whole food ~ well made

Grilled chicken dinner

Deluxe Grilled Chicken with Exotic Black Garlic

Great grilled chicken (well sourced and humanely raised) goes two steps better–brined and flavored with black garlic butter.

Grilled chicken is a summer classic. It goes with everything we love about summer–from a green beans to tomatoes to corn.

But getting to great isn’t always easy. And if you’re new to grilling chicken–or just want to get better at it–start with this post, 5 Sure-Fire Tips for Perfectly Cooked Grilled Chicken.

Chicken on grill
Step 1: brine, step 2: grill, step 3: rub

I know it will come as no suprise that I recommend buying pasture-raised chicken. Then, there are two other winning techniques…

To Brine or Not to Brine

Honestly, brining really is worth it. With poultry and pork, you get more flavor {though you can’t make up for flavor that isn’t there to begin with} and a juicier result.

Brining is like an insurance policy for great grilled chicken.

Here’s a good formula for any amount of chicken; it’s really easy math: 1 tablespoon kosher salt per cup water. You can easily scale it up for any size bird from a whole chicken to a turkey {if you have a large enough container and refrigerator space}.

Grilled chicken

Since salt does not dissolve readily in cold water, here’s what I do: I dissolve the salt in half the amount of tepid water, then I add cold water and a few ice cubes to chill it down.

Yeah, you can get technical on the brining thing. But there’s no need to overthink it.

Really, it’s just a salt-water soak for birds. {Note that I do not rinse the chicken pieces before grilling and the results are perfectly seasoned.}

Grilled chicken dinner

Brine your chicken and you really don’t need to do anything more to it. I love grilled chicken as is. Or I garnish it with pesto or a splash of barbecue sauce once it’s fully cooked.

Black Garlic Butter Rub

For a different take, I made this simple butter from a jar of black garlic I brought back from Spain. But it sat in the cupboard because I didn’t have a clue how to use black garlic.

Black garlic is fermented, so the cream-colored garlic cloves turn a surprising color–onyx. The flavor is wonderfully tangy with mild garlic undertones. It’s also soft like roasted garlic, so I blended it with unsalted pastured butter to make a simple but deep-flavored rub.

Platter of grilled chicken

When the chicken is nearly done grilling, I smear this simple black garlic butter all over the chicken skin with a brush on the grill. Then, I add a final touch while it rests on the platter.

Like I said, great grilled chicken isn’t complicated. Just brine, grill and rub.


and become a forager

What are your questions about brining or grilling chicken? Let me know in the comments below or tag a photo #lynnesforage on Instagram or Facebook.

Black Garlic Grilled Chicken

To produce great grilled chicken, brine it, grill it and rub it with a flavorful butter like this easy black garlic butter. Fermented garlic cloves, called black butter, is exotic but easy to find. If you cannot get some, substitute roasted garlic, which is also mellow, sweet and soft to mash into softened butter. Serve this succulent chicken with your choice of sides.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword black garlic grilled chicken
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
brining 1 hour
Servings 6 people
Author lynnes


For the brine:

  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 8 bone-in chicken pieces

For the black garlic butter:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened pastured
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 6 cloves black garlic


  • Dissolve the salt in a 2-quart container with 2 cups of water. Add the chicken pieces and brine for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator. (You can brine the chicken up to 4 hours)
  • Prepare a gas or charcoal grill for medium-high heat (between 350 and 400 degrees F). Scrape the grate extra clean. Grill chicken pieces skin side down. Close the grill and cook for 20 minutes, checking to avoid flare ups. (If necessary, use tongs to move chicken pieces away from flames, then close the cover.)
  • Meanwhile, make the black garlic butter by mashing the butter, salt and garlic with a fork to make a paste. Set it aside with the basting brush.
  • Flip the chicken and cook for about 10 minutes more until an internal read thermometer reads 155 degrees. Smear black garlic butter over the chicken pieces while it finishes cooking. Transfer the chicken to a platter and baste with the remaining black garlic butter.


This black garlic butter is also excellent on pan-seared boneless chicken breasts (skin on or off). Season the chicken and pan-sear in a skillet over medium-high heat until evenly and deeply browned, about 10 minutes. Flip and cook until the internal temperature reaches 155 degrees F. Spread the black garlic-butter over the breasts while they rest. Slice and serve with the pan sauce spooned over each serving. 

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