Sweet Tea Brined BBQ Chicken

Sweet Tea Brined BBQ Chicken

Chef Jared Gierisch



Preparation Time: 4-24 hours
Cooking Time: 40 minutes
Makes 4 portions


  • 1 qt water

  • ½ cup brown sugar

  • ¼ cup kosher salt

  • 6 black tea bags 

  • ¼ cup julianne onion

  • 1 lemon, sliced

  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed

  • 1 tbsp black pepper 

  • 4 lbs bone in chicken

  • ½ cup BBQ sauce


  1. Bring water to a boil. Add the sugar and salt and allow to completely dissolve. 

  2. Add the tea bags and allow tea to brew for 5 minutes. Remove the tea bags.

  3. Add the rest of the ingredients except the chicken and allow the liquid to cool completely .

  4. Once cooled, add the chicken to a large zip lock bag and add the liquid. Place in the fridge for at least 4 hours, ideally for 24 hours.

  5. Remove the chicken from the brine and pat dry. Allow to air dry for 10 minutes before grilling.

  6. Light the grill to medium heat and oil the grates. Place the chicken skin side down for about 3 minutes and turn over, repeating on the other side.

  7. Remove from the grill and place on a sheet pan. Baste with your favorite BBQ sauce.

  8. Cook in a 350°F oven for 20-30 minutes or until the chicken reaches 165°F.

  9. While the chicken is cooking, keep on basting the chicken with BBQ sauce. 

  10. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

  • If you prefer to grill the chicken the entire way, try this method:

Light one side of grill, heating to 300°F to 350°F (medium) heat; leave other side unlit. Place the chicken skin side down over the unlit side and grill, covered with grill lid, for 20 minutes. Turn the chicken and grill it, covered with the grill lid, for 20 minutes. Turn the chicken and grill it, covered with the grill lid, for 40 to 50 minutes or until done. Transfer the chicken, skin side down, to the lit side of grill and grill 2 to 3 minutes or until skin is crispy. Be sure the chicken reaches 165°F. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

  • If you want to use boneless chicken, reduce the brine time to no more than 4 hours