Grilled Lemon-Herb Chicken

chickengrilledWe grill all year round here in the foothills. Sometimes it’s a wee bit chilly, but not enough to stop us from making our favorite dishes which require outdoor grilling.

This is one that marries the joy of lemons with fresh herbs. Since most of my herbs winter over pretty darn well, I’m lucky. You may have to buy them at the store, but do use fresh, if at all possible.


  • 2 quarts warm water
  • 1/3 cup Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 4 whole chicken leg and thigh quarters
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, mashed with a pinch of salt into a paste
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice from about 4 lemons
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. To make the brine: Whisk together water, salt, and sugar in a large container until salt and sugar are dissolved. Cut 3-4 slashes down to the bone on skin side of chicken. Submerge chicken quarters in brine. Place container in refrigerator and brine for 1 hour.
  2. To make the baste: While chicken is brining, place olive oil and garlic paste in a small nonreactive saucepan over medium heat. When oil starts to bubble around garlic, remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes. Whisk in lemon juice, rosemary, thyme, oregano, and red pepper. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Remove chicken from brine, pat dry with paper towels. Heat up the grill for 15 minutes until hot if using a gas grill. Otherwise do as you normally do with charcoal.  Clean and oil the grilling grate. Place chicken over hot side of grill, skin side down. Cook until skin is browned and slightly crisp, about 5 minutes. Move to a cooler portion and cook until chicken is done, (165°). Baste every fifteen minutes or so with the baste. Bring remaining baste to the table for those who want even more. Otherwise the baste is actually a great vinaigrette for a salad.


NOTES: We use all thighs for this, because we like them better than legs. You can use any pieces you like, or a combination. Just note that not all types will cook equally fast, i.e, breasts cook faster than thighs generally.

SOURCE: Adapted from the MeatWave


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