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Sweet Tea-Marinated Chicken with Peach Barbecue Sauce

Elizabeth Heiskell's Sweet Tea-Marinated Chicken with Peach Barbecue Sauce
Elizabeth Heiskell chicken segmentTODAY

Chef notes

Elizabeth Heiskell knows how to woo a crowd. This sweet tea-marinated chicken is sure to be a hit at your summer barbecue. It's simple, but tastes anything but that!

Get more summer cookout ideas here!


  • 2 family-size tea bags
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1 small sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, halved
  • 2 6-inch sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoons freshly cracked pepper
  • 2 cups ice cubes
  • 1 (3½ to 4-pound) whole chicken, cut up
Peach barbecue sauce
  • 1 cup chopped peeled fresh peaches or 9-10 ounces frozen sliced peaches, thawed, chopped
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • teaspoons adobo sauce from canned chipotle chilies in adobo or 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a 3 quart heavy saucepan; add tea bags. Remove from heat; cover and steep 10 minutes.

Discard tea bags. Stir in sugar and next 6 ingredients, stirring until sugar dissolves. Cool completely (about 45 minutes); stir in ice. Mixture should be cold before adding chicken

Place tea mixture and chicken in a large zip-top plastic freezer bag; seal. Place bag in a shallow baking dish and chill 24 hours. Remove chicken from marinade, discarding marinade. Pat chicken dry with paper towels.

Make peach barbecue sauce: Combine first 5 ingredients in a small saucepan. Season lightly with salt and pepper and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low; simmer until peaches are very soft and flavors meld, about 10 minutes. Remove pan from heat; let cool.

Put peach mixture into a blender and puree until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Place half the sauce in a medium bowl and reserve for later to serve with grilled chicken. Use the other half to baste the chicken with during the grilling process

Cook chicken: Light one side of grill, heating to 300 to 350-degrees (medium) heat; leave other side unlit. Place chicken skin side down, over unlit side and grill, covered with grill lid, 20 minutes. Turn chicken, and grill, covered with grill lid, 20 minutes. Turn chicken, and grill covered with grill lid, 40 to 50 minutes. Just before chicken is done baste generously with the peach barbecue sauce.

Cook until the sauce has time to caramelize and the chicken is done.