Buttermilk Brined Grilled Chicken

Weekend Grill Time

Weekend time is perfect time for serious relaxing and I can't think of any better way than grilling.

My grandmother brined a few chickens in her day, using buttermilk to soften the meat fibers with a few herbs for seasoning and what I remember, that is, what stuck in my mind, is that she added brown sugar too, a little something to sweeten the pot so to speak . It was some-kind-of-good-eating I mean to tell ya. This recipe is similar to what I remember her making and is based on one I found in Cooking Light a couple of years ago.

Brine the chicken up to 1 day before grilling in the refrigerator. And if you are planning a picnic, grill up to 1 day before serving (chill airtight and keep on ice until time to serve). Or transport the chicken in the brine when grilling on-site. Keep the meat well chilled in an ice chest until ready to grill.

Grilled Buttermilk Chicken

1 quart buttermilk
1/2 cup chopped shallots
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon chicken seasoning
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon pepper
4 to 6 chicken halves
    In a large bowl, mix buttermilk, shallots, garlic, salt, sugar, cumin, and pepper. Rinse chicken and pat dry. Trim off excess fat. Submerge chicken pieces in buttermilk brine. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours, or up to 1 day. Lift chicken from brine; discard brine. Wipe excess from chicken with paper towels. Lay chicken pieces on a barbecue grill over medium coals or medium heat on a gas grill (you can hold your hand at grill level only 4 to 5 seconds); close lid on gas grill.
    Cook, turning frequently, until browned on both sides and no longer pink at the bone (cut to test), 20 to 30 minutes.
    Serve hot or cold.


    1. I'm a big fan of brining chicken in buttermilk. It comes out so plump and tender - it's amazing. Love the seasonings in this brine. Another Drick recipe going into my recipe file!


    2. So glad I found your blog. I'm a huge fan of brining and this recipe is awesome. Never would've thought to add brown sugar. Love it!

    3. Your posts are not updating on my sidebar, so I decided to come over and see what you were up to. And I sure am glad that I did! This chicken looks fab and I can't wait to try it. Cheers, cher!

    4. Another winner right here, Drick! Could you bring a plate of this on over to my house, please sir?

    5. This brining must make the chicken incredibly tender...a perfect grill!

    6. I use a recipe similar to this, but much less salt and much less cumin. Cumin gives a strange flavor in my opinion. Also, I use 6 drumsticks and six thighs. The brown sugar is a nice addition. I also add a splash of red wine vinegar and a splash of lemon juice. Very good on the gas grill with indirect heat and mesquite smoker packs made from holiday cookie tins with a few holes punched into the lids. Takes about 50 minutes at 350 degrees. Turns out golden brown, tender and delicious!


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