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Chile-Coffee-Brined Grilled Chicken

Cold brewed coffee is a much lighter version of the traditional drip brew that everyone knows. Because the extraction process from brewing is much slower, the flavors are milder and lighter. Using this ingredient will be a great way to “wake up” your traditional brine. Everywhere you look in the stores, good coffee companies are beginning to sell their version of an ice brewed coffee. Make sure to pick the ready-to drink version, not a concentrate, or the coffee flavor will be too strong.


Serves: 4 to 6 people

Prep time: 15 minutes + (2 hours to brine)

Cook time: 15-20 minutes

Special Equipment:

Large casserole dish


For the brine:

6 cups cold brewed coffee, any kind, cold

2 whole bay leaves

½ teaspoon cumin, ground

¼ teaspoon chili flakes

½ teaspoon chili powder

3 tablespoons Kosher salt

1/3 cup brown sugar, light

2 thick slices Spanish onion, peeled

3 cloves garlic, smashed


8 chicken thighs, bone in, skin on

2 oz  olive oil (for grilling)



1) Place 2 cups of the iced coffee, bay leaf, cumin, chili flakes, chili powder, salt brown sugar, onion and garlic in a sauce pot and bring to a simmer.

2) Whisk to dissolve the sugar and salt.

3) Once dissolved, remove the pot from the heat, add the rest of the iced coffee and pour into a casserole dish.

4) Place the casserole dish into another flat dish with ice and some water to chill down.

5) Chill the brine down until the temperature is 75F.

6) Once the brine has chilled, remove from the ice/water pan and add the chicken thighs. Mix the ingredients around to make sure the chicken is coated.

7) Place the pan into the refrigerator and brine for 2 hours.

8) After 2 hours, remove the chicken from the brine and discard the brine.

9) Place the chicken onto a cookie sheet and pat dry on both sides with disposable towels.

10) Lightly oil the chicken thighs, but do not season with salt (it’s already seasoned with the brine).

11) Set the grill for direct, medium heat grilling (350-450F).

12) When the grill is ready, place the chicken thighs, skin side down, on the grill and close the lid. Set the timer for 5 minutes.

13) After 5 minutes, use tongs to lift the chicken from the grill. If is sticks or is hard to remove, close the lid and wait another minute. Flip the chicken over and close the lid again. Set the timer for another 5 minutes.

14) After the second 5 minutes, check the chicken with an instant read thermometer, it should be 165F in at least 2 places when fully cooked.

Serve hot and crispy.