A visit to Glen Falls in Highlands, NC is the inspiration for this Watermelon Glazed Chicken with Spiced Grilled Watermelon Slices
I went to Highlands in the mountains of North Carolina this weekend where, due a fortunate accident (a tree fell across the road about a mile from the parking area), we were able to see Glen Falls in relative seclusion.
It’s a spectacular three-tiered waterfall which drops about 700 feet in total and is, understandably, very popular. The tree had fallen the night before after a torrential rainfall. We were there early, before it was cleared, and few people chose to add the extra two mile round trip caused by parking above the tree and walking down.
It was beautiful and a uniquely special treat to see after a huge rainfall with no one else around.
As I gazed at the rapidly falling water, I found myself thinking about how I could share this with all of you? Which led my mind to watermelon. I wondered about cooking with watermelon instead of using it in a cold preparation. Then I thought, hmmmm, savory?
I went home, I did some research and some thinking and here it is: Watermelon Chicken!
Make a glaze with 4 cups of diced watermelon,
soy sauce, honey, a minced clove of garlic and chili sauce.
The chili sauce is optional. I found that the heat was softened by the sweet watermelon. If you skip it add a little lemon juice to cut the sweetness.
Whir it all together in a blender (or save yourself some cleaning and use an immersion blender in the pan you are cooking it in).
Then bring it to a boil and let it cook until is thick and reduced by half. About 20-30 minutes.
Now cook the chicken.
Prepare a charcoal or gas grill. Baste the chicken all over with the glaze and cook until the skin is browned and crisp. Watch the chicken carefully while you do this, turning it often and brushing on more glaze.
After the skin was cooked, I finished my chicken in the oven at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.
While the chicken was in the oven I grilled some more watermelon to go with it.
Cut watermelon into thick slices.
Then mix together lime zest, brown sugar and some cumin and rub it all over the watermelon.
Grill the watermelon for 2-3 minutes on a side until the sugar is caramelized and the watermelon is warm.
Serve the chicken and watermelon together.
This is genius, if I may say so!
WATERMELON CHICKEN AND SPICED GRILLED WATERMELON
For the Chicken
- 4 c watermelon diced
- 2 tbs soy sauce
- 2 tbs honey
- 2 tbs chili sauce optional
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 12 chicken legs
For the Grilled Watermelon
- 1-2 thick slices of watermelon
- ¼ c brown sugar
- 1 lime zest only
- ½ tsp cumin
Make the glaze.
- Put the watermelon, soy sauce, honey and chili sauce in a blender and puree. Place the mixture in a small pan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10-20 minutes until the mixture is thickened and reduced by half.
Cook the Chicken
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Prepare your grill.
- Brush the chicken all over with the glaze. Place the chicken legs over the hot coals and cook, turning often and brushing with the glaze, until the chicken is browned. Remove and test the temperature. It should be at least 160 degrees. If needed finish the chicken in the oven.
Grill the Watermelon
- Slice the watermelon into thick triangular slices, keeping the rind on.
- Mix together the brown sugar, lime zest and cumin.
- Spread the sugar mixture on all sides of the watermelon.
- Grill for 2-3 minutes on a side until the sugar has melted and the watermelon is warmed through.
- Serve the chicken with the grilled watermelon on the side.
Note: I used Lingham’s Chili Sauce which comes from Asia. Any commercial chili sauce will do as well. Sriracha is always a good option! If you don’t use chili sauce, add 1 teaspoon lemon juice to cut the sweetness of the melon.