Sweet Tea-Brined Chicken

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Sweet tea is so easy-breezy and summery, so we asked ourselves, “Why haven’t we ever tried cooking with it before?” Simply brew a batch of tea, add some seasonings and use it to marinate chicken pieces before grilling. Serve it with fast Orange Vinegar Vegetables and then savor this sunny meal.

Serves: 6
Difficulty: easy
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook time: 45-60 min
Inactive time: 5-24 hr
Special tools: grill


Sweet Tea Chicken
2 family-size tea bags
1/2 c dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 c kosher salt
3 fresh rosemary sprigs
1 T freshly ground black pepper
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 yellow onion, sliced
1 lemon, sliced
2 c ice
1 whole chicken, cut-up

Orange Vinegar Vegetables
2 ea yellow squash and zucchini, cleaned and trimmed, quartered lengthwise
1 yellow onion, cut into 1/4″ rings
4 heads baby bok choy, split
4 T extra virgin olive oil, divided
3 T orange vinegar* or other fruit vinegar
pinch salt and pepper
2 T fresh chives, chopped


Sweet Tea Chicken
Bring 1 qt of water to a boil. Add tea bags and remove from heat; let steep 15 min. Remove tea bags and add brown sugar, spices, garlic, onion and lemon. Bring back to a boil, remove from heat and allow to cool to room temp, approx. 1 hour. Add ice to tea mixture; place chicken in heavy plastic bag or bowl and cover with tea marinade. Refrigerate 4-24 hours (best overnight). Remove from marinade and mark chicken on hot grill; move pieces to indirect heat and close lid, cooking until internal temp of each piece reaches 165 degrees (legs and wings will cook in 30-40 min, breasts and thighs approx. 45-60 min). Let rest 5 min after removing from grill and serve with Orange Vinegar Vegetables.

Orange Vinegar Vegetables
Drizzle all cut sides of vegetables with 2 T olive oil. Mark sides briefly on hot grill and move to platter. Combine remaining olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper and chives, then pour over vegetables. Serve immediately.

*Orange vinegar is available in your Market Cheese Shop, or sub 2 T white wine vinegar or champagne vinegar, plus 2 t fresh orange zest and 1 T fresh orange juice.