought barbecue sauce -1/2 cup
- Buffalo hot sauce - 2 tablespoons
- buttermilk - 3/4 cup
- chopped cilantro - 2 tablespoons
- fresh squeezed lime - 1 lime
- salt - to taste
- pepper - to taste
- corn on the cob - 2
- olive oil - for grilling
- red leaf lettuce - 1 head
- cherry tomatoes - 1 cup, halved
- avocado - 1
- serrano or other hot chili peppers - 1
- black beans - 1 can
- cilantro - garnish
- lime - garnish
- In a small bowl, whisk the buttermilk, cayenne pepper, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1 tsp. pepper until combined.
- Put the chicken in a shallow dish. Cover with marinade, turn to coat. Let sit for 20-30.
- Meanwhile, prepare the grill by heating it on a medium-high until it reaches 400°F - 475°F on a gas or charcoal grill.
- Shake the excess marinade off the chicken and pat dry with a paper towel. Lightly coat the chicken all over with olive oil, season lightly with salt and pepper.
- Mix the BBQ sauce and hot sauce together.
- Grill the chicken without moving it until grill marks form on one side, about 3-4 minutes. Flip and grill for another 3 to 4 minutes until grill marks form. Brush the top side with spicy barbecue sauce, flip, and lather more on the second side. Grill until just cooked through (160°F), another 2 to 4 minutes. Let rest for a few minutes before slicing, serving and slathering with more BBQ sauce.
- Lightly oil the shucked corn cob and grill it over medium-high heat until it begins to char and caramelize, rotating to cook evenly.
- Once cooled, shave the corn kernels from the cob.
- Whisk together the buttermilk, chopped cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper and set aside.
- Chop the lettuce, tomatoes, peppers and avocado.
- Warm the beans.
- Toss the lettuce together with the dressing.
- Top with veggies, beans and grilled chicken. Spritz with a squeeze of fresh lime juice.
- The original recipe for Barbecued Buttermilk-Marinated Chicken is from Fine Cooking. I adapted it a bit here and incorporated the chicken into my recipe for Buttermilk BBQ Southwest Chicken Salad.