Prep 15 mins
Cook 2 hrs
Steven Raichlen's Brined Chicken I love the way Steven Raichlen, author of "The Barbecue! Bible," uses brining to tenderize meat and to add flavor. I also love the way the sugar in the brine caramelizes the chicken as it grills.
- 4 (6 -8 ounce) boneless skinless chicken breast halves
- 1⁄4 cup coarse salt
- 1⁄4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 12 whole black peppercorns
- 1 red chili pepper, thinly sliced
- 2 whole bay leaves
- 1 cup hot water
- 3 cups cold water
- 1 lemon, thinly sliced
- 1 small onion, thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled, then crushed with the side of a cleaver
- Rinse chicken under cold, running water and blot dry with paper towels. Arrange in a nonreactive baking dish.
- Make the brine: Place the salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, chili pepper and bay leaves in a large, nonreactive bowl. Add the hot water, then whisk until the salt and brown sugar dissolve; stir in the cold water. Let brine come to room temperature.
- Pour over the chicken and stir in the lemon slices, onion and garlic. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and let stand in the refrigerator for 2 hours, turning the chicken once or twice.
- Preheat the grill until coals are hot. When ready to cook, brush and oil the grate.
- Arrange the breasts on the hot grate, all facing the same direction, at a 45-degree angle to the bars of the grate.
- Cook the chicken over high heat, 4 to 6 minutes per side, rotating the breasts 90 degrees after 2 minutes on each side to create an attractive crosshatch of grill marks. (To test for doneness, remove a breast from the grill and poke the thickest part with your finger. It should feel firm to the touch.)
- Transfer the chicken to a decorative platter and serve.