When we roast a chicken, brining is by far our favorite way to do it. Yes, it takes some planning ahead. But, no joke, we get to enjoy a very tasty bird when we plan ahead. I think it is safe to say that once you try brining before roasting, you will never go back to your old way of seasoning. This brine recipe yields a flavorful, moist, and tender bird every time.The process is simple. The day before you plan on roasting your chicken, dump all of the brine ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil for about 10 minutes.
Next dump in some ice to quickly cool the brine enough so that it doesn't cook your chicken! Remember, we are brining, not boiling.
Once the brine is nice and cold (this should take just a few minutes) drop your thawed chicken into the pot, cover, and place it in the fridge. I like to let the chicken sit in the brine for at least 24 hours if I can. If it ends up being a little less, I still get a delicious chicken. So, I don't worry about it much.
When it is time to roast the chicken, pull it out of the brine and give it a good rinse. I don't season it anymore at this point. I pat it dry, put it in a pot, and stick it in the oven. Feel free to roast your chicken as you normally do. I am sure it will turn out fantastic.
If you are curious as to how I roast our chickens, I mention the method in the recipe below.
- 5 12oz beers* (a brown or scottish ale works best - just not too hoppy)
- 3/4 cup Kosher salt (I have used coarse sea salt as well)
- 1/2 cup sugar (I typically use a little less than this)
- 1 lemon (quartered)
- 1 bunch of thyme
- 1 onion, coursely chopped
- 3 bay leaves
- 5 cloves of garlic, smashed
- 2 Quarts of ice, heaping
- Place everything but the ice in a pot and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 10 minutes or so. Just be sure all of the salt and sugar have incorporated into the brine.
- 2. Remove from the heat and add all of the ice. Let the brine cool down completely before adding your chicken. Cover and place in the fridge for 12 to 24 hours.
- 3. Remove the bird from the brine and give it a good rinse. Pat it dry and place it into a dutch oven, breast down.
- 4. I like to pour 2 tablespoons of melted butter over the back before I put it in the oven. Roast at 350 for an hour.
- 5. After the hour, flip the bird (hehe), and pour 2 tablespoons over the breast. Cover the breast with a bit of foil to help prevent drying. Roast for another hour.
- 6. Remove the chicken from the oven and let it rest. I like to let it rest for an hour so that I can carve it with my hands. It is still warm, but I don't get burned fingers. And, if you are anything like me, you will eat those tasty little "oysters" and not share them with anyone!
- * For the beer, we have used Kilt Lifter (local AZ beer) as well as Sierra Nevada's Tumbler (a seasonal). My husband says the best beer will be the brown or scottish ale at the local brewery in your neck of the woods.
Do you brine your chickens? What is your favorite method?
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