Sweet Ice tea is basically the “House Wine” that graces every Southern Table and it is enjoyed throughout the year, not just as refreshing drink fir the summer. For the tastiest chicken ever, brine a whole cut-up chicken in the South’s signature beverage–sweet tea with lemon. A brine will help make the meat more tender and juicy.Just a hint of tea, brown sugar, and rosemary makes an irresistible combination for the best grilled chicken you will find on this side of the Mason-Dixon Line.
Serves 6 to 8
6 to 8 single Orange Pekoe 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
One 3 1/2-to 4-pound cut-up whole chicken*
Olive oil, for grilling
Fresh rosemary, for garnish
Lemon wedges, for serving
Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a 3-quart heavy saucepan; add tea bags. Remove from heat; cover and steep 10 minutes.
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.
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.
On the next day, prepare a medium-high (400°F to 475°F) gas or charcoal grill fire.
Remove the chicken from the brine, pat dry with paper towels, lightly coat with oil, and sprinkle with a little black pepper. Grill the chicken without moving it until grill marks form, 4 to 6 minutes. Flip and grill until just cooked through (160°F), 4 to 6 minutes more. Let rest for a few minutes before serving.
Remove chicken from marinade, discarding marinade; pat chicken dry with paper towels.
Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
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.
You can used 2 large family- style Lipton Tea bag in place of the Orange Pekoe Tea Bags
Six to eight bone-in chicken thighs with the skin on can be used in the place of a whole cut up chicken.
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