Margarita-Brined Chicken

Southern Living

Soak chicken in a citrus-and-tequila-spiked brine to infuse Latin flavors and keep the chicken moist as it cooks. Pat the skin dry before grilling, and start skin-side down to ensure it gets good and crispy. Feel free to sub orange juice for tequila and lemons or oranges for limes, and be sure to grill extra citrus for a pretty and functional garnish.

Makes 6 servings


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1 cup water
1/4 cup kosher salt
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 cup cold water
1/2 cup tequila
3 tablespoons orange zest
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
3 tablespoons lime zest
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
6 bone-in chicken breasts
Vegetable cooking spray
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 limes, halved
Garnish: fresh cilantro


Hands-on: 25 Minutes
Total: 46 Minutes

1. Bring first 3 ingredients to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Boil, stirring occasionally, 1 to 2 minutes or until salt and sugar dissolve. Remove saucepan from heat; let stand 10 minutes. Pour mixture into a large bowl; stir in 1 cup cold water, 1/2 cup tequila, and next 4 ingredients. Submerge chicken in brine; cover and chill 6 to 12 hours.

2. Coat cold grill grate with cooking spray. Preheat grill to 350° to 400° (medium-high) heat. Remove chicken from bowl; discard brine. Pat chicken dry with paper towels, and brush skin with olive oil. Sprinkle chicken with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Let stand at room temperature 20 minutes.

3. Grill chicken, covered with grill lid, 40 to 45 minutes or until done, turning occasionally. Transfer chicken to a platter. Grill limes, cut sides down, 1 to 2 minutes or until charred. Serve limes with chicken.

Created date

June 2014