Sunday, September 27, 2009

Not Quite Alice Springs Chicken

Even if you are a food snob, there's probably some chain restaurant recipe that you had way back when that you still like today. You might not want to admit it, but you harbor that lust like a dirty secret. It really might not be the actual dish anymore, but the experience you had when you first tasted it and didn't know better like you do know.

Some of my favorites include Popeye's Biscuits (yes, it uses 7-up), Applebee's Fiesta Lime Chicken, and Outback Steakhouse Alice Springs Chicken. We used this recipe Alice Springs Chicken years ago, which is simple and easy to do in any kitchen. It was good back then and has lots of positive reviews. But I've changed it around some and this is what it has evolved to for us today.

Not Quite Alice Springs Chicken

2 ea chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
2 teaspoons poultry rub
1/4 cup honey mustard
4 oz mushrooms, sliced (canned or jarred works, but fresh sauteed are better)
4 oz black olives, sliced
5 ea bacon, cooked and crumbled into 1" or less pieces
1/4 cup green onion, chopped
1 cup colby/monterey jack cheese, shredded
parsley chopped for garnish

The original recipe called for letting it sit in McCormick's Seasonall (season salt) for an hour.

Instead we brine the chicken for an hour in a simple brine of 1 quart water, 1/4 cup salt, and 1/4 cup sugar. After brining, it is very important to flatten the breast to an even thickness of less than 1/2 inch. You can do this by pounding with a mallet but after brining for an hour, you should just be able to press it down with the heel of your hand.

Then rub the breast with the poultry rub. I use Poultry Perfect Rub that I make from the BBQ standard Smoke and Spice by Bill and Cheryl Jamison. But you could just sprinkle with some salt and pepper. Cut each flattened, seasoned breast into halves.

Grill chicken over direct heat at 350f for 4 minutes a side and remove from heat. You aren't trying to cook it through here, just get a nice sear and grill marks.

Switch to indirect heat (still at 350f) and brush each piece of chicken on both sides with honey mustard sauce. The linked recipe has a recipe for honey mustard sauce but I've tried it and prefer to use Ken's Steakhouse Honey Mustard Sauce.

Top each piece with mushrooms, black olives, bacon, green onion, and cheese.
If you are worried about how much cheese to use, just remember, a lot of it will melt and fall off.Roast indirectly at 350f for another 15-20 minutes until the chicken hits an internal temp of 160f.

Garnish with parsley or more green onions and serve with other pub food on game day. Today we served it with twice baked potatoes.

It came out so tender and perfectly cooked with tons of flavor packed on top. It ain't pretty but it's pretty damn good!

So, what is your favorite chain restaurant menu item and have you ever tried to make it at home?


  1. This looks really really good. Will save the recipe and give it a try. My little secret chain restaurant indulgence used to be Red Lobster Crab Fettuccini Alfredo. I shudder to think what all was in that stuff!

  2. I don't live in the US but have been many times to Applebee's when I was there... and I have never been disappointed by the food.

    I love melted with chicken and your dish sounds delicious!

  3. I re-create a lot of Mexican dishes from local restauants.

    This chicken looks WAY better than the Outback chicken - so do your potato skins. Looks like a mighty fine dinner.

  4. Wow what a feast! I will be trying this next weekend!Figtreeapps

  5. It's like a chicken pizza. I love this idea...

    funny question, I never was much of a cook until a few years ago. But I went to a fancy pants restaurant, and they served Parmesan cheese crisps as an appetizer. When I found out how easy they were (one ingredient, guess what), I started spending money on home cooking replicating restaurant quality and atmosphere. That was the moment I decided I wanted to be a foodie.

    Some Foodies are born great cooks, Some foodies achieve great skills and some foodies have to work every day to catch up.

    As always, Great photos

  6. Man - that looks and sounds great. We're always looking for ways to dress up chicken and that sure fits the bill. All the veggies and dairy and other stuff on top makes it healthier too. (LOL)

  7. That chicken is ready to trip the light fantastic in downtown Knoxville...or end on my plate and become a jay bird :O) I have to agree that would linger in my mind like the J. T. McCords Chicken with cheese, avocado and salsa a friend ask me to make from our wild hair salon days in the 80's...

    Now when I saw the word 'spring chicken' I thought maybe you had a birthday coming up, and felt a little old :)

  8. Be still myheart. This is incredible Chris. this is down for this weekend! Pray for no more rain!

  9. I have 4 cookbooks of "Secret Recipes" of restaurants.. My boast is that in no more than two tries, I will nail it! Always remember, they are in it for the money.. think cheap, use your taste buds, and do it! Sometimes their equipment is the difference, and with beef- they have access to Aged Prime(which we hardly ever see!)..
    Your food, to another foodie- looks great! I can taste the photo..It tastes like my computer screen, but I think you know what I mean!

  10. all the times I've been to outback, why haven't I had THIS?! yummy yummy (with an order of bloomin onion please)

  11. Great looking chicken. I admire your ability to pile on the goodies. I'd probably have to move the grilled breasts to a pan to get them topped like that.

  12. Oh wow! I can't begin to tell you how amazing this sounds!!

    I've tried a few copycat recipes from Carrabas, that I really like.

  13. This looks fantastic, my entire family would love this one. Perfect grill marks;)

  14. Only the purest of food snobs could love Popeye's biscuits! Because the are definitively LOVABLE! Though I admit I have not had one in a decade as I have not seen a Popeye's chicken in nearly that long. (Is there any In LA??) Anyway, that doesn't stop me from loving those biscuits, food snob that I am. GREG

  15. This looks astounding! I'm going to have to try this - without the mustard, though. I think I could get away with mayo or something instead. Thank you!


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