When it's BBQ season, I really love experimenting with different rubs and sauces. One of the most fun challenges I have in cooking is to see what I can come up with based on what's around. It's sort of like a puzzle and even if the results aren't always great, it's fun to experiment.
I had the chance to do that a few days on a family reunion camping trip. I was going to grill chicken over coals from our fire, and all we had was a steak marinade. I did a little snooping to see what we might have collectively. There was no oil and no spices, so that limited my options. The closest we could come for oil was butter, but I was hoping for something else, and in snooping, we found some Italian dressing. Perfect!
So then, I was on a quest to see what else we had. I remembered what we had in the cooler, so I sent someone off to grab a bottle of raspberry hard cider and decided to use that as the base. To that, I added about two tablespoons of chipotle mustard someone had brought for hot dogs, and then added the juice of one orange, since we had plenty of those. To all of that, I added about a 1/4 cup or so of Italian dressing.
The result was surprisingly tasty, so good in fact that I made it again today, though with regular hard cider. The raspberry/orange/apple flavors all go great with chicken, and the chipotle mustard added a nice bit of body and heat, spices from the Italian dressing add more flavor, while the oil helps to keep the chicken from drying out.
I've got some marinading right now, and I think it will be tasty dinner tonight, and one that I'll recreate many times over.
Here's my recipe:
1 bottle of hard cider
4 tbs Silver Spring chipotle mustard
Juice of one orange
1/2 cup Italian dressing
salt and fresh ground black pepper