Bourbon-Brined Chicken

READY IN: 2hrs 25mins




  • To make the brine: in a large nonreactive bowl combine the bourbon, salt, brown sugar, lemon slices, garlic, peppercorns, mustard seeds, coriander seeds, and 4 cups water; whisk until salt and brown sugar dissolve.
  • Trim any sinews or excess fat off the breasts; rinse breasts under cold running water, then drain.
  • Place the chicken breasts in a large zip-lock plastic bag; add in the brine.
  • Let breasts brine in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours, turning breasts twice so they brine evenly.
  • Set up grill for direct grilling and preheat to high—if using a gas grill, place all the wood chips in the smoker box or in a smoker pouch and run grill on high until you see smoke; if using a charcoal grill, preheat it to high, then toss all of the wood chips on the coals.
  • When ready to grill, drain the brine off the chicken and blot the breasts dry with paper towels; discard brine.
  • Lightly brush both sides of the breasts with the melted butter; brush and oil the grill grate, then arrange chicken breasts on the hot grate, placing them on a diagonal to the bars.
  • Grill the breasts for 2 minutes, then rotate them a quarter turn to create an attractive crosshatch of grill marks.
  • Continue grilling the breasts on that side for 2 minutes longer.
  • Turn breasts over and grill until cooked through, 4-6 minutes longer, again rotating them after 2 minutes to create grill marks.
  • **The total cooking time will be 8-10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the breasts.
  • Test for doneness—poke a breast in the thickest part with your finger; it should feel firm to the touch; or to be safe, you can insert a thermometer in one end—170° is done.
  • Transfer grilled breasts to a platter and serve at once with your favorite barbecue sauce.