Nashville Hot Grilled Chicken

The key to this deliciously spicy dish? Buttermilk. We brined our chicken in it for ultimate juiciness and added it to our take on Alabama white sauce to tame the chicken’s heat.

Nashville Hot Grilled Chicken
Yields: 6-8 servings
  • 4 cups water
  • 2½ cups whole buttermilk
  • ½ cup plus 2 teaspoons firmly packed light brown sugar, divided
  • 4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
  • 10 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 12 skin-on chicken drumsticks
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 3 tablespoons ground red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Buttermilk White BBQ Sauce (recipe follows), to serve
  1. In a large bowl, stir together 4 cups water, buttermilk, ½ cup brown sugar, 3 teaspoons salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper, thyme, and bay leaves until sugar is dissolved. Place chicken in buttermilk mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 12 hours.
  2. Preheat grill to medium-high heat (350° to 400°).
  3. Remove chicken from bowl, discarding brine; pat chicken dry. Grill chicken, turning occasionally, until a meat thermometer inserted in thickest portion registers 165°, about 30 minutes.
  4. In a small saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add red pepper, mustard, paprika, garlic powder, remaining 2 teaspoons brown sugar, remaining 1 teaspoon salt, and remaining ½ teaspoon black pepper, stirring to combine; cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Brush spiced oil all over cooked chicken. Serve with Buttermilk White BBQ Sauce.

Buttermilk White BBQ Sauce
  • 1 cup mayonnaise*
  • ¼ cup whole buttermilk
  • 1½ teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients until smooth. Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 month.