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!
In case you love buttermilk fried chicken, but can’t stand the thought of aggressively bubbling oil in all this summer heat, I’ve got the perfect recipe for you! There’s a buttermilk brine and juicy chicken without all the hot grease!
About this Buttermilk Grilled Chicken recipe
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.
Tips for the best Southwest Buttermilk Grilled Chicken
- Marinating chicken: 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.
- Spicy honey: While entirely optional, I highly recommend you brush your chicken with the chili powder honey mixture during the last 2 minutes of cooking! Simply add a few dashes of chili powder to a couple tablespoons of honey and brush the mixture on the chicken. It adds a sticky, slightly spicy sweetness to the chicken that will rock your tastebuds!
- Salsa: 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.
- You can make the salsa up to 2 days in advance. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- Serving sauce: If you, like me, love a good dipping sauce, try serving this buttermilk grilled chicken with Alabama white bbq sauce.
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 buttermilk brined chicken!
More grilled chicken recipes!
How to buttermilk brine and grill chicken 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!