Life is busy. I barely even have time to write this post, and you’re probably deciding right now whether or not you have time to read it. Well if you do, you’ll thank me forever for it because this is one of the fastest and most delicious chicken dishes you’ll ever come across.
I actually heard about this salt & vinegar chicken (different from the salt & vinegar wings in the “Chris Loves Wings” book) from my older brother and it sounded intriguing, because he said there were only three ingredients – salt, vinegar, and chicken. That seemed a bit too simple for me, so I added a fourth – brown sugar. But the best part about this recipe is it only needs a 10-minute soak in the vinegar solution before cooking! So fast, and seriously flavorful. Here it is:
• 4 portions of bone-in, skin on chicken (thighs, wings, legs, or breast). I used 4 split chicken breasts.
• about 2.5 cups apple cider vinegar
• about 1/3 cup salt
• about 1/4 cup (not packed down) brown sugar
The measurements on this one are forgiving, so it will all be ok if it’s not exact. All you do is mix the vinegar, salt and sugar together until it’s all dissolved, then pour it over the chicken until it’s covered. Let it sit for 10 minutes with the skin sides down.
I cooked mine on the grill, because I freaking love the grill, but you could probably cook this in the oven as well. For grilling, as soon as you get the chicken covered in the brine, turn the grill on high and let it heat for 10 minutes. If using charcoal, you’ll want to heat the coals beforehand.
See, most brines I use are a solution of water, salt and acid (like lemon juice or vinegar). Because this one is so concentrated (no water – all vinegar), it starts to penetrate the meat very quickly. You have decent flavor at only 5 minutes. Optimal at 10. 20 minutes starts to get a little strong. So you want to make sure however you’re going to cook this, you’ll be ready to remove it from the brine around the 10 minute mark.
Another thing I always talk about when grilling, especially in my books, is to oil the food, not the grill. Generally, that’s how I roll, but with this dish you don’t want to rinse off any of the brine, but oil and water/vinegar don’t mix, so you can’t just put oil on it or it won’t stick. So with this dish, I oil the grill, and I do it like so:
Use a clean, old wash cloth that you don’t care about, squirt it with oil and rub it on your hot grill. That will help keep the meat from sticking when you take it straight from the brine and put it on the grill. Cook until done (white meat, 163 degrees internal temp and let it rest for 10 minutes; dark meat, 175 and let it rest for 10 minutes).
I for real want to issue you a challenge, and I want you to take it seriously. Make this chicken sometime this weekend. Seriously, I want you to trust me on this and try it. I’m always trying to tell people that they don’t have to listen to food writers who just get crazy with things and make everything so complicated. You don’t need to feel overwhelmed when you cook, and this chicken is proof. Make it and come back and tell me your thoughts. I’d love to hear them. :)
10-Minute Salt & Vinegar Chicken
- 4 portions of bone-in skin on chicken
- about 2.5 cups cider vinegar
- about 1/3 cup salt
- about 1/4 cup brown sugar
- Preheat your grill.
- Make the brine by combining the vinegar, salt and sugar until dissolved. Pour the brine over the chicken until covered and let the chicken sit in the brine, skin side down, for 10 minutes.
- Using an old rag dipped in cooking oil, rub your grill grate with cooking oil to prevent sticking.
- Take the chicken from the brine and put it straight on the grill, skin side down first. Flip over at 5 minutes, cook until almost done, and flip to finish for another 5 minutes with the skin side down.