A Foolproof, Crowd-Pleasing Memorial Day Menu, Courtesy Of Chrissy Teigen

The models have yet to infiltrate the kitchen of Mandalay Bay for a less than glamorous Model Employee challenge, but we know it’s coming. And as any avid Chrissy Teigen fan knows, the Sports Illustrated pin-up is just as skilled in front of a stove as she is at looking sultry on a sandy beach. Whether or not Chrissy T. will get her hands dirty on next week’s episode, we figured she was the perfect person to craft a Memorial Day menu for our upcoming barbecues and boozy brunches–but we didn’t think we’d start drooling from just listening to her say the word “juices.”

From chicken grilled under a brick to Paula Deen’s potato salad, the Model Employee host talks about everything you need for a food-focused holiday weekend. If you’re already hungry, peep the full recipe for Chrissy’s foolproof, crowd-pleasing bird, sure to make you a few more friends this summer.

Tuscan Grilled Chicken Under a Brick
By Chrissy Teigen, courtesy of Fine Cooking, June 2012

1 large clove garlic (or 2, because I’m awesome)
1 Tbs. fresh sage
1/2 Tbs. fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
4 8-oz bone-in, skin-on chicken breast halves (try to get them all the same thickness!)
Extra Virgin olive oil
1 cup wood chips (preferably oak) (not MANDATORY, but def recommended)
Vegetable oil for the grill
4 bricks wrapped in foil
1 medium lemon, sliced into 4 wedges for garnish

In a food processor, pulse the garlic, sage, rosemary, pepper flakes, 1 1/2 Tbs. salt and 1 tsp pepper until finely chopped.

Pat the chicken breasts dry with paper towels. Lightly brush both sides of the chicken with olive oil and season each breast with 1tsp (or a little more because FLAVOR COUNTRY) of the herb salt. Let stand at room temp while you prepare the grill.

Prepare a gas or charcoal grill fire for direct grilling over medium heat. (350 degrees F.)

If using a charcoal grill, sprinkle the wood chips over the coals. If using a gas grill, use two layers of heavy-duty foil to make a V-shaped packet to hold the wood chips. Set the foil packet between the burners. Replace the grill grate.

Arrange the breasts skin side down on the grill, diagonally (for the pretty grill lines!). Put a brick on each of the chicken breasts.

Grill (covered if using a gas grill) until the skin is crisp and golden brown, 8-10 minutes (more if they’re super thick, duh). If flare-ups occur, move the chicken to a different part of the grill.

Remove bricks with mitts and flip the chicken over with tongs. Replace brick.

Continue to grill (covered if using a gas grill) until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thick part of the breast reads 165 degrees, about another 8-10 minutes more. (ORRRRRR slice into the middle with a knife to check for doneness, like we did. Broken thermometer!)

Transfer to a platter and drizzle with olive oil. Serve with lemon wedges and any remaining herb salt on the side 🙂

You will love. LOVE.


And don’t forget the sides! Chrissy is partial to potato salad, even if it’s an oft forgotten accompaniment to most bangin’ barbecues. Paula Deen makes everything better (with butter, natch), and her concoction, Texas Country Potato Salad, courtesy of Tom Perini, is no different. “Bacon, eggs, red potatoes, green onion, mayo… wait a minute. Yes, okay, it’s basically those deviled eggs having sex times with potatoes, but, hey, that’s a porn I would watch,” Chrissy writes on her food blog. For the full list of ingredients and telling photos of “little red potatoes” that are “swimming in a jacuzzi of seasoned water and BACON GREASE,” hop on over to So Delushious.

For the beginners out there who may be intimidated by the word “grill,” let’s slow things down a bit. What are Chrissy’s culinary essentials proven to whip any bland food item into something Paula, Padma, and most importantly, Guy Fieri, would love? Check out the video above, then head to your local supermarket ASAP to ensure your holiday weekend is done right. And if the weather doesn’t cooperate, there’s always tequila.

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[Photo Credit: Jen Marigliano for VH1]