On The Grill: Marinated Chicken Breast With Crab Stuffing

By PAUL SIDORIAK

I get inspiration for grilling as well as acquire a tremendous amount of knowledge from grilling forums.  The Internet is such a wonderful resource for ideas, recipes and helpful techniques that have helped me numerous times in creating fun and wonderful tasting dishes.

A Big Green Egg grill forum I frequent recently challenged readers to a cooking throw-down where amateur foodies like me cook a dish based on a theme and post the results on-line for readers to vote on.  I thought the concept would be fun and challenging so I started thinking of what might be a unique dish to enter.

The theme for the cook-off was chicken and above and beyond that, there were not many other parameters to the throw down.  That, and that parts, or the entire dish had to be made on the Big Green Egg, of course.

Now, chicken is about as blank of a culinary canvas as I could have been handed.  Chicken is one of my most favorite meats to dine on, and also to cook.  But re-inventing the versatile meat and deciding what I was going to make left me feeling fouled out.  The forum holding the informal contest being one of my greatest forms of inspiration would not settle for simple kebabs, saucy chicken pizza, or boneless and slathered with barbecue sauce.  Instead, I went for a more passive-aggressive approach, stuffing the chicken with the makings of crab cakes and allowing each other to cross-pollinate flavors.

Marinated chicken breast ready for Crab Stuffing. On the Grill Recipe by Paul Sidoriak

Marinated Chicken Breast ready for crab stuffing

With a paring knife, I slashed open the center of the boneless, skinless chicken breast, exposing a deep divot that would be perfect for holding the crab stuffing, while preventing it from falling though.  The cut, raw chicken breasts went into a marinating vessel half full of Italian salad dressing for a few hours to take on flavor and keep the lean chicken juicy.

Crab stuffing for marinated chicken breasts - Grilling Recipe by Paul Sidoriak

Crab gingerly mixed with wet ingredients

I often use a canned lump crabmeat for my crab cakes because it is good quality and readily available.  The crabmeat comes predominantly in large lumps and when I incorporate all of the ingredients, I take special care not to break up those lumps.  Doing this allows for the crab to have various pockets and unevenness which I feel makes it cook more evenly while allowing for better flavor penetration from the grill.  Often crab cakes are so inundated with breading and fillers that they become a soggy, wet mess that smells of low tide on a hot day.  My crab cake recipe is simple and it allows the crab to be center stage.

Using a flat spatula and my fingers to stuff the chicken breasts, I make sure not to pack the crab or form it too tightly, but to allow the split in the chicken to cradle the crab on top for cooking.

Crab stuffing lightly packed into a marinated chicken breast - On the Grill with Paul Sidoriak

Crab Stuffing lightly packed into marinated chicken breast

The crab stuffed chicken breasts went on to my grill at about 350F.  Raised and roasting, it cooked for close to 40 minutes until I thought it was done.  I wanted to make sure that the chicken was cooked thoroughly, but at the same time I was going for a crisp, golden brown color on the crab stuffing as well.

Marinated Chicken Breasts with Crab Stuffing - On the Grill with Paul Sidoriak

Mid Cook, Crab Stuffing is Browning Nicely

I was very happy with how the crab-stuffed chicken turned out.  Both the chicken and the crabmeat can be bland on their own, but combining the two atop the grill brought flavors that complemented each other with many pleasant subtleties.  An extra added bonus was that we grilled off the additional crab stuffing like crab cakes for a yummy lunch the next day.

Grilled Crab Stuffed Chicken Breast - On the Grill with Paul Sidoriak

Grilled Crab Stuffed Chicken Breasts done and ready for plating

As far as how I faired in the contest, the votes have not yet been tallied.  But judging from the compliments I got around my kitchen, it was no contest.

Grilled Crab Cake with Grilled Asparagus - On the Grill with Paul Sidoriak

Pretty decent meal for leftovers- Grilled Crab Cake with Grilled Asparagus

Grilling Montana’s Crab cake

  • 1 can jumbo lump crab or fresh crab if you can get your hands on it
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 12 Ritz crackers, crushed fine
  • ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup Sriracha (or less based on your preference)

Combine all ingredients except crab, Panko, and cracker crumbs in a large bowl.  Whisk all ingredients together until you get a smooth, wet mixture.  Be sure to have the mayo and egg well incorporated.  Fold crab meat into wet mixture taking care not to break up the lump crab as best you can.  Sprinkle half the breadcrumbs and cracker crumbs on to mixture and fold again.  Repeat with remaining crumbs.  Form cakes with delicate care and try not to over handle.  Bake at 350 until golden brown 20-25 minutes. This also cooks fantastic on a grill over indirect heat. Baking on parchment paper is not a bad idea.

Marinating Chicken & Crab stuffing ingredients
Marinating Chicken &...
Wet ingredients for the crab stuffing
Wet ingredients for ...
Wet ingredients well stirred until smooth
Wet ingredients well...
Crab gingerly mixed with wet ingredients
Crab gingerly mixed ...
Marinated Chicken Breast ready for crab stuffing
Marinated Chicken Br...
Crab Stuffing lightly packed into marinated chicken breast
Crab Stuffing lightl...
Crab Stuffed Chicken Breast Goes On The Grill
Crab Stuffed Chicken...
Mid Cook, Crab Stuffing is Browning Nicely
Mid Cook, Crab Stuff...
Grilled Crab Stuffed Chicken Breasts done and ready for plating
Grilled Crab Stuffed...
Leftover Crab Stuffing turned into Crab Cakes
Leftover Crab Stuffi...
Crab Cakes Grilling on Parchment Paper
Crab Cakes Grilling ...
Pretty decent meal for leftovers- Grilled Crab Cake with Grilled Asparagus
Pretty decent meal f...

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Paul Sidoriak, grill masterPaul moved to Montana in 1996 with about a dozen friends from Lyndon State College in Vermont. He is still reluctantly paying his student loans and has carved out a career working as a supplier representative for various food and beverage products. Paul enjoys grilling after a day on the water or an afternoon in the garden where he has been known to grow heirloom tomatoes and peppers out of spite. Often cooking for extended family and friends, he takes a whimsical approach to cooking simple, seasonal dishes, while not taking it too seriously.

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