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Author Notes: AKA Pickle-Brined Special-Seasoning Mustard-Chicken (for the Grill). This is a really flavorful chicken recipe for backyard grills. The vinegar-y pickle flavoring is a perfect compliment to big appetites, hot grills, crisp drinks. The recipe is also highly variable, you don't need to follow the brine or rub seasoning exactly if you don't want to, but do be sure to use plenty of the rub, once you have used more than you are comfortable with is likely when you've reached a good stopping point. There's also a food-desert version of this recipe, which is to brine the chicken any way you can (or not) and slather French's yellow mustard and Lawry's seasoning salt on it, then grill away. —Tommy James
Makes 1 chicken
- 1 Jar, non-vinegar pickle juice (like Bubbie's), worth per 1-2 chickens depending on deepness of pickle juice taste desired
- 6 tablespoons Raw Coconut Vinegar or another high quality vinegar
- Water, enough to cover chicken parts
- Raw Garlic, crushed (optional, two cloves or to taste)
- 6 tablespoons Sucanat Sugar
- 3 pinches Kosher or Maldon style salt
- Water, filtered preferred
- 6 tablespoons Kosher or Maldon Salt
- 2 tablespoons Sucanat Sugar
- 1 teaspoon Smoked or Sweet Paprika
- 2 teaspoons Tumeric
- .5 teaspoons Powdered Onion
- .5 teaspoons Powdered Garlic
- .75 teaspoons Corn Starch
- 6 tablespoons Stone Ground Mustard, reserved
- Take one whole chicken carved into pieces, halved, or whole deboned for brick-compressed cooking.
- Place the chicken in a bowl deep enough to neatly cover the chicken with liquid and not leave too much extra room and that can fit inside the refrigerator.
- Add pickle juice from the jar over the chicken, and reserve pickles in another container or plastic bag for snacking or other purposes.
- Add enough water to cover the chicken
- Add salt, sugar and vinegar and any other optional ingredients you want to add to the flavor: ground whole mustard or cumin seeds, bay leaf, crushed raw garlic.
- Mix the chicken and ingredients by hand, making sure to massage the flesh to note the firmness of the flesh.
- Let the chicken brine 4-5 hours in the fridge or until the flesh is sufficiently tenderized. Check at least once two hours to check the progress. You want to make sure that the chicken doesn’t become overly tender. If the meat is not tenderizing at all by 4 hours, allow more time or possibly add a little extra vinegar, sugar and salt.
- Combine rub ingredients into a bowl, crush salt and grind together ingredients with a pestle.
- Drain chicken and discard brine through a colander
- Let the chicken juices drip off, or pat dry.
- Take the dry rub and mustard and start to combine in a large bowl, balancing the flavors and using liberally. A whole chicken will need more of all the ingredients and pieces may need a little less. In general, you can use more than you think you’ll need as the grill will take off a good portion.
- Let marinate for at least one hour but up to four or five. If you are transporting the chicken to a grill, you can bag the chicken at this step into food safe plastic bags to simultaneously marinate and transport. If transporting to a grill, use cold packs or ice to keep chicken below room temperature.
- Heat grill on high to approx 400 degrees
- Place chicken on grill to sear the meatier side and let sit for 10-15 minutes, lowering heat after the first two minutes and then cover but closely monitor for the remainder of the time, allowing flames to lick up enough to sear but keeping an eye that the skin doesn’t stick too much. Jostle and slide the pieces carefully to free the skin if necessary.
- Flip the chicken, and repeat for another 20+ minutes. Keeping the chicken covered but closely monitored.
- Flip the chicken again and after a few minutes you can do another check, cutting into one of the thicker pieces if it’s looking ready. Remove right when the chicken starts to turn from pink so that it’s juices don’t dry out.