Buttermilk fried chicken is rather common across the Southeastern US but you don't hear about buttermilk grilled chicken do you?
I found that ironic because grilled chicken enjoys the same benefits of buttermilk that fried chicken does, tenderizing and adding a tangy mouth awakening taste. So when I found some Cruze Dairy Farm's Buttermilk at a local market this week, I set out to create a buttermilk marinade for grilled chicken.
Cruze Dairy Farm uses the tag line "a farm forever" because last year they became one of the first farms in Tennessee to protect farm heritage by creating a conservation easement. It can never be sold or transferred for any use other than farming. That might not sound like a big deal but in Knox County, the trend is to snap up land like that and convert it to subdivisions or industrial complexes.
I have not been the best "locavore" but am trying to do better. I know I have a bunch of Knoxville area readers and I encourage you to support local farms and producers like Cruze Dairy Farm. You can find Cruze products at the Market Square farmers market and at many local retailers (a listing is available on their blog).
But back to my recipe. I browsed through a few buttermilk grilled chicken recipes but most of them had comments/reviews about being bland or they sounded bland to me in the first place. So I amped mine up in the flavor department and was very happy with the taste before adding the chicken.
Cruze Dairy Farm's Buttermilk Grilled Chicken
Source: Nibble Me This
2 cups Cruze Dairy Buttermilk
2 Tbsp cilantro, fresh chopped
1 1/2 Tbsp kosher salt
2 Tbsp turbinado sugar (aka Sugar in the Raw)
1 tsp minced garlic (dried)
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp celery seed
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp smoked black pepper (you can sub black pepper)
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, ground
juice and zest of one lemon
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 ea whole chicken, cut into standard pieces
1 Tbsp cilantro, finely chopped for garnish
Mix all ingredients except the oil and chicken in a large, coverable bowl. Then slowly add in the oil while whisking (think vinaigrette) to emulsify the oil into the marinade. Reserve 1/2 cup for glazing later.
Add the chicken pieces to the marinade, cover, and marinade refrigerated for at least 4 hours but going overnight is much better. Twenty four hours is even more spectacular. I know, this is one of those, "Does it really need to rest that long?" kind of things, but trust me, go at least 12 hours.
Set up your grill for a "direct heat" cook and preheat to 350f. I used the Big Green Egg using the grid extender to raise the grate. I used Earth Fare (carries Cruze products too) natural lump charcoal which is a steal at $4.99 for a 10 lb bag. Get it while you can because I'm paying $6-7 for 8.8lb bags of other brands of lump right now.
Grill the pieces for about 25 minutes, flipping every 5 minutes. Start brushing with the reserved marinade after the first 10 minutes.
Cook until the breasts hit an internal temp of 160f and the thighs hit 170f. You might have to take off some pieces before others as they finish. Remove and rest for 5 minutes.
Since it was "Sunday supper" we served ours with mustard greens and corn bread.
I have grilled a lot of chicken over the past few years and have had some extraordinary results. But I can say this is easily the best grilled chicken marinade I have made or tasted ever. I won't try another grilled chicken marinade, there's no point. I have created the perfect one for us.
Try this with bone in chicken, boneless chicken, or whatever chicken you like. Just give it the long soak and use a quality local buttermilk like Cruze Dairy Farm's.
I always give my STANDARD DISCLAIMER when reviewing a product but because my praise is so glowing, I wanted to make sure you knew that I have no affiliation with Cruze Dairy Farm. I didn't even know they existed before last weekend when I stumbled across their product at a small market.
I named this recipe after them because I'm proud of what they do and this recipe deserves a legacy like they have set for themselves. That might seem overly dramatic, but if you try this recipe I think you'll agree.