Today, I’m considering turning my food blog into the only non-cooking food blog out there. I never want to cook again. I plan on living the rest of my life on cucumbers, sandwiches, sweet tea and frosty glasses of booze. Or at least until the temperatures in my kitchen fall below 90.
Living in an old house is a wonderful adventure. It also can bite the big one. Our kitchen has no walls and no A/C. So the only way we have to moderate the temperatures is to not turn the oven on and to only use the stove for short periods of time. We also keep it as dark as a tomb. Shades only get raised for pictures, then they’re closed again and we shuffle around in the darkness, praying that a cat doesn’t trip us.
I made pimento cheese the other day to post on the blog. It’s delicious. Two different kinds of cheese, piquillo peppers and all sorts of goodness. And it looks like it was made out of Velveeta, red construction paper and glue. It looks like a giant, gooey, orange hot mess. All because it is so freaking hot in our kitchen. So that recipe will come another day when I can make the pictures look as appetizing as they should. Instead, I want to talk about chicken. This delicious, amazing chicken.
It’s wonderfully moist and smoky and sweet and salty. The garlic, lemon, onion and tea add complexity to the brine that transfers to the chicken. It’s fabulous hot off the grill and it’s equally delicious when you sneak into the kitchen late at night, stand in front of the fridge to cool off and eat it like a thief in the night. It’s the perfect summertime recipe. You don’t have to heat up your kitchen and it is delicious. It also goes well with frosty glasses full of booze. What’s not to like about it?
Sweet Tea-Brined Chicken
Adapted from Southern Living
Makes 6-8 servings
2 family-size tea bags
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup kosher salt
1 small sweet onion, thinly sliced
1 lemon, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, halved
2 (6-inch) fresh rosemary sprigs
1 tablespoon freshly cracked pepper
2 cups ice cubes
1 (3 1/2- to 4-lb.) cut-up whole chicken
Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Remove from heat, cover and let steep for ten minutes. Discard tea bags. Stir in sugar, kosher salt, onion, lemon, garlic, rosemary and cracked pepper. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Cool completely (45min to an hour) and stir in ice cubes.
Pour mixture into a large zip-top bag. Add chicken to bag and let marinate in the fridge for 24 hours. Remove chicken from bag and pat dry with paper towels. Discard marinade.
If you are using a gas grill turn on the burners on one side, close the lid until the temperature reaches approximately 350 degrees. For a charcoal grill, place briquettes along one side and wait until they’re gray and no flame is present. Place the chicken skin side down on the grill on the opposite side of the lit burner or charcoal, away from the direct heat, and put the lid back on the grill. After 20 minutes flip them over and cook for another 40 to 50 minutes with the lid on. If you have a meat thermometer, the chicken should be at 160 degrees. Remove the lid and place chicken directly over the heat, skin side down to crisp the skin. Remove to a platter, let stand for 5 minutes and serve.