Grilled Buttermilk Chicken with Hot Paprika

A soak in buttermilk does wonders for chicken.
A soak in buttermilk does wonders for chicken.

Like a good face cream, yogurt, kefir and buttermilk do wonders to plump and moisten — with meat, that is.

So, it’s no wonder that “Grilled Buttermilk Chicken” results in a juicy bird laced with summertime smokiness.

The recipe is from “The Backyward BBQ Bible” (Smith Street Books), of which I received a review copy. It’s by Oscar Smith, a Sydney-based food writer and photographer.

It includes more than 100 grilling recipes, including ” Brazilian Cachaca Chicken Skewers,” “Bacon-Warpped Mac & Cheese Burgers” (yes, panko-breaded discs of with mac ‘n’ cheese acting as burgers), “Korean Bulgogi Tofu,” and “Grilled Figs with Rosemary & Pomegranate Ricotta.”

This chicken recipe couldn’t be easier. Just marinade overnight a quartered chicken in a mix of buttermilk, garlic, whole-grain mustard, hot paprika, and fresh rosemary. The buttermilk does all the work to tenderize the chicken.

The next day, fire up the grill to enjoy some seriously succulent chicken.

The chicken cooking on the grill.
The chicken cooking on the grill.

With 2 teaspoons of hot paprika in the 2 cups of buttermilk, I found the dried red pepper taste fairly muted. That’s why I think you could easily up that to 1 tablespoon instead or even more, if you like. I noted that in the recipe below.

This summer, give your chicken a pampering milky soak — and be richly rewarded.

Grill your lemon halves, too, to add another layer of tangy flavor when squirted over the chicken.
Grill your lemon halves, too, to add another layer of tangy flavor when squirted over the chicken.

Grilled Buttermilk Chicken

(Serves 4 to 6)

2 cups buttermilk

4 garlic cloves, crushed

2 teaspoons whole-grain mustard

2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon hot paprika or to taste

1 tablespoon sea salt flakes

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 rosemary sprigs, leaves roughly chopped

One (3-pound) whole chicken, cut into quarters

Lemon halves, to serve

Combine the buttermilk, garlic, mustard, paprika, salt, pepper, and rosemary in a mixing bowl.

Place the chicken in a large zip-lock and pour in the buttermilk mixture. Ensure the chicken pieces are well coated. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight, turning the bag occasionally to disperse the marinade.

Preheat a hooded grill to medium and lightly grease with oil.

Remove the chicken from the marinade and drain. Place the chicken on the grill skin-side down, cover and cook for 20 minutes, turning once after 10 minutes. Turn again and cook for another 5-10 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.

Serve with lemon halves and, if desired, a simple green salad and grilled potato wedges.

Adapted from “The Backyard BBQ Bible” by Oscar Smith

What to Do With Extra Buttermilk: Howie’s Buttermilk Biscuits

And: Buttermilk Coconut Blondies

And: Peach-Nectarine Buttermilk Ice Cream

And: Cinnamon-Buttermilk Muffins

And: Parsnip Buttermilk Pie

And: Strawberry Buttermilk Tart

And: Shaved Asparagus Salad with Asparagus Buttermilk Dressing and Pickled Asparagus Tips

And: Buttermilk Spoon Bread with Shiitakes, Corn and Scallions

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