Buttermilk-brined Chicken ready for the grill - uncooked chicken marinating in buttermilk seasoned with fresh garden herbs and garlic

Buttermilk-brined Grilled Chicken

September 25
3 min read

A Chicken for Every Table

I love when a simple recipe becomes a go-to recipe for any season of the year. From the pages of The Sunset Cookbook – a massive array of many years of recipes produced in Sunset Magazine – this foundation for buttermilk-brined chicken can be altered to use the best of each season. Sometimes I add lemon zest and very woody herbs, other times more summer flavors like basil, dill, and fennel. IT really depends upon the meal – and what’s growing well in the garden.

The Modern Potager Kitchen Garden

The joy of the modern potager is getting to expand your culinary skills and make restaurant-quality meals at home. Picking fresh ingredients from the garden and turning them into something that awakens your tastebuds and thrills is really what life is all about.

Fresh herbs for buttermilk-brined grilled chicken - fennel fronds, scallions, thyme, + rosemary
Herby buttermilk marinade ready for Buttermilk-brined Grilled Chicken

Buttermilk-brined Grilled Chicken

Prepares 1 chicken | 4-6 servings

Inspired by Grilled Buttermilk Chicken from The Sunset Cookbook


1 qt buttermilk
1/2 cup chopped scallions
8 garlic cloves
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
15-20 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1 tablespoon dried thyme)
5-10 sprigs fresh marjoram (or 1 tablespoon dried marjoram)
3-5 sprigs fresh rosemary (or 1 tablespoon dried rosemary)
1-2 sprigs of fresh dill or fennel fronds (or 1 teaspoon dried dill)

1 whole chicken, cut in halves or pieces (chef’s choice!)

1) In a large bowl or mixing glass, combine buttermilk with sugar, salt, and black pepper. Whisk together. Add garlic, scallion pieces, and fresh herbs.

2) Submerge chicken pieces into the buttermilk mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4-6 hours, but no longer than 1 day in advance.

3) Remove chicken from brine; discard brine. Wipe excess from chicken with paper towels.

4) Prepare your grill for direct medium heat. Grill chicken pieces until browned and no longer pink to the bone, 20-30 minutes. Serve hot or cold.


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