Inspired by countless restaurants, this version of Monterey Chicken can be grilled in no time with it’s two-ingredient marinade and super simple topping.
Per the name, combine melted Monterey pepper jack cheese and smokey bacon with honey-mustard chicken for the ultimate weeknight dinner.
Serve with a classic pico de gallo and a squeeze of lime. Dinner at home will feel like a night out!
What is Monterey Chicken?
A popular menu item at restaurants such as Chili’s and Bonanza, the chicken breast is first marinated in honey mustard, grilled over a hot flame, topped with bacon-fat onions, crispy bacon, and pepper jack cheese, and cooked until the cheese is melted to perfection.
Why do you butterfly the chicken?
Butterflying the chicken is a useful technique to ensure an even thickness throughout the entire breast. Since the surface area of the chicken is greater, it will cook more quickly and evenly, producing a juicy breast every time!
Why do you baste the chicken?
Reserving a bit of the marinade and basting the chicken while over direct heat will reduce the sauce even further, creating a luscious crust and extra smokey flavor.
Where is the cooler side of the grill?
The cooler side of the grill is also referred to as indirect heat.
If using a charcoal grill, build the fire under only half the grill to create two zones. If using a gas grill, leave one burner off.
This is your cooler side or indirect heat, where you will grill the onions as the residual heat will slowly cook the onions without them burning to a crisp. The hotter side, or direct heat, is where you will cook the chicken as we want the chicken to cook all the way through, while also creating a char on the surface of the meat.
Alice Springs Chicken
Alice Springs Chicken is an Outback Steakhouse recipe and is similar to Monterey Chicken. The chicken is marinaded in honey-mustard sauce, then topped with mushrooms, bacon, and cheese. Find the recipe here!
Monterey Chicken Recipe
- 1/2 cup Dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup honey
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast trimmed (about 1 pound)
- 4 slices bacon cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 6 ounces pepper Jack cheese shredded , (1 1/2 cups)
- 4 slices red onion
- Lime wedges for serving
- Pico de gallo for serving
To marinate the chicken:
- In a small bowl, whisk together mustard, honey, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Reserve 1/4 cup mustard mixture for basting chicken. Transfer the remaining mustard mixture to 1-gallon zipper-lock bag.
- Working with 1 piece of chicken at a time, and start at the thickest part of the breast, cut chicken in half horizontally, stopping 1/2-inch from the edge so the halves remain attached.
- Open like a book and place in bag with mustard mixture. Repeat with remaining pieces of chicken and toss to coat. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes or up to 1 hour.
To make the bacon:
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until crispy, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain on paper towels and cool to room temperature (reserve bacon fat).
- In a small bowl, toss bacon with Pepper Jack cheese. Toss onion rings in reserved bacon fat and set aside.
To grill the chicken:
- Preheat grill over high heat until hot; reduce heat to medium high. Clean and oil cooking grate.
- Place onion slices on cooler side of grill. Grill chicken over direct heat, cover, and cook until lightly charred, about 5 minutes. Flip onion slices and chicken.
- Brush chicken with reserved mustard mixture, cover, and cook until lightly charred on second side, about 5 minutes.
- Remove onion slices from grill and move chicken to cooler side of grill. Divide onion rings evenly among chicken breasts. Divide bacon-pepper Jack mixture evenly over onion rings.
- Cover and cook until pepper Jack is melted and chicken registers 160 degrees, about 2 minutes. Transfer chicken to platter, tent loosely with aluminum foil, and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Serve with lime wedges and pico de gallo.
- 1/2 pound tomatoes cut into ¼-inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 jalapeño peppers seeded, stemmed, and finely chopped
- 1 teaspoons fresh lime juice
- Salt to taste