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Dry-Brined Grilled Chicken by Early Morning Farm CSA

Summer is right around the corner and so is the first 2014 CSA Pick-up!  We’ve been rounding up our favorite recipes, and in the summer our fresh veggies are the perfect compliment to any barbecue.  Especially one that includes local pasture-raised meats!  This moist grilled chicken would go well sliced warm or cold in a salad, like our Grilled Kale Caesar Salad or as a main dish with veggies on the side.  Local pastured meat is worth seeking our, you’ll taste the difference and you can feel good about purchasing meat that was raised within miles of your home.  Dry-Brined Grilled Chicken

Brining is a popular choice for chicken – it helps prevent dry flavorless meat.  I’m always interested in brining, but it requires a lot of prep work.  Heating a salt, sugar, spice solution, cooling it, and chilling overnight.  When I read about dry-brining I was sold.  Coat your meat in salt and pepper, let sit overnight and you’re good to go.  I even do something similar with steaks which hopefully I’ll get a chance to cover this summer!  This grilling recipe is modified from the famous Zuni Cafe Roasted Chicken method.  Whenever I season a chicken or pieces of chicken with salt and pepper, I always mix salt and pepper in a small bowl and then season the chicken.  That way I don’t have to keep stopping to rinse my hands and open another container.  Grab a couple sprigs of your favorite herbs from your garden.  I used rosemary and thyme, but sage, chives, tarragon, and other herbs will work here too.  Shove the herbs under the skin of the chicken, then coat with salt and pepper.

Dry Brined Chicken Breasts

Let the chicken sit uncovered (or if that freaks you out, loosely covered) in the refrigerator overnight.  The next day, no salt will appear on the surface.  Bring the chicken to room temp and you’re ready to grill.  If the chicken sits overnight there is no need to rinse, and it won’t be too salty. Either way, pat dry before grilling.

Dry-Brined Grilled Chicken Breasts by Early Morning Farm CSA

Grilling split chicken breasts which have the bone and skin attached, is a little more involved than the boneless skinless variety, but the flavor is worth it.  And the cost!  These are much less expensive then boneless skinless chicken breasts, and much more flavorful.  Heat your grill using the zone method, for a gas grill heat one side of the grill on high, and the other to medium low.  For a charcoal grill concentrate the heat to one side of the grill, and reserve one side for indirect heat.  You’ll switch the chicken between the direct heat side (for browning the skin) and the indirect side (to cook the inside).  The chicken is done when the juices run clear, or a meat thermometer pressed into the thickest part of the meat without hitting the bone reaches 160F.

Dry Brined Grilled Chicken

Dry Brined Grilled Chicken Breasts

Two (or more) Split Chicken Breasts

1/2 tsp kosher salt per chicken breast

2 sprigs of fresh herbs per chicken breast (thyme, rosemary, sage, tarragon, or a combination)

fresh ground pepper

Brine the chicken.  Mix salt and freshly ground pepper in a small bowl.  Place chicken on a clean plate or cutting board, then with your fingers wedge two sprigs of herbs under the skin of each breast.  This should be easy since the chicken is already cut.  Liberally season all sides of each chicken breast.  Loosely cover and let sit in the refrigerator over night.

Grill the chicken.   Remove chicken from refrigerator to let it get to room temperature.  Pat dry.  Preheat grill to high heat on one side and medium low on the other.  (every grill is a little different)

When the grill is ready, place chicken skin side down on the high heat side and grill with the lid open for 4-5 minutes.  Watch for flare-ups from the fat.  You can use a squeeze bottle of water to take care of them or just keep watch and move the chicken around.  When time is up move chicken skin side down to the low heat side and cook 6-7 minutes more with the lid closed.

Flip the chicken over, bone side down on the high heat side of the grill.  Cook on high side with the lid open 4-5 minutes, then on the low side with lid closed for about 6-7 more minutes.  Chicken is done when an instant read thermometer reaches 160F or the juices run clear.  Let chicken sit at least 5 minutes before slicing.

Hey Readers!

If you’re in the Northeast or Northern Atlantic States in the US, Be sure to check out our amazing, awesome, super unique recipe kit company called Green Fork! It’s like taking a CSA one step further – we use all the local bounty to create amazing ready to make recipes delivered to your doorstep! Click here to hear a customer review! 

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