Jalapeño Buttermilk Brined Grilled Chicken
Hola!!! It’s almost the 4th of July and I know everyone is running around putting together their recipe lists for the holiday. I am. On my list this year…Jalapeño Buttermilk Brined Grilled Chicken. We usually try and do a little traveling this time of year but I think we’re headed to the lake with friends. We have a fairly tight knit group of friends (Ha! I typed fiends and my computer corrected me although fiends is probably a little more accurate!) and one of the couples has a place at the lake. We always have the very best time when we all get together. We’ve dubbed ourselves “The Sexy Six” because we’re terribly witty and clever and most of all very vain but we all get along so well. We also think we’re hilarious but I’m sure people on the outside looking in just think we’re extremely annoying.
When we spend the weekend at the lake we all bring enough food for an army and sit and stuff ourselves until we can’t fit another bite. It’s so much fun!!! So I’m thinking this recipe would be a good lunch, thrown on the grill for one of the days.
Aaannnnyyyywayy. I tested this recipe out the other day and fell in love. I’ve talked about my love of spicy and sweet together. I know you’re sick of it so I won’t keep reminding you. This recipe was perfectly centered in that category. I could have used more heat personally but since I was trying to feed the whole family I held back some.
I used a brine for the chicken this time. What exactly is a brine you ask? Well, there are two types of brine. A wet and a dry. A dry brine would involve rubbing the meat with a mixture of salt and herbs and spices (especially heavy on the salt…that’s the key) and letting it sit for about an hour per pound. Traditionally a brine is used on turkeys at Thanksgiving. A wet brine is more like a marinade but uses salt water with added spices. In this recipe I used buttermilk and water along with salt, sugar and some other fun stuff. I LOVED the way it turned out.
For the spicy element, I used jalapeño’s but I seeded and deveined them since I had small children eating. They were especially large (the jalapeño’s…not the children) and after handling them (again…not the children) my hands burned like the devil for hours which never happens. For that reason I didn’t add a large quantity as I assumed they were super spicy. They weren’t and looking back I wish I had left some of the vein and/or used more to get more of the pepper flavor. You’ll have to use your own judgment there.
Normally when I marinate meats I dump everything in a 1-2 gallon zip top bag. It’s so easy and there’s no clean up. So, I threw in the ingredients along with the chicken and stuck it in the fridge for about 48 hours. You probably don’t have to do it that long but I wouldn’t go less than 24 or you could even go a little longer if you wanted.
When I was ready to grill them, I placed them on a hot grilled that I brushed with canola oil, let them sit a few minutes and then turned 180 degrees to get a nice criss cross pattern of grill marks.
It worked on some and not on others since I have hot spots on my grill. When I flipped them over to do the same on the other side I brushed the cooked side with simple syrup. It gave the chicken a slightly sweet flavor on the outside and added a nice caramelized color and also added another layer of flavor to accentuated the brine ingredients. Very pleased. Very, very pleased! You really should try it if you’re grilling for the 4th. If you do, let me me know?
- 1 cup cold water
- 3 cups buttermilk
- 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 4 tablespoons salt
- 1 tablespoon cracked pepper
- 3 tablespoons worcestershire
- 5-10 dashes hot sauce (or more to taste)
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 1 lemon, thinly sliced
- 3 large jalapeño's, seeds and ribs removed for less heat (or more to taste)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced (I used garlic paste)
- 3 1/2 to 4 lbs chicken (I used skinless, boneless thighs)
- For simple syrup:
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- Over medium heat on the stove, bring 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar to a simmer for 2 minutes. Allow to cool. Set aside for later.
- In a large bowl stir water, buttermilk, sugar, hot sauce, worcestershire, hot sauce, salt and pepper until sugar is dissolved.
- Place chicken and buttermilk mixture in a 2 gallon zip-top bag.
- Add remaining ingredients and refrigerate for a minimum of 24 hours. (I kept mine in the brine approximately 48 hours.)
- Remove chicken and discard brine liquid.
- Heat grill to 300-350 degrees and brush lightly with canola oil.
- Grill chicken until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat reads 165 degrees turning from time to time and basting with simple syrup while cooking.
- Let stand 5-10 minutes prior to serving.