Des

Hey! I'm Des!

Welcome to Life’s Ambrosia where Dinner is served and memories are made. Here you will find over 1000 tried and true recipes for every possible occasion. In the last 10 years, this blog has helped millions of families put dinner on the table and create food memories. Let me help you too.

Read more »

Have new recipes emailed to you.

Garlic Grilled Chicken

Garlic grilled chicken is the perfect summer grilling recipe! Brine it, brush it with garlic oil and grill it. It’s a recipe the whole family will love! 

If you’re looking for something to throw on the grill that is a little different the standard burgers and dogs fare, you’ve got to try your hands at this Garlic Grilled Chicken. It’s juicy, perfectly grilled and oh so flavorful.

A hand holding a grilled chicken drumstick

Tips for making the perfect grilled chicken:

TIP #1: Like all of the chicken that I make lately, this Garlic Grilled Chicken is brined first. Brining chicken is one of my favorite ways to prepare it because it leaves the chicken flavorful and SUPER juicy. I explain more about the brining process in my Brine Fried Chicken recipe if you’re interested but basically it’s osmosis. While the meat marinates in the brine, it retains some of the water and salt

DES’ TIP: You will want to brine the chicken for at least 2 hours but not more than 4. Brining the chicken too long will result in an off texture.

TIP #2: Generally, I don’t recommend washing your chicken (and either does the FDA) that being said, when your brining you run the risk of the final dish being a bit too salty if you don’t rinse it. Just rinse carefully to avoid splattering any bacteria around your sink, and always clean the sink and area afterwards.

Garlic pepper oil in a clear glass bowl next to a striped towel on a white background. Chicken and pastry brush off to the side.

Tip #3: To get even more flavor, I make a quick and easy garlic/pepper oil to brush on the outside of the chicken. This not only gives it more flavor but also helps the chicken crisp on the grill. Be sure to use a oil with a high smoke point like avocado or canola. Save your extra virgin olive oil for your vinaigrettes.

TIP #4: I only used chicken drumsticks when I made this Garlic Grilled Chicken, because drumsticks are always a favorite around here and they are super juicy and succulent when brined. With that said, you could use bone in chicken thighs or breasts. You’ll just need to adjust the cooking time slightly, especially for the chicken breasts, they will need to cook longer.

Step by Step Photos and Instructions:

STEP #1: Make the brine by combining 1 quart water, 1/2 cup kosher salt and brown sugar together in a pot. Heat over medium heat just until the sugar and salt dissolve. Pour in remaining quart of cold water. Add in lemon, garlic cloves, 1 tablespoon granulated garlic and whole peppercorns. Allow to cool to room temperature.

Garlic Chicken Brine in a saucepan.

STEP #2: Place the chicken in a resealable plastic bag (or other non-reactive container) and pour the brine over the top. Seal the bag and refrigerate for no less than 2 and not more than 4 hours.

Chicken in brine in a resealable plastic bag.

STEP #3: Discard the brine and carefully rinse and pat dry the chicken.

Patting chicken legs dry with a paper towel.

STEP #4: Combine oil, salt, garlic and black pepper. Brush over chicken.

Brushing garlic oil over chicken.

STEP #5: Preheat grill to 425 degrees. Cook chicken skin side down, for 5 minutes. Reduce heat down to 350. Continue cooking chicken for 10 minutes or until it easily releases from the grill. Flip and continue cooking for another 10 – 15 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted reads 165 degrees and the juices run clear.

Cooking chicken on a grill.

This Garlic Grilled Chicken makes the perfect easy summer dinner. Around my house, it even beats out BBQ sauce chicken! My boys gobble it up and always ask for more. Leftovers the next day are excellent too!

Here are my favorite things to serve along side:

Dill Green Beans

Sautéed Broccoli 

Bacon Wrapped Asparagus

Easy Macaroni Salad

Looking for more easy chicken recipes? I’ve got you covered!

Instant Pot Chicken Adobo

Baked Chicken Legs

Dill Pickle Chicken Wings

Chicken Tenders

Artichoke Chicken

Note: This recipe was originally written in 2016. It was updated with tips, a change in the cooking method (no longer indirect heat) and nutrition facts and step by step photos in 2020.

Garlic Grilled Chicken Recipe

Serves 6 Prep Time: Cook Time:

Ingredients:

  • 2 quarts water
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt plus 3/4 teaspoons divided
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 lemon, cut in half
  • 10 cloves garlic peeled
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1/4 cup avocado (or canola) oil
  • 1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 8 - 10 chicken drumsticks

Instructions

1

Combine 1 quart water, 1/2 cup kosher salt and brown sugar together in a pot. Heat over medium heat just until the sugar and salt dissolve. Pour in remaining quart of cold water. Add in lemon, garlic cloves, 1 tablespoon granulated garlic and whole peppercorns. Allow to cool to room temperature.

2

Place chicken in a one gallon resealable plastic bag. Place bag inside a large bowl.

3

Pour brine over the top of chicken, seal and refrigerate for at least 2 hours but not more than 4.

4

Heat the grill to 425 degrees.

5

Discard the brine and carefully rinse and pat dry the chicken.

6

Combine avocado oil, remaining salt, granulated garlic and black pepper. Use a pastry brush and brush all over chicken.

7

Cook chicken skin side down, for 5 minutes. Reduce heat down to 350. Continue cooking chicken for 10 minutes or until it easily releases from the grill. Flip and continue cooking for another 10 - 15 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted reads 165 degrees and the juices run clear. Serve.

Notes

Nutrition facts for estimation purposes only.

Nutrition information

Calories: 243 , Total Fat: 15g , Saturated Fat: 1.8g , Cholesterol: 54mg , Carbohydrates: 9.7g , Fiber: 0.6g , Sugar: 6.5g , Protein: 17.6g

Leave a Comment

  • Reply
    Kimberly
    July 26, 2016 at 10:16 pm

    Made this tonight and my husband, who doesn’t usually like chicken, said that it is one of the best kinds of chicken he’s had before. The only problem I had was trying to grill with indirect heat and it wasn’t heating quickly enough, so I eventually had to just cook it on low heat. At the end I also brushed the chicken with BBQ sauce. Thanks for such a great recipe from a fellow Washingtonian!

    • Reply
      Des @ Life's Ambrosia
      July 28, 2016 at 11:24 pm

      You’re welcome! I am so happy that you and your husband enjoyed this! Sorry you had issues with the indirect cooking method but I’m glad you had luck on low heat! Also, I love that you added BBQ. :)

  • Reply
    Michelle (Blackberry Babe)
    July 9, 2016 at 3:10 pm

    Totally with you! Chicken should be brined and these drumsticks look garlicky and delish!

  • Reply
    Kate@Diethood
    June 30, 2016 at 11:56 am

    Garlic and chicken… nothing better!! Love it even more because it’s grilled!

  • Reply
    Dee
    June 29, 2016 at 11:41 pm

    These would be perfect for grilling this weekend! My kids love chicken legs!

  • Reply
    Becky | The Cookie Rookie
    June 29, 2016 at 9:00 pm

    Those chicken legs look amazing.

  • Reply
    Jessica Segarra
    June 29, 2016 at 2:43 pm

    Perfect dish for the kids!

  • Reply
    CookinCanuck
    June 29, 2016 at 2:14 pm

    Chicken drumsticks are the best for grilling, and I love that these are packed with garlic!

  • Reply
    Justine@Cooking and Beer
    June 29, 2016 at 9:09 am

    Loving grilled chicken right now. The more garlic, the better, in my opinion!

  • Des

    Hey! I'm Des!

    Welcome to Life’s Ambrosia where Dinner is served and memories are made. Here you will find over 1000 tried and true recipes for every possible occasion. In the last 10 years, this blog has helped millions of families put dinner on the table and create food memories. Let me help you too.

    Read more »

    Have new recipes emailed to you.