This chicken may look a little charred, but I guarantee you it is about as delicious as it gets. The brine keeps the meat flavorful and moist, while the rub crisps up and darkens to form a delightful, crunchy coating. Chicken thighs are an excellent choice for the grill because they are extremely forgiving. Dark meat tends to retain moisture and refrain from drying out. Furthermore, the bones in the thighs keep the meat moist and add a heck of a lot of flavor. These had a light heat from the brine and the rub with notes of garlic, star anise, and parsley.
These Brussels sprouts are also a home run. I kept very close to Alton Brown’s original recipe, merely decreasing the amount of Brussels sprouts based on what I had on hand and adding a few squeezes of lemon juice for a hint of citrus brightness. Zak had requested that I grill Brussels sprouts along with this chicken, and I’m so glad he did. We both absolutely loved these, and I am going to continue to make variations on them in the future as my go-to sprouts recipe. Zak liked them even more than the version served by Michael Symon at Lolita, although I don’t know if I agree. I certainly did love them, however, and suggest you give them a try, even if you aren’t a huge Brussels sprouts fan. The heat of the paprika and caramelization from the grill was beyond delicious – my only regret is that I didn’t double the recipe!
Spice Rubbed Grilled Chicken Thighs and Brussels Sprouts
3 lbs. chicken thighs
2-3 cups water per lb. of thighs
1/2 cup kosher salt per lb. of thighs
1/2 cup sugar per lb. of thighs
3 cups fresh flat leaf parsley, stems included, loosely packed
5-6 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
2 cloves star anise
1 tbs. whole black peppercorns
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
To begin, in a medium or large saucepan heat water. A little at a time, add kosher salt and sugar while whisking until dissolved. It may be necessary to add more water to the saucepan in order to dissolve all of the salt and sugar. Once the salt and sugar are dissolved, transfer the water to a container large enough to hold the brining solution and chicken. This can be done in a large ziplock bag, though I prefer to use a large stock pot.
Add all other brine ingredients and allow brining solution to cool to room temperature, placing solution in refrigerator for 15-20 minutes or adding ice if necessary. Once the solution is room temperature or cool to the touch, add the chicken to the solution. Place the chicken in the refrigerator and let soak in brining solution about one hour per pound (round up to the nearest hour). I soaked this for just over three hours.
Remove chicken from brining solution. See “spice rub” below for further cooking instructions.
1 tbs. freshly cracked black pepper
1 tbs. garlic powder
1 tbs. dried parsley
1 tbs. paprika
Combine all ingredients well.
Blot chicken dry with paper towels. Massage rub thoroughly on both sides of each chicken thigh. Let sit about an hour, refrigerated.
Preheat grill to medium-high, using charcoal or gas as preferred.
Place chicken, skin down, on the hottest part of the grill. Grill, about 10 minutes, until skin is deep golden brown and crisp around the edges. Flip the chicken and move to the cooler part of the grill. Cover the grill and cook about forty five minutes to an hour, flipping as necessary. Depending on the heat and size of your grill, cooking the chicken may make more or less time. Watch carefully and check internal temperature often.
Check internal temperature and make sure it reaches 165°.
Grilled Brussels Sprouts:
Adapted from Alton Brown
.63 lbs. Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed and any scraggly leaves removed
2 tbs. olive oil
1 tbs. minced garlic
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. paprika
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
1 quarter of a lemon
Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
Place Brussels sprouts in a large microwave safe bowl and heat in microwave for three minutes. Add olive oil, garlic, mustard, paprika, salt and pepper and toss to combine. Squeeze lemon quarter over sprouts and toss to combine. Allow to cool until easily handled.
Skewer 4-5 Brussels sprouts onto each skewer, leaving about 1/2″ between sprouts. Reserve spice liquid.
Place skewers on the grill and cover. Cook about 5 minutes. Brush with spice liquid. Turn skewers and cook, covered, another 5 minutes.