Your Grilled Wedding Chicken Deserves Enough Time To Marinade

One protein comes up over and over again on wedding menus: grilled chicken. It's a crowd-pleasing, affordable meat that folks from many different cultural backgrounds and with different dietary restrictions can enjoy. Unfortunately, it also happens to turn out mediocre just as often. Who hasn't suffered through lukewarm, rubbery, flavorless chicken at one wedding or another? Fortunately, the key to the best grilled wedding chicken is simple and doesn't require splurging on the most expensive cut or any exotic ingredients — it just needs adequate time to marinate, according to Mashed recipe developer Kristen Carli.

When chicken is just tossed onto the grill with a quick dusting of salt and pepper, it can quickly become overcooked while remaining under-seasoned. Carli says marinating the chicken in a flavorful solution will "elevate the typical dry chicken you receive at a wedding." Carli's recipe for this marinade consists of crushed ginger, sliced serrano peppers, crushed cloves of garlic, apple cider vinegar, fish sauce, tamari (or standard soy sauce), olive oil, salt, and pepper. Carli recommends allowing the chicken to soak in the briney mixture for at least 12 hours in the fridge. This will allow the marinade to both hydrate and flavor the chicken.

How to get the most out of your wedding chicken

Allowing your chicken sufficient time in the marinade is essential, but can you marinate chicken for too long? Perhaps surprisingly, the answer is yes: Chicken can marinate for up to 24 hours (this may even be recommended in some recipes), but if left in a marinade for much longer, the meat's fiber will start breaking down, leaving you with mushy, badly textured chicken. For that reason, err on the side of caution and stick to 12-24 hours. Additionally, ensure that all of the chicken is fully submerged, or you may be left with dry patches and unevenly seasoned meat.

Looking for easy and delicious sides to pair with this dinner main? Carli loves to serve it with a green salad and traditional mashed potatoes. Worried about leftovers or, even worse, wasting food at your wedding event? After cooking, this chicken can be kept for up to three days in a refrigerated, airtight container, so be sure to pack it up afterward and send it home with guests.