We eat a lot of chicken, and I am always on the lookout for new chicken recipes. My cut of choice is a skinless, boneless breast, due to its versatility and easy storage (yes, that’s important, just go with it). But we also grill a whole bunch as well, and the SBC just doesn’t hold up so well under that kind of cooking. I can only manage so many lemon pepper chicken breasts before I want to scream.
I will also admit that I am not terribly skilled with the grill, and very often, meat turned out dry and tasteless. I’m working on it, under the tutelage of Master Griller, er, my dad. He is truly fantastic, my friends, a grill savant. His barbecue is the best in the world, and I will happily ask him to work his magic if you come visit me. (Sadly, I can only seek to learn his technique as he will not share his sauce/glaze recipe with me, as I am a girl. Some traditions are concrete.)
Anyway. Some years back during a Food Network binge, I watched Sunny Anderson brine some bone-in chicken pieces before grilling, so I thought I’d give it a try. Her recipe consists of water, salt, sugar, and lemons, as seen here. I can tell you I’ve used this concept many times over, never exactly following the proportions, and it turned out great every single time. It’s juicy and flavorful and perfect.
This is the method to my madness. I fill my largest bowl with water (leaving room for the chicken), and mix in table salt about a half a cup at a time until the salt won’t dissolve anymore (approximately – go with your gut here). Then I add in a few tablespoons of sugar and pour in lemon juice (perhaps a half a cup or slightly more, depending on how much lemon flavor I want to come through). I dump in the chicken. I tend to use hind quarters, but any cut, particularly bone-in, will do. Then let it soak -the longer, the better.
The last trick to remember is to grill the chicken low and slow. This will reduce flame up and let the chicken cook evenly and thoroughly without the outside burning or drying out.
My whole family loves this chicken. And that’s saying something since my kids typically don’t eat chicken that isn’t in nugget form. This is truly a winner winner chicken dinner. (Yeah, I went there. But don’t let it stop you from trying the brine.)