Sweet Tea-Brined Chicken

For the tastiest chicken ever, brine a whole cut-up chicken in the South's signature beverage--sweet tea with lemon.

Reprinted from the book Feel Good Food by Southern Living. Copyright 2013 by Time Home Entertainment Inc. Published by Oxmoor House, a division of Time Home Entertainment Inc.

Sweet Tea-Brined Chicken

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    2 family-size tea bags 2 (6-inch) fresh rosemary sprigs
    1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar 1 tablespoon freshly cracked pepper
    1/4 cup kosher salt 2 cups ice cubes
    1 small sweet onion, thinly sliced 1 (3 1/2-4-lb) cut-up whole chicken
    1 lemon, thinly sliced Lemon wedges, to garnish
    3 cloves garlic, halved


    Prep: 30 min Total:
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    • 1

      Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a 3-qt. heavy saucepan; add tea bags. Remove from heat; cover and steep 10 minutes.

    • 2

      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.)

    • 3

      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. Remove chicken from marinade, discarding marinade; pat chicken dry with paper towels.

    • 4

      Light 1 side of grill, and preheat 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, 40 to 50 minutes or to desired degree of doneness. 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. Garnish, if desired.

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