Cooking Tips
Your Chicken Needs Seasoning Pockets
Everything really is better with pockets.
Danielle Lapierre

You can achieve deeply seasoned grilled meat in a variety of ways. Two of those ways—marinating the meat before grilling and coating the outside with seasonings—work just fine, but they’re often only skin-deep. What if there was a way to get them to work even better? There is. Let me introduce you to seasoning pockets.

I was recently looking at Cook’s Illustrated’s new July/August 2021 issue, which includes a Grilled Chicken with Adobo and Sazón recipe that infuses the meat with deep flavor using these aptly named pouches of flavor. 

The process is pretty simple. When using chicken leg quarters, take a sharp knife and make three or four slashes: one or two across the thigh (depending on the size), one across the joint, and one across the drumstick. Each of these slashes should hit the bone.

illustration of making slashes in meat

Then take your seasonings and massage them deeply into the pockets and all over your chicken. Once your chicken is fully seasoned, toss it in the fridge for at least 3 hours before grilling to ensure that the seasonings have enough time to penetrate the meat.

But this method doesn’t just work for rubs. It can also be used for traditional marinades, as in Cook’s Country’s Grilled Mojo Chicken. The pockets allow for the marinade to get deeper into the meat than it usually would without them.

So the next time you have some chicken leg quarters sitting on your counter, before you season them, make sure that you cut some pockets for superflavorful meat.