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Grilled Buttermilk Chicken Recipe

Sick of Barbecue Sauce? Then Use Buttermilk!

As much as I love sticky, sweet barbecued chicken, there're only so many times you can eat it during the Summer. That's why I recently looked for an alternative to barbecue sauce and decided to give this buttermilk-marinated grilled chicken a chance.

The buttermilk, which is seasoned with lots of garlic cloves and fresh rosemary sprigs, tenderizes the chicken. The key to making this chicken succulent and moist is to take care and not overcook it.

Although the recipe calls for a whole chicken, I had skinless breasts in the freezer, so I used those instead. However, when I make this savory and scrumptious chicken again, I'll be using skin-on pieces because I think it will enhance the overall flavor of the dish. It's a great seasonal entree, so learn how to make it now.

Grilled Buttermilk Chicken

Grilled Buttermilk Chicken

Grilled Buttermilk Chicken Recipe 2010-08-18 12:35:28


  1. 4 cups buttermilk
  2. 15 garlic cloves
  3. 1 cup fresh rosemary or thyme
  4. Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  5. 3 whole chickens (about 3 pounds each), cut into 8 pieces each (then halve breasts on the diagonal)
  6. Safflower oil, for brushing


  1. Combine buttermilk, garlic, herbs, 2 tablespoons salt, and 2 teaspoons pepper.
  2. Divide chicken between 2 baking dishes. Cover with marinade, turning to coat. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight, turning chicken occasionally. Remove chicken from refrigerator 30 minutes before grilling.
  3. Heat grill to medium with direct and indirect heat zones. Brush grates with oil. Remove chicken from marinade, and pat dry with paper towels. Grill breast halves, thighs, and drumsticks, skin side down, over direct heat for 10 minutes*.
  4. Flip, move to indirect heat, and grill, covered, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of thighs registers 165 degrees, 10 to 15 minutes. Grill wings over direct heat, flipping often, until cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Serves 12.

*When each chicken breast was half-way cooked, I made a small slit in the side of the breast. Then I stuffed the hole with a couple of garlic cloves.

GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 7 years
Nice recipe. I want to try this.
partysugar partysugar 7 years
suziryder: you're right, my wording was confusing! I've updated it to be more clear. Thanks.
suziryder suziryder 7 years
I was a little confused by the wording of your note. You wrote "I put a slice in the middle of each chicken breast" and I thought "a slice of what?" and I read and reread the instructions looking for a slice of ham or cheese or something! Then I realized you meant you cut into the chicken breast to make a pocket for the garlic cloves. Haha. Good idea, though! I'll definitely have to try this. The leaves are just starting to change here in MA, so I need to get all the grilling in I can over the next few weeks.
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