Two Men, Two Pits and a Blog

One For The Birds: Italian BBQ Chicken Breasts

I like birds. From the pretty tweety birds that sing from the tree tops come evening sunbeams, to the bald eagles who soar with FullSizeRender (5)magnificent ease high on the thermals. From the mama Cardinal roosting in the alders, to the Black Capped Chickadee flirting in the spruce. And unto the eerie wail of the common loons on camping trips into the far northern places. I like birds. I fancy the ducks – those marvelous mallards and dashing drakes who court the shores of Pond Side Pit, who seem always in a good mood, even when it rains. There is just something about bird life that has fascinated me for many years. Something in the way they go about business, that has contented me. Then I ran into this feathered bloke on one of my strolls through a local river hamlet. I called him Ed.

Ed wasn’t the best looking of birds. But then when you’re a Blue Heron, you don’t exactly get invited to beauty contests. No, you make your living in kinder, gentler circles, usually at the water’s edge, and usually with a keen eye for supper on the fin. Ed and I must have sat together for a half hour at least there, river-side, just watching the world go by. It’s odd to see a creature with so much patience, or maybe it was laziness, I’m not sure. That must have been what he thought of me also.  But I didn’t care. I just admired his innate ability to loiter. If only birds could BBQ, this chap would be one of the best. Speaking of BBQ birds, do let me tell you about our last cook out. Grab yourself a lovely beverage and we’ll meet back at the pit, and tell you more about it, and how it went and came to be.


No, these are not the breasts of a Blue Heron. These are the boneless versions of a nameless yard bird, or two, that I have never met. Sometimes I wonder if the previous owners of these once knew each other back in the day. Perhaps they were buddies who’d bandy together for a good morning’s cackle. Or maybe even enemies who would eat each others poop, cause that’s what chickens do, according to a Grandma I know. Regardless, they sure looked fine sizzling over the hot cast iron grate of my Weber kettle grill. Glory be, they smelled good enough to eat raw. I suspect that was because of the marinade.

The World’s Easiest Best Marinade

One part Italian dressing. 

One part your favorite BBQ sauce.

Like I said, simple. And nary have I ever seen it fail. Quite possibly the simplest one you’ll ever use. And the most fool-proof. It’s a rather popular one on the interweb right now, so we thought we’d give it a go. Anyways the notion is it let the meat marinate over night. Twenty and four hours is even better. Now I’ve heard places not to exceed four hours iffin your marinade has a high vinegar content, lest it morphs your chicken slightly rubbery as a result. But I guess the vinegar content of Italian dressing and Sweet Baby Rays BBQ sauce is not enough to awaken this anomaly. All I know is it works. And it works exceedingly well. No rubber chickens here.

FullSizeRender (4)

We chunked on the old, enameled lid, its handle soiled in the grease and smoke of a thousand cookouts. The draft soon engaged, and sweet tendrils of wood smoke curled freely into a pure, Minnesota sky. I sat back in my patio chair, left leg over right, and admired how nice the smoke looked, puffing against the green back drop of a summer’s day. The pleasantries of the pit were at full speed, people. The ambiance meter pegged out. Manly beverage within reach, soft tunes on the pit sound system, song birds aloft, hark, I could want for nothing more save for the sun to pause in its arc, if but to extend the moment here for the moment’s sake. This is where the pit keeper cultivates his patience, you see. That hallowed span of clock from whence the meat hits the grate with an anointing sizzle, to when the meat at long last enters your slobber-strewn mouth. The magic hour. Or hours if need be. Indeed, it is good for us to wait for something once in a while. In an instant download, drive-thru, microwave kind of society, who has got to have their wares delivered at once by the hands of haste, such an act of patience will encourage some, and down right astonish the rest. But a pit master proper can pull this feat off with aplomb. It’s in our blood to tarry where  meat is concerned. Just like that old, blue heron on the river bank. He could have been running all over the place that day, flying from one locale to another, but nay, he knew the value in waiting. The precious gold in a single strand of patience. And I admired him for it. There is much you can learn from those with wings. Yeah, I like birds. I like them quite a bit. And with that said, as the evening shadows creep over yonder fields, I think it’s time to finally eat this one!

Cheerio and Amen.


Twenty four hours, people, marinated in one-half Italian Dressing and one-half BBQ sauce, grilled over hickory, and kissed with sweet time. Man! Good eating, and good times, patron to the pit.


38 responses

  1. Chicken breasts look delicious. I am buying a new grill, love Weber, getting the Performer Premium I think. Can’t wait to start grilling.

    June 13, 2015 at 3:51 pm

    • Oh nice! I will be jealous of your grill then. That one is a beauty! Great to hear from you! Been a while.

      June 13, 2015 at 4:28 pm

  2. “The precious gold in a single strand of patience.” Beautiful. Well done, sir.

    June 13, 2015 at 4:20 pm

  3. Pingback: One For The Birds: Italian BBQ Chicken Breasts | Bones & Brew BBQ

  4. I like birds, too, but I love your writing. Cheers!

    June 13, 2015 at 9:03 pm

    • Marlene, thank you kindly for that. It is encouraging to hear. Many thanks.

      June 13, 2015 at 9:30 pm

  5. hmm… yummmy I like it… β™₯

    June 14, 2015 at 4:23 am

  6. I’ve also used the Italian salad dressing on fish and pork and with macaroni, hot or cold.

    June 14, 2015 at 5:22 am

    • Mmm, I bet that would be tasty. A versatile brew that Italian dressing. Thanks for chiming in Carl. Take care!

      June 14, 2015 at 2:05 pm

  7. WHAT?!?!? You still have the handles on your kettles? Ours broke a few years back. Inconvenient? Yep, but my grills just like my wife, ain’t the same young girl I married 29yrs ago my love had grown for her and I still relish the time we spend together.

    June 14, 2015 at 7:29 am

    • Well now that’s a lovely analogy. Wives are like bbq pits. They get better with age. Smell good when they get hot. Can still cook a meal when called upon. But their handles do tend fall off. We still love them tho.

      Your deep Mr Dodd. Grill on good sir.

      June 14, 2015 at 2:02 pm

  8. Howdy Patrons. Ever think about putting all your musings into a book? I do so enjoy reading them. Your prose alone causes me to slow down and smell the smoke. It’s almost a virtual cook every time I read one of your installments. I like it, and the chicken sounds (and looks) like a wonderful success. Carry on my friends.

    June 14, 2015 at 9:51 am

    • Thank you kindly Mr Quincho. Oh yes I’ve often thought of doing that. So you’re saying you’d fancy s copy if we did? I feel the same about your pit side musings. You’re perhaps my favorite bbq blog to read. But yeah I keep thinking about a book. Still not sure the process of making it happen, or exactly what to call the book. It’s not exactly a cook book what we write around here. More like the joy of Bbq with occasional recipes. Hmmmm.

      Thanks Mr Quincho!

      June 14, 2015 at 1:52 pm

      • I’d picture it as pitside musings, tall tales, poetic ramblings and philosophy. Not too flowery or precious, mind you. Just raw thoughts with beautiful pictures.

        June 14, 2015 at 5:31 pm

  9. PotP, quite the rhyming yarn on birds. I too enjoy birds, roasted, broiled, stewed, stuffed, all to a lovely GBD, golden brown and DELICIOUS. πŸ˜‰
    A hui hou, until we meet.

    June 14, 2015 at 10:25 am

    • Your sentiments are endearing, both to the soul and tummy alike. I like it when you chime in over here. Sort of classes up the place. Thanks Auntiedoni! A hui hou back at you, what ever that means!

      June 14, 2015 at 1:46 pm

      • A hui hou means “Until we meet”, and you are such the cutie patootie πŸ™‚

        June 14, 2015 at 7:01 pm

  10. Tarry on my friend. We can learn from the heron. Lovely bird!

    June 14, 2015 at 11:58 am

  11. You know, I use Italian dressing for a marinade all the time, never thought about combining it with BBQ sauce… I am so doing that!! Thanks!

    June 14, 2015 at 4:47 pm

    • Yeah I remember you saying that one time, about your affinity for Italian dressing. Well I’m here to tell you then, that mixing it with bbq sauce brings it to the next level. Very tasty!

      Happy Flag Day. Least I think it’s flag day today. I dunno.

      June 14, 2015 at 8:46 pm

  12. wwwpalfitness

    yum yum

    June 14, 2015 at 5:02 pm

    • Belch burp!

      June 14, 2015 at 8:46 pm

      • wwwpalfitness

        thanks for replying lol

        June 15, 2015 at 12:49 pm

  13. lifewithtiffney

    this looks so good

    June 15, 2015 at 11:47 am

  14. Good work! Agreed on aforementioned book idea. Yes, I’d certainly would buy a copy. Perhaps a few for Christmas gifts for my closest friends too. Shall I send a deposit? πŸ™‚
    Speaking of books, I highly recommend “Old boots and bacon grease”, by Ralph Winningham. An excellent collection of hunting camp recipes and stories.

    June 15, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    • Many thanks, TJ. I appreciate the encouragement. You’ve been supportive, inspiring, and encouraging right from the humble beginnings of POTP. No deposit necessary for you old boy. Yeah, I do want to cobble a book together sometime soon. The first one is always the toughest, like a brisket!

      Tight lines, TJ. Blessings to you, man.

      June 15, 2015 at 7:11 pm

  15. Great job again (as always). We love reading your posts and trying out your ideas on our own.

    We too love birds!

    About ten minutes away from our home here in San Clemente, EC (by boat) is the mouth of the Portoviejo river. Both sides of the river are lined with mangrove trees for several miles up river creating a remarkable habitat for water birds of all types. Come on down for a visit and I will take you on a pleasant voyage where you are sure to see thousands of birds, iguana, fish jumping, and life in abundance.

    June 16, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    • Wow, that sounds paradisaical! I could go for that. Yeah I bet you the bird life of Ecuador is a site and a half to behold. Probably hundreds of species that would be new to me, that’s for sure. You surely did pick a great land to retire to, sounds like.

      Thanks John and Mary!

      June 17, 2015 at 1:56 pm

  16. I have long been a fan of the easiest marinade out there … your favourite salad dressing (and there are some really good ones)
    Well done again my Smokie Brutha πŸ™‚

    June 16, 2015 at 2:47 pm

  17. Reblogged this on Mosquito Squad of West Michigan and Grand Rapids and commented:
    Father’s Day bbq is where its at!

    June 18, 2015 at 3:12 pm

  18. We, too have tried the BBQ Sauce and Italian dressing, and we agree whole heartedly on the result. We also use a marinade of ranch dressing and one of our rubs (see the blog), and it, too is OUTSTANDING! Love reading your stuff. Carry on PotP!!

    June 19, 2015 at 10:57 am

    • No kidding! I’ll have to try the ranch idea then. Thanks for chiming in!

      June 19, 2015 at 11:23 am

  19. Pingback: One For The Birds: Italian BBQ Chicken Breasts | My Meals are on Wheels

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