Brown sugar, maple syrup, dijon mustard, bacon, chicken. Need I say more? Oh and they’re served on a stick! Everything is more fun on a stick, don’t you think? And I think we all need a little more fun in our lives.
This is really a delightful way to grill chicken. The chicken gets so tender in its little bacon package! I love chicken tenders anyway but cover them in bacon and smother them with a maple syrup mixture and I’m drooling. (If you’ve never carved a whole chicken, the chicken tender is the piece right under the chicken breast.)
The mixture I baste with here is definitely more sweet than spicy, the perfect complement to the salty bacon. If you want them to be spicier, add a little more Dijon mustard. This is really a very forgiving recipe! The brown sugar and maple syrup caramelizes the bacon on the grill, giving the bacon the BEST texture.
You could serve this on the skewer at a backyard party or as a party appetizer or eat it with rice and veggies like we did for dinner. We also chopped up the leftovers for pasta the next day. It was divine!
You can make these on a gas or charcoal grill but of course, you’ll get a better flavor on charcoal. Start with the lid closed to cook the chicken, then grill with the lid off to crisp up the bacon without overcooking the chicken. Grilling anything wrapped in bacon takes a modicum of patience because grills definitely have hot spots, so be sure to stay nearby to flip them and rotate them around the grill so they get evenly crispy.
Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Tenders
14 organic chicken tenders (about 1.5 lbs)
14 slices applewood or cherrywood smoked bacon
14 bamboo skewers, soaked in water for at least four hours
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 Tbsp maple syrup
1.5 Tbsp Dijon mustard
- Preheat a charcoal (or gas) grill.
- Rinse tenders and pat dry with a paper towel. Insert the pointy end of a bamboo skewer into the more narrow end of a piece of raw bacon, letting the bacon lay on the cutting board. Set a chicken tender on top of the bacon, carefully inserting the skewer into the more narrow end of the chicken tender, pushing the skewer all the way through to the thick end. Pick the skewer up and carefully wrap the bacon all the way around the tender (it should be nearly fully covered), poking the end of the bacon with the bamboo. Push the whole package down an inch or two so it’s secure on the skewer. Set on a tray (I used a 9×13 baking pan) while you wrap the rest of the chicken tenders with bacon.
- Whisk together brown sugar, maple syrup, and Dijon mustard until smooth. Use a pastry brush to brush the mixture on the bacon wrapped chicken tenders, reserving about half the mixture for later.
- Grill for 5 minutes with the lid closed. Flip and baste with remaining brown sugar mixture. Grill with the lid closed for another 5 minutes. Remove the lid and continue to grill until the bacon is crisped up to your liking. You’ll want to flip them and move them around to ensure each tender hits your grill’s “hot spot” and gets perfectly crispy. Don’t walk away! We want beautifully crispy tenders, people.
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