Barbecued Chicken Halves - Brine Recipe

A memorial way to enjoy grilled chicken.

Our family’s favorite way to grill chicken is by using whole chickens cut in half sections rather than quarter sections or cut pieces.  Many times it is hard to find chicken halves in the grocers meat counter.  You can always have your butcher cut them in half for you (which means running through a saw) or you can buy whole chickens and do it yourself.  I use a large meat cleaver to whack down each side of the neck bone all the way down removing the tail as well.  This allows me to flatten the chicken a bit so I can make a good cut through the breastplate and thus cutting the bird in half.  Be sure to remove most fat pockets, unless you like a lot of flare-ups during grilling, and excess skin as well.  From here, its up to you rather to apply a brine or a rub, or maybe both as I many times do.

See How to Barbecue Chicken and Poultry

Today, I am using a good seasoned brine (marinade) and will reduce it down for a sop (mop) as well.  It is one I made up as I went along and if you do so too, be sure to get a good acid/salt to water ratio that will pump in the moisture and flavors. After you let it set in the refrigerator a spell, cook it on the grill as you normally do when grilling chicken.  Or you can see my many recipes and techniques I do if you desire.  Enjoy!

Brine for Barbecue Chicken
for 2 chicken halves

 First make a slurry to heat which will intensify the flavors.  Add to a large bowl:
5 garlic toes, sliced
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon Spanish or Hungarian paprika
2 teaspoons Sazon Completa (which contains the salt)
1 teaspoon granulated onion
1/4 teaspoon ground bay leaves
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

Heat in the microwave for 2 minutes. Stir to mix and add:

2 cups ice water
2 chicken halves placing meat side down.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours.

Remove chicken to a pan meat side up and sprinkle with a light dusting of Sazon Completa. Let chicken set out for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, add the brine to a large saucepan and heat to a boil.  Reduce to low and simmer until liquid reduces to about 2 cups.

Stir in 1/3 cup ketchup (and 1 teaspoon liquid smoke if desired). Allow to simmer for a few minutes and remove from heat.

Use this sop to mop on the chicken as it cooks. Use all of the sop and place the garlic on top the last 10 minutes of cooking if desired.


  1. I'm not that keen on flare ups, so I'll follow your advice. Love the bay in the brine!


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