Facebook LinkedIn Email Pinterest Twitter Instagram YouTube Icon Navigation Search Icon Main Search Icon Video Play Icon Plus Icon Minus Icon Check Icon Print Icon Note Icon Heart Icon Filled Heart Icon Single Arrow Icon Double Arrow Icon Hamburger Icon TV Icon Close Icon Sorted Hamburger/Search Icon

Grilled Coffee-Brined Chicken Breasts

Featured in our Backyard BBQ Guide
Ben Fink

Servings: four.

A shot of coffee in the brine gives chicken an unexpected, subtle flavor and an attractive mocha hue. Using wood chips is entirely optional, but the smoke gives the chicken an added dimension of flavor. Serve the chicken with your favorite barbecue sauce, if you like.

For more grilled chicken recipes, as well as tips for perfect grilling, visit the Guide to Grilling.


  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 3 cups water
  • 4 slices lemon (1/4 inch thick)
  • 1 Tbs. black peppercorns
  • 1 Tbs. mustard seeds
  • 1 Tbs. coriander seeds
  • 3/4 cup strong brewed coffee
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (6 to 8 oz. each), trimmed and rinsed
  • 1 cup wood chips (such as oak or hickory), soaked in water for 1 hour and drained (optional)
  • 2 Tbs. melted butter or olive oil

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 240
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 70
  • Fat (g): 8
  • Saturated Fat (g): 4
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 2
  • Cholesterol (mg): 115
  • Sodium (mg): 750
  • Carbohydrates (g): 2
  • Fiber (g): 0
  • Protein (g): 39


  • To make the brine, combine the salt, sugar, water, lemon, peppercorns, mustard seeds, and coriander seeds in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until the salt and sugar dissolve, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a medium-large bowl, add the coffee, and refrigerate until cool, about 15 minutes. Put the chicken breasts in the brine and set a pot lid or small plate on top to keep them submerged. Refrigerate them in the brine for 2 to 3 hours.
  • Heat a gas grill to high or prepare a hot charcoal fire. If using wood chips with a gas grill, pile them in the smoker box or in a smoker pouch (see How to Add Smoke to a Gas Grill). Run your grill on high until you see smoke. If using a charcoal grill, toss the wood chips directly onto the hot coals.
  • Drain the chicken and blot dry with paper towels. Lightly brush both sides with the melted butter or oil. Arrange the breasts on the grill at a 45-degree angle to the bars of the grate. Grill until they have grill marks, about 2 minutes, and then rotate them 90 degrees (to get a crosshatch of grill marks) and continue grilling for 2 to 4 minutes. Flip the breasts and cook unitl they’re firm to the touch, another 4 to 6 minutes. Serve immediately.


Rate or Review


  • user-3137149 | 06/12/2017

    Delicious flavor and something different. I think I would try and marinate for longer next time to get more flavor; I did about 3hrs.

Rate this Recipe

Write a Review

Delicious Dish

Find the inspiration you crave for your love of cooking

Fine Cooking Magazine

Subscribe today
and save up to 44%

Already a subscriber? Log in.


View All

Moveable Feast Logo

Season 4 Extras

Santa Fe, NM (509)

Settled at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Santa Fe, New Mexico is home to a culinary scene of mixed influences and Southwestern flavors and ingredients. In this episode of…

View all Moveable Feast recipes and video extras


Follow Fine Cooking on your favorite social networks