Sweet tea brined chicken

Smoked chicken is a favorite ’round these parts. In fact, if I was to rate our favorites, it would be:



3)St.Louis style spare ribs

4)Pulled pork

This chicken is pretty simple, really. Brine for 24 hours. Smoke for 1-1.5 Enjoy! Of course, there are a couple of decisions to make with regard to a couple of those steps. Tonight, I changed up the norm, in that I smoked with cherry as opposed to hickory. And I added crushed garlic and onions to the brine, much to my wife’s chagrin. She asserts that there’s nothing wrong with the chicken, and when she’s found how she likes it, she wants to keep it the way she wants it. But, I like change. I think I’m going to have to do it again, though, as the cherry wood changed the product more than I expected. Sorry, dear. 😉

Sweet tea brined chicken
Recipe type: Sweet tea brined chicken
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Brine with a southern accent delivers a bit of personality to your chicken.
  • Chicken (I prefer pieces, mostly because my family prefers dark meat)
  • 1 gallon iced tea
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup kosher salt
  • 3 lemons
  • Handful of rosemary
  • Thyme
  1. Using whatever method you choose, make iced tea. I, personally, only make iced tea using Luzianne tea if I have a choice. Using my iced tea pot, I make iced tea WITHOUT THE ICE. I usually make two pots, which is probably around a half gallon of stronger, hot tea.I do this so that the temp is up and it's easier to dissolve the salt and sugar. Once the salt and sugar are dissolved, I add ice, in order to reduce the concentration of the tea and bring the temperature down quickly. I then add rosemary and thyme, fresh if available, and then I'll halve the lemons and squeeze them into the brine. Add chicken and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Preferably, I remove the chicken from the brine an hour or two before preparing to put the chicken on the smoker. This gives the meat a chance to dry out a bit. I also like to let the meat come up in temperature a bit before adding it to the smoker.
  3. Bring the temperature up as close to 300 degrees F before adding the chicken. This helps you avoid the smoked chicken skin being tasty, wood smoked flavored bubble gum.
  4. Smoke wood can be a bit of a holy war. To date, I still prefer hickory. Tonight, I smoked my chicken using cherry, and wasn't prepared for how sweet it seemed to make the chicken. It was still tasty, just different from my normal hickory characteristics.
  5. Smoke the chicken to 165F, or a little better if you prefer.