I don’t cook with buttermilk very often, and, when I do, I usually end up throwing out at least half the carton. But I have seen so many chicken recipes lately that use buttermilk as a marinade that I thought I’d give it a try. After making this recipe from the June 2010 issue of Martha Stewart Living, I think I’m a convert! I cut the recipe in half, because I was only cooking one chicken, and let it marinate for a full day. It was delicious – moist, flavourful and well-seasoned.

I served the chicken with an old favourite – the green bean and potato salad featured on the cover of the July 1994 issue of Bon Appetit. Laced with red onion and basil and dressed with a balsamic-mustard vinaigrette, this is a nice change from traditional potato salad. If you can’t find the recipe online, let me know and I’ll post it here.

Grilled Buttermilk Chicken


4 cups buttermilk

15 garlic cloves

1 cup fresh rosemary or thyme

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

3 whole chickens (3 lbs. each), cut into 8 pieces each (then halve breasts on the diagonal)

Safflower oil, for brushing


Combine buttermilk, garlic, herbs, 2 tablespoons salt, and 2 teaspoons pepper. Divide chicken between 2 baking dishes. Cover with marinade, turning to coat. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight, turning chicken occasionally. Remove chicken from refrigerator 30 minutes before grilling.  Heat grill to medium with direct and indirect heat zones. Brush grates with oil. Remove chicken from marinade, and pat dry with paper towels. Grill breast halves, thighs, and drumsticks, skin side down, over direct heat for 10 minutes. Flip, move to indirect heat, and grill, covered, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of thighs registers 165 degrees, 10 to 15 minutes. Grill wings over direct heat, flipping often, until cooked through, about 15 minutes. Serves 12.

From the June 2010 issue of Martha Stewart Living