New This Month

Basil-and-Black-Pepper-Brined Chicken


Cooking the chicken on the stove top beforehand takes all the guesswork out of grilling bone-in pieces. The brine, which does double duty as an overnight bath and a cooking liquid, infuses it with flavor and ensures it stays juicy. Recipe courtesy of Erin French, chef and owner of Lost Kitchen in Freedom, ME.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 6

Source: Martha Stewart Living, July/August 2016


  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • Coarse salt
  • 1/4 cup black peppercorns, crushed with a rolling pin, plus 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 1/4 cups packed fresh basil leaves, torn, plus sprigs for serving
  • 4 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces, or 1 whole chicken (4 pounds), cut into 10 pieces
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • Safflower oil, for brushing
  • Flaky sea salt, such as Maldon, for serving


  1. In a medium stockpot, combine 6 cups water, sugar, 1/4 cup coarse salt, and crushed peppercorns; bring to a boil. Remove from heat; add 2 cups basil leaves. Let cool completely; cover and refrigerate 30 minutes. Add chicken; refrigerate, covered, overnight.

  2. Bring chicken to a boil in liquid. Skim well; reduce heat and vigorously simmer until just cooked through and a thermometer inserted in thickest part of each piece (avoiding bones) reads 165 degrees, about 15 minutes. Transfer chicken to a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet; let dry, 45 minutes to 1 hour. (Chicken can be made ahead and refrigerated in an airtight container up to 1 day; bring to room temperature before grilling.)

  3. In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium, then add remaining 1/4 cup basil and ground pepper. Prepare grill for direct and indirect cooking; lightly brush grates with oil. Grill chicken over direct heat, turning occasionally, 5 minutes. Brush with basil butter and continue grilling until charred in spots and heated through, about 10 minutes more. (If flare-ups occur, or chicken is nicely colored before it's heated through, move to indirect heat.) Remove from heat and brush with more butter. Serve, garnished with basil sprigs and sprinkled with flaky salt.

Reviews Add a comment

  • blackfish5
    28 JUL, 2017
    This brined chicken is the easiest and tastiest make ahead dish for bbq and has become a favorite!