Tag Archives: dry-brine

Honey-Glazed Pepper Chicken

“A halved chicken is really easy to handle on the grill. Since it’s on the bone, it comes out super flavorful. There are nutrients and flavors in the bones.”

Brad Leone

Be aware, it’s crucial to dry-brine the chicken for at least eight hours, so plan ahead. This step seasons the meat and gives it time to absorb the floral kick of the mixed peppercorns. A fermented garlic-honey and vinegar glaze helps to mellow out the bite. You can make your own fermented garlic honey, but you will need to do this over a week ahead of time—time we didn’t have. You could also use regular honey or maple syrup instead.

Fresno chiles are similar, although a bit more fruity than jalapeños, but we had neither so we substituted a serrano, which tends to have more kick. It was near impossible to find pink peppercorns (another fallout from COVID-19??) so we used a blend of colored peppercorns that included some pink, red, green and black. Do not substitute all black peppercorns!

What’s the difference between black and pink? The most common variety, black peppercorns are just cooked green peppercorns that have then been left out to dry. They have the strongest, most pungent flavor. But the pink—which aren’t actually peppercorns at all—are berries that come from a South American shrub. Though they still have a peppery bite, they also have fruity and floral notes. 

To keep the meal lo-carb, colorful and healthy, we paired our chicken with a grilled vegetable medley of summer squash, cremini mushrooms, onion, bell peppers, garlic and rosemary. Cut everthing up into bite-sized pieces, marinate with some olive oil, herbs and spices in a ziploc bag for a couple of hours, then either thread onto metal skewers, or use a grill basket.

How the chicken looks after 24 hours uncovered in the fridge.

Honey-Glazed Pepper Chicken

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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The honey pepper glaze gets reduced by about half.


  • 2 Tbsp. black peppercorns
  • 4 Tbsp. pink peppercorns, divided
  • 6 tsp. Diamond Crystal or 3¼ tsp. Morton kosher salt, divided
  • 1 3½–4-lb. whole chicken
  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil, plus more for grill
  • 2 medium Fresno chiles, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup fermented garlic honey, honey, or pure maple syrup
  • 3 Tbsp. Champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar


  1. Finely grind black peppercorns and 2 Tbsp. pink peppercorns in a spice mill or mortar and pestle. Transfer to a small bowl and mix in 5 tsp. Diamond Crystal or 2¾ tsp. Morton kosher salt; set seasoning aside.
  2. Place chicken, breast side down, on a cutting board and use kitchen shears to cut along both sides of the backbone to remove (freeze and save it for stock!). Open chicken and turn skin side up. Press down on center of breast to flatten chicken—you should hear the breastbone crack.
  3. Using a chef’s knife or cleaver, split chicken in half through breastbone. Pat dry; rub all over with 1 Tbsp. oil. Sprinkle reserved seasoning all over, making sure to get into all the nooks and crannies.
  4. Place on a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet. Chill, uncovered, at least 8 hours and up to 2 days.
  5. Coarsely grind remaining 2 Tbsp. pink peppercorns in spice mill or mortar and pestle.
  6. Cook chiles, honey, vinegar, and remaining 1 tsp. Diamond Crystal or ½ tsp. Morton kosher salt over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture just turns amber in color and is reduced by about half (it should coat a spoon), 10–12 minutes. Stir in pink pepper and set aside.
  7. Prepare a grill for medium heat. Lightly oil grate.
  8. Set chicken on grate, cover, positioning vent over chicken if your grill has one, and grill, turning every 5 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of thighs registers 120°–130°, 15–20 minutes.
  9. Uncover and continue to grill, basting with honey mixture and turning chicken every 2–3 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of thighs registers 175° and 155° in the thickest part of breast, 10–15 minutes longer.
  10. Transfer to a cutting board and place skin side up. Let rest 30 minutes before carving.


Adapted from a recipe by Brad Leone found in the 2020 Grilling issue of Bon Appétit

Dry-Brine, Reverse-Sear Sirloins with Argentinian Chimichurri Sauce

That title is certainly a mouthful, but want a perfect steak? This method for dry-brining steak, paired with reverse-sear cooking, will result in the tastiest steak you’ve ever made—as long as you don’t commit the cardinal sin. Don’t be a cheap-skate and try to get away with a sub-par piece of meat. No matter what you hear or read, this method will not transform a cheap steak into an expensive one, it will merely improve it.

You will definitely need a meat thermometer to do this correctly, so if you do not have an instant-read Thermapen, go get yourself one now. Plus, each piece of meat needs to be at least 1.5 inches thick for the reverse sear method to work. I started with a 3.6 pound strip roast and sliced it down into four equal steaks. The roast was on sale for 50% off, and I had it tucked away in the freezer for just such an occasion.

Did you know that with this method, the salt gets deeper into the meat than with conventional seasoning. The salt crystals draw out moisture, creating a slick watery surface on the steak that eventually dissolves the salt, then the process of diffusion draws this salty brine back into the meat. Voila!

Yes, the steaks do look somewhat smaller after the brining process, but the meat has a more intense beefy flavor. A word to the wise, you’re going to want to make sure there’s nothing with a strong odor left uncovered in the fridge which could work it’s way into the meat.

Now you might be saying to yourself that it takes longer to cook with reverse sear than other methods. Admittedly, some of the better things in life do take longer, but ultimately, the steaks are ready to eat immediately because you’ve rested them prior to the sear!

Along with an eye-opening chimichurri sauce (recipe follows), we paired the steaks with two recent 5-star side dishes, Russel’s Russets and Green Beans and Blistered Tomatoes.

Argentinian Chimichurri Sauce—This recipe from Milk Street can easily be halved, but you’ll find uses other than steak for this delicious condiment such as on grilled pork, fish and other seafood. Chimichurri can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week; bring to room temperature before serving. Don’t substitute fresh oregano. The stronger flavor and texture of dried oregano is a hallmark of chimichurri.

The evening got started when our guests, Paula and Mike toted in the appetizer, and WOW, they did not disappoint! Along with a slate of four scrumptious cheeses, they also supplied a platter of low-carb crackers (that Paula made from scratch), meats, stuffed olives, and mustard/honey and fig spreads. Which, BTW, went nicely with the chilled rosé that we were sipping.

When it was time to start grilling, Russ transferred the rimmed baking sheet with rack and steaks from counter directly onto the indirect heated side of the grill. He kept it covered and maintained a temperature of 250°. After 45 minutes, he turned up the burners on the other side of the grill to high, oiled the grates and slapped the meat onto them for the final char.

Dry-Brine, Reverse-Sear Sirloins

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 3.5-4 lb. strip roast, cut into 4 steaks, fat trimmed
  • Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
  • Argentinian Chimichurri sauce (see recipe below)


  1. Cut the sirloin roast into 4 equal sized steaks. (Ours were 1 1/2″ each from a 3 1/2 pound roast.) Lay them on small rimmed baking sheet with rack. Generously salt and pepper each side.
  2. Place baking sheet uncovered into refrigerator for at least 24 hours, up to 3 days.
  3. Start up the grill using the indirect method. Turn on the burners on one side and cover until it reaches 250°. Place the steaks on the off side and close the lid. When the meat reaches 115°, they will be ready to sear over high heat. Our 1 1/2″ steaks took 45 minutes.
  4. Turn the burners to high and place the steaks over the direct heat to char the outsides, about 2 minutes per side, and the internal temp is 125° for medium-rare.
  5. Transfer steaks to a cutting board with a moat to catch any juices.
  6. Using tongs and a sharp knife, cut each steak into 1/2″ thick slices and pile all of the meat and any accumulated juices onto a platter along with a bowl of the chimichurri sauce.


  • ¾ cup grapeseed or other neutral oil
  • ¼ cup sweet paprika
  • ¼ cup red pepper flakes (you can reduce the amount if desired)
  • ¼ cup dried oregano
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, finely grated
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • Kosher salt


  1. In a small saucepan over low, combine the oil, paprika, pepper flakes and oregano. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture begins to bubble, 5 to 7 minutes.
  2. Remove from the heat and stir in the garlic. Let cool to room temperature.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the vinegar and 1 teaspoon salt, then stir until the salt dissolves. Slowly whisk in the cooled oil mixture.