Grilled Chicken Legs with Basil and Mozzarella

This recipe is all about highlighting the natural flavors of really good ingredients. Good olive oil, fresh lemon juice, and the essential oils of freshly chopped herbs infuse the meat of the chicken leg quarters with amazing flavor, and then the chicken is cooked simply on the grill, topped with fresh basil leaves and mozzarella, and finished off quickly in the broiler. Easy, delicious, and a perfect summer recipe that won’t heat up your kitchen! This pairs well with a cherry tomato salad, and you may consider drizzling the chicken (or the tomatoes, or both) with some high-quality balsamic vinegar for an extra punch of acidity.


2 lbs chicken leg quarters, split into thighs and drumsticks

Lemon juice

Olive oil

2 cloves of garlic, smashed and minced

Fresh chopped herbs (i.e. basil, chervil, tarragon, etc)

Salt and pepper to taste

Fresh basil leaves, to top the chicken pieces

Fresh, high-quality mozzarella, sliced


Using the tip of a sharp knife, poke the chicken pieces all over so that the marinade will be able to penetrate the meat. Combine the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and fresh chopped herbs in a plastic resealable bag and then add the chicken, massaging the marinade all over to make sure each piece is thoroughly covered. Let sit in the refrigerator for at least one hour.

Preheat the grill to high heat. Generously sprinkle the chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Reserve marinade for basting. Sear the chicken pieces over direct heat for about 3 minutes per side, then reduce heat to medium and move them to indirect heat (i.e. not directly over coals or gas burners) and grill, covered, basting a few times with marinade and keeping the temperature at about 375F. The chicken is done when it’s barely cooked through, about 35-55 minutes, depending on the size of the pieces; the internal temperature (not touching the bone) should be about 160F (it will finish cooking in the broiler).

Top each piece with fresh basil leaves and a slice of the mozzarella; place under the broiler briefly to get the cheese to melt just a bit, then serve.

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