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Sticky Maple Bourbon Chicken Skewers

Ultra close up on the charred edges of the bourbon chicken.

Get ready for the food rush. Once you put these babies on the table, people will stop what they are doing to get one of these sweet, salty, buttery and deeply Sticky Maple Bourbon Chicken Skewers.

Overhead shot of 3 grilled chicken skewers on a small white plate, with sticky maple bourbon sauce drizzled over and garnished with parsley

Sticky Maple Bourbon Chicken Skewers

There is a game of backyard cricket going on, I am not sure who is enjoying it more, the kids or their Dads. Actually I do know, it is the Mums. They are all sat on my back veranda with a glass of wine just enjoying the down time. I’m in the kitchen, but not for long. The sticky maple bourbon glaze is ready, bubbling, filling the kitchen with a sweet smoky aroma of maple and bourbon, an oh so enticing scent of brown sugar and wood fire.

The chicken is brined and ready for the grill. I place the chicken skewers on the outdoor grill, they sizzle instantly and the rich smell of smoke fills the air. They don’t take long, a few minutes a side as they develop dark char lines and a golden hue.

The sticky maple bourbon glaze is drizzled over and I can’t resist a sneak taste. I choose the smallest, no need to be greedy now, I have made plenty. The sauce is perfectly sticky, not too sweet with a hint of salt, the background taste is the subtle smoky bourbon. And the chicken is so juicy, this is soft tender chicken that melts into the sauce as you chew. These are chicken skewers I would be happy to eat everyday.
I can’t help but smile, the people I love, together on a Saturday afternoon, a few glasses of wine and some delicious food.

Sticky maple bourbon sauce being drizzled over 3 chicken skewers.

How to keep you maple bourbon chicken skewers juicy

When you cook chicken on the grill there is a danger of it drying out. Especially when you use chicken breasts or chicken tenders.
That is when a simple brine comes in. A simple brine is just a salty water bath for your meat. The salt starts to denature the proteins and some of the water gets absorbed into the meat. The science geek in me wants to explain more 😉 but I will run out of space and probably bore you all silly. But if you want to know…..let me know below 😉
So when you cook the meat over a high heat, it won’t dry out.
Genius!!! Plus you can flavor your brine with whatever you feel like. Today it is just a simple salt and brown sugar brine. But I have a wonderful more in-depth brine recipe here.

I like to skewer the chicken onto wooden skewers and then soak them in the brine. This means they are ready to go on the grill and also soaking the skewers means they are less likely to burn on the grill.

Straight on shot showing the char lines on the bourbon chicken skewers.

Tips for making the maple bourbon glaze

The glaze needs to be thick, you want it to stick to the chicken. The trick is to get it thick enough to stick, but not so thick that you end up chewing toffee!
I like to just bubble the maple syrup and bourbon together until it has the consistency of heavy cream. This way it will pour nicely.
If you find it is getting too thick then you can carefully add hot water. Only add a small amount of hot water otherwise you have the risk of the sauce crystallising.

Enjoy xx

p.s If you love food on skewers check out all my other amazing skewer recipes:


Why not pin this recipe for these Sticky Maple Bourbon Chicken Skewers for later. Pin it here

Sticky bourbon chicken skewers on a flat white plate.
4.88 from 8 votes
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Sticky Maple Bourbon Chicken Skewers

Sweet, salty, buttery and deeply Sticky Maple Bourbon Chicken Skewers. These are a delicious finger food perfect for a party or watching the game. Or serve them with fries for dinner!

Course Finger Food
Cuisine American
Keyword BBQ, chicken breasts, kebabs
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 6 minutes
Brining time 1 hour
Total Time 11 minutes
Servings 20
Calories 53 kcal
Author Claire | Sprinkles and Sprouts

Ingredients

  • 2 cups hot water
  • 1/4 cup table salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 cup ice
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 4 chicken breasts - skinless and boneless
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

For the maple bourbon sauce

  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp bourbon
  • 1 tbsp salted butter

For garnish

  • Fresh parsley or thyme

Instructions

  1. Dissolve the table salt and sugar in the hot water. Once fully dissolved, add the ice and cold water, then transfer the brine to a shallow baking dish. (see note 1)
  2. Slice each chicken breast into 5 thin strips and thread each strip onto a wooden skewer.
  3. Set aside to brine for at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours.
  4. After the four hours, drain and pat the skewers dry.
  5. Drizzle with the olive oil and then grill over a medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes a side.

To make the maple bourbon sauce.

  1. Add the maple syrup, bourbon and butter to a small saucepan.
  2. Heat over a medium heat until bubbling and slightly thickened. (see note 2)
  3. The sauce will thicken as it stands.

Recipe Notes

  1. Use a baking dish long enough to fit your wooden skewers.
  2. The sauce should have the constancy of heavy cream.
Nutrition Facts
Sticky Maple Bourbon Chicken Skewers
Amount Per Serving
Calories 53 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 2%
Cholesterol 15mg 5%
Sodium 1448mg 60%
Potassium 90mg 3%
Total Carbohydrates 3g 1%
Sugars 2g
Protein 4g 8%
Vitamin A 0.5%
Vitamin C 0.3%
Calcium 0.6%
Iron 0.5%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

close up on the sticky maple bourbon sauce

Sticky Maple Bourbon Chicken Skewers Anecdote
(aka my recipe ramble for those who love the waffle)

I have to confess, I am think I might have a big bourbon problem!!!! I’m not kidding it is serious!

I am obsessed with using it in cooking! I just love the slightly smokey earthy flavour it gives your food. I have been using it in everything, from glazes, to marinades and to add a splash to a finishing sauce.

BUT, try having the bottle out at 9:30am…..that is a hard one to explain when Stew walks into the kitchen to make a coffee.

“oh yes, hi darling…..no I am not starting early….it’s for a recipe. Honest. Yes maple bourbon chicken…..you can have some for lunch….honest!”

Oh bourbon….you get me into trouble 😉 😉


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  1. Reply

    These look incredible! You know how there are cars that you need to get from point A to point B and there are cars that make you enjoy the road no matter how long it is? Well, this dish is the B type of dish – it looks incredible and I am sure it tastes even better. Fantastic work, Claire!

    1. Reply

      Thank you so much Helena, that is a such a wonderfully articulate way to put it 😀 😀 😀

    • Ann
    • May 13, 2018
    Reply

    That scene you set had me seriously dreaming! You totally described my perfect day.
    I love cooking with bourbon too and pinned these even before I got to the end of the post. LOOOVE 🙂

    1. Reply

      I am so happy to hear that Ann, I love describing the scene
      😀 Thank you for the pin to 😀

    • Bintu | Recipes From A Pantry
    • May 13, 2018
    Reply

    Sticky maple bourbon is definitely a most delicious and perfect accompaniment to chicken skewers – you’ve got my mouth watering!

    1. Reply

      Hehe, it really is a great combo isn’t it 😀

  2. Reply

    You said bourbon and maple – got me!! I love the combination and this would make a perfect BBQ party treat too. And this sounds so much lighter than some bourbon chicken.

    1. Reply

      Hehe, it is a combo that just speaks to people’s hearts isn’t it.
      Thank you Veena 😀

  3. Reply

    You had me at bourbon! These sound absolutely delicious. Definitely pinning to try.

    1. Reply

      Hehehe, bourbon is just the best isn’t it 😉

    • Shihoko
    • May 13, 2018
    Reply

    Sounds and look delicious. I am sure it is, I like sweet taste so drizzle maple bourbon must be delicious. It is interesting to know about brine. I do similar thing to make chicken breast moisture intact with Shio koji 😀

    1. Reply

      It really is a great combo.
      Brine is such a great trick for chicken. I will have to look into Shio koji 😀

  4. Reply

    Oh my, these chicken skewers look so delicious and tender! Perfect for BBQ and for the occasional dinner party we’re hosting 🙂

    1. Reply

      Thank you Natalie, they are always a favourite when we have friends over 🙂

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