GINNA PARSONS: Brining makes chicken moist and tender

By Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal

Last week while both of my kids were at camp, my husband and I decided to try some new recipes. Originally, we’d planned to experiment with some beef, pork and shrimp dishes, since Mary doesn’t eat beef or pork, and Patrick doesn’t care for shrimp.
But wouldn’t you know it, I had a refrigerator full of fresh chicken, so we had to change our course and look in that direction.
I picked up the June 2012 issue of Southern Living magazine and was thumbing through it for an idea when I spied a picture of a plate of grilled chicken that looked divine.
The recipe called for brining the chicken for 24 hours, which worked perfectly for us, because we were looking for a meal to cook the next night. Husband Charlie gathered all the ingredients and had the chicken in the fridge brining in less than 10 minutes.
The next night he grilled it and it turned out just like the picture: crispy on the outside and moist and tender on the inside.
We served it with the four-minute microwave corn on the cob I wrote about a couple of weeks ago and a green salad.

Buttermilk-Brined
Grilled Chicken
2 cups buttermilk
2 cups cold water
1⁄4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1⁄4 cup hot sauce
3 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon freshly cracked pepper
1 small sweet onion, thinly sliced
1 lemon, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, halved
1 (3- to 4-pound) whole chicken, cut up
Whisk together first 6 ingredients in a large bowl until sugar is dissolved; stir in onion, lemon and garlic cloves. Place buttermilk mixture and chicken in a large zip-top plastic freezer bag; seal and chill 24 hours. Remove chicken from marinade, discarding marinade; pat chicken dry with paper towels.
Light 1 side of grill, heating to 300 to 350 degrees (medium) heat.
Place chicken, skin side up, over unlit side, and grill, covered with grill lid, 40 to 50 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted in thickest portion registers 165 degrees. 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.
Serves 6.
Ginna Parsons is the Daily Journal’s food/home/garden editor.