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Sweet Tea-Brined Chicken

Photo: Hector Sanchez; Styling: Karin Olsen

Hands-on time 30 mins
Total time 2 hrs, 35 mins
Yield

Makes 6 to 8 servings

For the tastiest chicken ever, brine a whole cut-up chicken in the South's signature beverage--sweet tea with lemon.

Ingredients

  • 2 family-size tea bags
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1 small sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, halved
  • 2 (6-inch) fresh rosemary sprigs
  • 1 tablespoon freshly cracked pepper
  • 2 cups ice cubes
  • 1 (3 1/2-to 4-lb.) cut-up whole chicken

How to Make It

  1. Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a 3-qt. heavy saucepan; add tea bags. Remove from heat; cover and steep 10 minutes.

  2. Discard tea bags. Stir in sugar and next 6 ingredients, stirring until sugar dissolves. Cool completely (about 45 minutes); stir in ice. (Mixture should be cold before adding chicken.)

  3. Place tea mixture and chicken in a large zip-top plastic freezer bag; seal. Place bag in a shallow baking dish and chill 24 hours. Remove chicken from marinade, discarding marinade; pat chicken dry with paper towels.

  4. Light one side of grill, heating to 300° to 350° (medium) heat; leave other side unlit. Place chicken, skin side down, over unlit side, and grill, covered with grill lid, 20 minutes. Turn chicken, and grill, covered with grill lid, 20 minutes. Turn chicken, and grill, covered with grill lid, 40 to 50 minutes or until done. Transfer chicken, skin side down, to lit side of grill, and grill 2 to 3 minutes or until skin is crispy. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Cook's Notes

Total time does not include 1 day marinating time.

Also appeared in: Southern Living, May, 2011;