This Southwest Buttermilk Grilled Chicken is ridiculously tender thanks to the buttermilk brine! Topped with fresh, savory and spicy corn and poblano salsa, this dish is packed with flavor! With only 20 minutes of prep time required, this chicken is perfect for entertaining or easy weeknight dinners!
Do you want to hear a story!?
Gosh I love the internet. I can just pretend you said ‘yes’ with ALL the enthusiasm in the world.
Which is great for me, since I’m going to share a story regardless of what you really just did behind your computer screen. 😉
Let’s chat about the evolution of this chicken and how it came to be.
It was a Tuesday.
The sun was shining, the birds were chirping and I was having a SERIOUS craving for buttermilk fried chicken.
But, then I realized it was still hotter outside than a firecracker on the fourth of July. (<– Hi summer, I love you, but why do you have to be so humid and disgustingly hot?)
Suddenly violently bubbling oil and greasy fried chicken skin were no longer appealing. Ick.
BUT, I still wanted chicken.
And a buttermilk brine still struck my fancy.
So this chicken happened instead.
I’m an awesome story teller, huh?
Weeeell, I’m hoping we can still be friends. 😇
Spicy Southwest Buttermilk Grilled Chicken with Corn Salsa
Tender, succulent grilled chicken thighs subtly spiced with smoky southwest seasonings and brushed with sticky, chili kissed honey; then topped with a fresh, tangy, sweet n’ savory and mildly spicy corn and poblano salsa.
The secret to the deliciousness of this chicken?
The buttermilk brine. It’s not just for frying chicken!
It makes GRILLED chicken SUUUUPER juicy and moist.
⬆️ Sorry for using that word. 🙊 I know there are some people who have a strong aversion to the word ‘moist’.
But this chicken?
IT IS MOIST!!!!
And the salsa is a KAPOW to the taste buds!
But, best of all, this chicken could NOT be easier to whip together.
The chicken and the salsa only take roughly 15 minutes of hands on prep time. However, it does require a bit of planning, because the chicken needs to brine for about 4 hours.
BUT, it’s four hours of HANDS OFF TIME.
Meaning, set the chicken in the fridge, pour yourself a cold one, kick back and RELAX.
Then, pull the chicken out of the fridge, fire up the grill and BASK in the gloriousness that is buttermilk NOT FRIED chicken.
Notes, Tips & Tricks for Southwest Buttermilk Grilled Chicken with Corn Salsa recipe:
- While I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs, you can use any cut of chicken you would like for this recipe. I highly recommend you let the chicken marinate for 4-6 hours! While you can get away with marinating the chicken for as little as 1 hour, you sacrifice flavor and the chicken won’t be as tender. If you are using bone-in chicken, increase the marinade time to 6-12 hours.
- If using bone-in chicken, increase the cooking time. Bone-in chicken breasts will take about 15-20 minutes total, and bone-in chicken thighs/legs will take about 20-25 minutes total. Always cook your chicken to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
- It is entirely optional, but I highly recommend you brush your chicken with chili powder spiced honey during the last 2 minutes of cooking! Simply add a few dashes of chili powder to a bit of honey and brush it on the chicken. It adds a sticky, slightly spicy sweetness to the chicken that will rock your world.
- The heat level of the salsa is easily customizable to taste. For a spicy salsa, leave some, or all, of the ribs and seeds in the poblano and jalapeno peppers. For a mild salsa, remove all the ribs and seeds.
- The salsa can be made 2 days in advance and stored, covered in the refrigerator. I actually think the salsa tastes better the next day since the flavors have all had a chance to marry together.
Get this Southwestern Buttermilk Grilled Chicken with Corn Salsa in your life immediately! Just don’t blame me when buttermilk becomes a staple in your fridge.
Until next week, friends, cheers – to juicy goosey chicken. (<– That sounded better in my head)
How to make easy Southwest Buttermilk Grilled Chicken with Corn Salsa at home👇
Southwest Buttermilk Grilled Chicken with Corn Salsa
- 2 Cups Buttermilk
- ¼ Cup Light Brown Sugar
- 1 Lime zested and juiced
- 3 large Cloves Garlic – chopped
- 2 TBS Chili Powder
- 1 TBS Cumin
- 2 tsp Ground Coriander
- 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
- 5-10 dashes Hot Sauce Recommended: Tabasco
- Kosher Salt & Ground Black Pepper to taste
- 1 ½ - 2 Pounds Chicken Thighs *
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil for grilling
- ¼ Cup Honey
- ¼ tsp Chili Powder
- 1 Poblano Peppers
- 1 Jalapeno * - finely diced
- 2- 3 Ears Corn – husk and silk removed (about 2 cups of corn)
- ¼ Cup Cilantro Leaves – chopped
- ¼ Red Onion – finely diced (about ½ cup)
- 3 TBS Lime Juice
- ¾ tsp Granulated Sugar
Optional Garnish: Cilantro, Lime Wedges, Sliced Jalapeno, Hot Sauce
- Marinate the chicken: In a large measuring cup whisk together buttermilk, sugar, lime zest and juice, garlic, chili powder, cumin, coriander, paprika, hot sauce, 1 tablespoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Add the chicken to a large zip-closure bag and pour the marinade over the chicken. Seal the bag and refrigerate, at least 1 hour, preferably 4 hours*.
- Preheat a grill to medium.
- Grill Veggies for Salsa: Brush the poblano and corn all over with oil and generously season with salt and pepper. Place poblano and corn on grill. Grill, rotating every 2-3 minutes, until poblano and corn are charred all over, about 10-12 minutes total. Remove to a clean work surface and set aside until cook enough to handle.
- Grill Chicken: Remove the chicken from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Brush the chicken with oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Grill until golden brown and charred on both sides, about 4-5 minutes per side, or until just cooked through*. (Optional: Whisk together honey and chili powder. Brush on chicken during last 2 minutes of grilling.) Remove to a clean plate and allow to rest while you prep the salsa.
- Make the Salsa: Slightly peel the skin from the poblano and finely chop and add it to a medium bowl. Cut the kernels of corn off the cob and to the bowl along with the jalapeno, cilantro, red onion, lime juice and granulated sugar. Season with ½ teaspoon salt and a pinch of pepper. Taste and adjust for seasoning.
- To Serve: Transfer the chicken to a serving platter and top with salsa. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve with lime wedges. Enjoy!