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Sweet-Tea Brined Chicken

Servings: 6

You could mistake this brine for a lemony iced tea—hello, Arnold Palmer—and indeed, it imparts a similar subtle yet tart flavor. Grilled okra and cornbread make great accompaniments.


  • 5 oz. kosher salt (about 1 cup if using Diamond Crystal; about 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbs. if using Morton)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 cups strong freshly brewed black tea, cooled
  • 1 12-oz. can frozen lemonade concentrate
  • 2 cups ice cubes
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • Olive oil, for grilling
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 190
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 70
  • Fat (g): 8
  • Saturated Fat (g): 1.5
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 3.5
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 2
  • Cholesterol (mg): 75
  • Sodium (mg): 720
  • Carbohydrates (g): 3
  • Fiber (g): 0
  • Sugar (g): 3
  • Protein (g): 27


  • In a large saucepan, bring 2 cups water, the salt, sugar, and cinnamon stick to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar. Let cool to warm. Stir in the tea, lemonade concentrate, ice cubes, and lemon slices. Let the brine cool.
  • Put the chicken in a bowl or large zip-top bag. Add the brine, and let the chicken soak for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, prepare a medium-high (400°F to 475°F) gas or charcoal grill fire.
  • Remove the chicken from the brine, pat dry with paper towels, lightly coat with oil, and sprinkle with a little black pepper. Grill the chicken without moving it until grill marks form, 4 to 6 minutes. Flip and grill until just cooked through (160°F), 4 to 6 minutes more. Let rest for a few minutes before serving.


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Reviews (1 review)

  • DisneyBelle | 09/12/2016

    Another score from Fine Cooking! I really had some reservations about this recipe because I wasn't sure about sweet-tea and brine but WOW was the chicken moist, juicy, tasty....even my teenager said it was a keeper. We didn't try it with the okra and cornbread because we didn't have enough time to make the whole meal but the chicken was awesome

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