Lemon BBQ Chicken (Cooks Illustrated/America's Test Kitchen)

Total Time
4hrs 30mins
Prep 4 hrs
Cook 30 mins

This is my version of a passed down family recipe that was voted best grilled chicken in Houston. I also used a little brining help from a great blog, Culinary Disasters. I am an amateur griller so Cooks illustrated helped me with the grilling techniques. For one of my first bbq chicken feasts, I did pretty well. My family LOVES it! For a newbie cook like me, I really enjoyed impressing everyone with crispy golden skin, juicy meat, and a lot of layers of flavor.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. In a medium stockpot bring the vegetable stock, 2 cups of water, salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, and bay leaves to a boil. Maintain a boil till all the salt and brown sugar has been dissolved.
  2. Once the brown sugar and salt have been dissolved shut off the heat and add in the remaining ingredients.
  3. Put the mixture in the fridge overnight to let it cool down. For the impatient people like me, setup an ice bath (an ice bath is basically taking a bowl larger than your stockpot and filling it with ice and putting the stockpot in that bowl). Once the liquid is cool add in the chicken breasts and let them brine for 1-2 hours. If the chicken floats, put a plate on top of em' so they're totally submerged.
  4. Now, combine lemon juice, oil, spices, garlic, herbs, shallot, and salt shake it up in a mason jar and let the marinade well, marinate. Maybe, mix up a cocktail or have a glass of wine while the chicken brines.
  5. Discard the brine, rinse chicken under cold water and dry with paper towels. Then put all the chicken in a bag and pour 2/3 of the marinade and put the chicken back in the fridge for 1 hour or so.
  6. Meanwhile, light a large chimney starter filled with charcoal and allow to burn until colas are fully ignited and partially covered with thin layer of ash, about 20 minute Build modified 2 level fired by arranging all coals over one half of grill, leaving other half empty. Position cooking grate over coals, cover grill, and let grate heat up about 5 minutes. Scraped grate clean and oil down the grate. Grill is ready when side with coals is medium-hot (you can hold your hand 5 inches above grate for 3 to 4 seconds).
  7. Start on the HOT side of the grill. Cook chicken on all sides over hotter part of grill until meat has faint grill marks, 6 to 8 minutes. (If constant flare ups occur, slide chicken to cooler side of grill and mist fire with water from spray bottle.).
  8. Move chicken, skin side down, to cooler side of grill, wit the thicker side of the breast facing coals. Cover loosely with aluminum foil, cover grill and continue to cook until breast temp is 150 degrees, 15-25 minutes longer.
  9. Brush bone side of chicken with glaze. Move chicken, bone side down, to hotter side of grill and cook until browned, 4-6 minutes.
  10. Brush skin side of chicken with glaze; turn chicken over and continue to cook until browned, 2-3 minutes.
  11. Transfer chicken to plate and brush with any remaining glaze. Tent with foil and let it rest for 5 minutes.
  12. Serve and ENJOY!