Photo: Hector Sanchez; Styling: Karin Olsen
Hands-on Time
30 Mins
Total Time
2 Hours 35 Mins
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.

How to Make It

Step 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.

Step 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.)

Step 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.

Step 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.

Chef's Notes

Total time does not include 1 day marinating time.

Also appeared in: Southern Living, May, 2011

Ratings & Reviews


September 19, 2017
I just tasted the brine solution before adding the chicken and it seems ridiculously salty! Is it too salty? Should I leave it for less than 24 hours?

Mbkowen's Review

February 05, 2012

KimArnold3's Review

September 02, 2011
Would have been wonderful if it wasn't so salty.

obxgoer's Review

April 27, 2011
Yummy! All the family gobbled it up, and then couldn't believe it when I told them the marinade was tea. Will definitely do it again.

DawnDH's Review

November 12, 2011
Best grilled chicken I've had in a long time and so easy!

Sammiehigg's Review

October 11, 2012

smc0913's Review

May 22, 2012

trixieleigh's Review

May 11, 2011

AlisonHylton's Review

May 21, 2011

Kimberly3's Review

October 20, 2011