This sweet tea chicken was pretty much meant to be, given that I live with the Southern husband and all. Fried green tomatoes, creamy grits of all kinds and fried okra are just a few of the delicacies that came into my life when I married him, and of course along with those came the elixir of the South known as sweet tea. Iced tea anywhere south of the Mason Dixon line means sweet tea…perfectly brewed tea laced with sugar and often with a generous squeeze of lemon. And one day I thought what a perfect marinade that would make for summery grilled chicken, especially if the tea was laced with some pepper and rosemary to keep things interesting. Sure enough, it made for a tender, slightly sweet, slightly spicy plate of chicken deliciousness. Let’s make it!Give your grilled chicken a Southern taste by marinating it in a sweet tea mixture!Click To TweetYou start, of course, with a whole lot of sweet tea. The recipe at the end of this post includes the easy directions for sweet tea, or you can also use my friend Robyn’s recipe – click here for that one. You might want to make hers before you even start, just to have some lovely sweet tea to drink sip on while you are cooking.
Once you have the sweet tea brewed, you are going to stir in some salt and pepper, some rosemary, a lemon with its juices and some chopped scallions. Pour it all into a zippered plastic bag and pop in the chicken, and let the whole thing lounge in your fridge overnight.
Once suppertime rolls around the next day, fire up your grill to medium and grill the chicken for about 30 minutes – an instant read thermometer should read 160. The key to getting grilled chicken nice and tender is to grill it slowly and lovingly, and that goes double for anything that has any kind of sugar in the marinade, which includes not only this sweet tea mixture but pretty much any bbq sauce you can find. You want it to caramelize nicely, and if the heat is to high it will just burn off. So resist the urge to crank that grill up high!
Once the chicken is done, all that’s left to do is pop it on the plate – I like to include a few extra lemon slices for squeezing. As for what to serve on the side, I love this tomato peach salad…
…and to drink? Well, sweet tea, of course!Print
- 4 tea bags (regular black tea, like Liptons)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon pepper
- 4 scallions, roughly chopped
- 2-3 large sprigs fresh rosemary
- 1 lemon
- 4 bone-in chicken pieces (breast halves, legs, thighs or both)
- Bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Drop in the tea bags, remove from the heat and steep for 10 minutes. Stir in sugar until it is completely melted and allow to cool.
- Add salt, pepper and scallions. Roll the rosemary between your hands to crush the leaves and add.
- Cut the lemon in half, squeeze the juice into the tea mixture, then drop the lemon halves in.
- Pour the mixture into a plastic zipper bag and add the chicken. Seal the bag and put it in your fridge overnight, turning it over from time to time.
- Heat grill to medium and cook chicken (discarding marinade) until cooked – an instant read thermometer should read 160. Turn the chicken from time to time so that all sides are golden.
- Enjoy with a glass of sweet tea!