Lemonade Is The Unique Ingredient For A Zesty Chicken Brine

Staples like grilled chicken, mac and cheese, and coleslaw often dominate the same paper plate at any good barbecue, fighting for space on a small surface area. Drinks are relegated to their own containers, only touching the food when it's being washed down by the beverage. Yet, those sweet drops of lemonade can intermingle with the chicken in a way that makes you want to chase that taste forever. To achieve a delicious melding of unexpected ingredients, try brining chicken in lemonade for a zesty, savory meal.

Of course, lemon and chicken isn't an uncommon combination. The citrus and poultry team up in lemon chicken pasta, lemon pepper wings, chicken with a lemon butter sauce ... It seems everything from the juice to the zest has been utilized in recipes, however, brining chicken in lemonade is the new frontier. Complete with the beloved tart taste and a healthy dose of sugar for sweetness, the drink is the perfect brine for a delicious, yet easy chicken infusion.

While the acidity tenderizes the chicken, delivering a juicy cut, the lemonade itself provides the meat with an appetizing, tart flavor. Meanwhile, the sugar balances the zest with a hint of sweetness while giving the chicken a crisp, caramelized crust. If the sugar is a tad too much for you, tame it with soy sauce and herbs for a well-rounded, easy marinade.

Brine your chicken in lemonade for these zesty recipes

Spruce up your grilled chicken caesar salad by steeping the chicken in lemonade. Accompanied by a garnish of lemon zest and a garlicky dressing, the lemonade-laden chicken amplifies the slightly sweet, tart flavor of the salad. Complete with savory parmesan shavings and tangy sourdough bread croutons, this salad is elevated with lemonade's bright flavor.

Give classic chicken tenders a zesty flair by marinating them in lemonade. Rather than placing the chicken in buttermilk right away, allow it to sit in a mix of lemonade, onion powder, paprika, black pepper, and soy sauce first. Once it's marinated for some time, coat it in the buttermilk before frying. Serve the savory, tangy wings with garlic bread and a mustard green salad.

You could even upgrade chicken fried rice with a couple splashes of lemonade. Before cooking the chicken breast, chop it up and marinate it in a bowl of lemonade, garlic powder, miso paste, ground chili, and onion powder. Cover it in cornstarch and fry, heating the onions and peppers in the same pan after the meat has been cooked. Balanced by the umami flavor of miso paste and soy sauce in the rice, the lemonade brings a piquant quality that uplifts the dish overall.