A Stunning Recipe from Andi Oliver

Posted on 26th April 2023 by Anna Orhanen

Brimming with stories, beautiful photography and irresisitible recipes, The Pepperpot Diaries is the debut book from the beloved chef, television and radio broadcaster and The Great British Menu host Andi Oliver that celebrates the inspiring flavours of Caribbean cuisine. We are delighted to share a recipe from the book with the readers of our blog. 

Tea-brined Spiced Barbecue Chicken

There’s a lot of brining chat these days isn’t there? To brine or not to brine, that is the question. I would say I’m firmly on the side of brine. It means you start to pack in the flavour early on and it really does bring a succulence to the meat. This recipe uses an Earl Grey tea brine, which holds the citrus flavour of bergamot at its heart. Combine that with the lemon zest in the barbecue spice rub, and it brings that extra bit of something special to a barbecue.

Serves 6

Prep time 20 minutes, plus brining time
Cook time 30–40 minutes


food processor
charcoal or gas barbecue (grill)


6 chicken thighs, skin on and bone in
6 chicken drumsticks, skin on and bone in
1 lemon, halved

For the brine:

3 Earl Grey tea bags
peeled skin from 2 clementines
2 sprigs of thyme, leaves picked
2½ tsp sugar of your choice
13/4 tbsp table salt
1 litre (4⅓ cups) boiling water

For the seasoning paste:

6 spring onions (scallions), roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1½ tbsp rapeseed (canola) oil
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the final glaze:

1 tbsp tamarind concentrate
1 tbsp molasses
1 tsp sugar of your choice
100ml (generous ⅓ cup) chicken stock


First, make your tea brine. Put the Earl Grey tea bags, clementine peel, thyme, sugar, and salt in a pot that is large enough to hold your chicken. Cover with the boiling water, stir a little to help dissolve the sugar and salt and allow to cool. Take the two lemon halves and rub them all over the chicken.

Now, put the chicken into the brine mixture, making sure it’s covered by the liquid. Place in the fridge and leave for a minimum of 4 hours, or even better, overnight. In the morning (or after 4 hours), blitz together all the ingredients for the seasoning paste in a food processor to make a thick paste.

Remove the chicken from the brine, pat it dry and add to a large bowl with the seasoning paste. Give the chicken a good rub all over with the paste, making sure it’s completely coated. Leave to marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hour, ideally 3 hours or even a bit longer if you have time.

Heat the barbecue (grill) to a high heat. When it’s hot, sear the chicken all over to give it a nice bit of colour, then reduce the heat if using a gas barbecue, or move over indirect heat for charcoal. Cook the chicken low and slow for about 40 minutes with the lid closed, turning occasionally, and brushing the meat with more of the spice paste as you go. Meanwhile, combine all the ingredients for the final glaze together in a saucepan. Set over a medium heat and bubble until thickened.

Brush the glaze over the chicken for the final 10 minutes of cooking, turning the chicken over often and making sure the glaze covers every part. When the juices of the chicken runclear, the chicken is cooked. Brush one last time with the glaze, remove from the heat and rest for about 20 minutes. 

Serve with Ducana (The Pepperpot Diaries, page 33) or Spiced Roast Ground Provision (The Pepperpot Diaries page 164) and a simple salad with fresh herbs.


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