A copycat version of Bourbon St. Grill’s famous Bourbon Chicken. Like the name suggests, this chicken is prepared with alcohol, but has a non-alcoholic version too! Tender, juicy chicken in about 30 minutes!
The first time I ever tasted Bourbon Chicken was from a food court restaurant called Bourbon St. Grill. The name of the restaurant is based on Bourbon Street in New Orleans.
The private school I work for used to be located in an office tower above a mall. We could visit the mall’s food court quite often. My friend, Lesli, was responsible for introducing me to Bourbon Chicken. I remember it being one of those pick two meats menu type deals. She convinced me to try the Bourbon Chicken as on of the meat options. It did not disappoint!
WHAT IS BOURBON CHICKEN?
To be frank, it’s one of the best chicken recipes I’ve ever had. It’s prepared with thigh meat, which you know is going to be really juicy and tender. The skin has been removed and discarded, so the final dish is not greasy at all.
The sauce, even though prepared with bourbon, does not taste like alcohol at all. It’s thick, but not gelatinous like most food court chicken dishes. And, it tastes slightly sweet, with garlicky, salty, tart notes.
In drink form, bourbon has a slight vanilla flavour. You can certainly smell vanilla if you stick your nose in the bottle! But, I tend to think that bourbon tastes more like caramel than it does vanilla. That caramel flavour is subtle, but you can taste it in the chicken dish for sure!
A SUBSTITUTE FOR BOURBON
We are not lovers of alcohol. In fact, just recently, I found numerous bottles of wine hidden in the bottom of our cabinet. I worked with a wine company back in late 2018 to develop a Christmas Citrus Cocktail. They shipped 12 bottles of wine to me. Those were the bottles I found. I forgot we still had them!
To the best of my knowledge, there’s only one other recipe at Lord Byron’s Kitchen that has alcohol. I made a Roasted Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Pasta dish back in 2018 as well. It has half a cup of white wine. So, today I’m breaking out the big guns with bourbon. It was time.
If you don’t have bourbon on hand, you can use any dark rum. The flavour profile will be quite similar. However, if you want to omit the alcohol completely, then use apple juice. It will work perfectly! But, pay attention to the type of apple juice you use.
If the apple juice is sweetened, but back on the brown sugar by half. If the apple juice is unsweetened, then proceed with the rest of the recipe just as it is written.
HOW TO SERVE BOURBON CHICKEN
I’m going to base my suggestions on the types of side dishes usually offered at the restaurant. In terms of food court sides, Bourbon St. Grill has one of the best rice dishes. That is why I paired my chicken with rice. It was rice cooked in vegetable broth and cup of frozen veggies.
Even though I love rice, when it comes to food courts, I’m all about getting noodles as a side. Easy Spicy Vegetable Noodles would be so good with this Bourbon Chicken. Also, Spring Rolls are a must! I have a great vegetable option that’s very easy to make. A simple side veggie is a great option too. Try this Garlic Broccoli!
When all is said and done, the star of this meal is the Bourbon Chicken. Everyone will love it. There’s no weird after taste with the alcohol. It all cooks down nicely into a beautiful and delicious sauce.
For the Chicken:
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch pieces (about 10-12 thighs)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
For the Sauce:
- 1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup light soy sauce
- 1/3 cup bourbon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
- 1/4 cup green onions, sliced
- In a large skillet, over medium heat, add the olive oil, chicken, salt, and pepper. Stir and cook the chicken until slightly browned. This should take about 8 minutes.
- In the meantime, add all of the sauce ingredients to a bowl and whisk to combine.
- Once the chicken is cooked, pour the sauce mixture into the skillet. Stir to combine and cook for 5 minutes or until sauce mixture comes to a low boil.
- Whisk together the cornstarch and water. Pour into the chicken mixture and stir until thickened.
- Remove from heat. Stir in the toasted sesame seeds.
- Plate and garnish with sliced green onions.