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.
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.