Nothing is more Sunday dinner delicious than a whole roasted chicken. A roasted chicken seems to make everyone happy: dark meat for those who prefer the thighs and drumsticks, and white meat for those who like the lean boneless cut. More often than not though, we have dry, overcooked white meat, because the dark meat takes longer to cook on a whole bird. There is, however, a solution.
I am lucky enough to have in-laws who enjoy cooking, company and Sunday dinners with families. My father-in-law and I ‘talk shop’ from the time I arrive to when I leave, and so on this past Sunday I immediately opened the barbeque to find two whole beautiful chickens, roasting away. Of course, I ask: “What did you do to the chicken?” And then I get the ‘solution’.
“I brined them, of course”.
The obvious solution to overcooked dry white meat on whole birds, such as chicken and turkey and with pork is to brine it. Brining is a quick step that involves immersing meat in a salt water solution. The salt actually changes the shape of the meat proteins to allow them to hold more juice than un-brined meat or poultry. An overcooked brined roasted chicken will actually be moister than a perfectly cooked un-brined bird. Not only that, brining is a great way to impart delicious flavour by adding whatever extras you like to a brine.
Here is a basic brine recipe that can be used for pork, turkey or chicken:
- 4 Litres of water
- 1 cup of kosher salt
- 1/2 cup sugar (this balances the flavour)
- Optional seasoning: peppercorns, chopped rosemary or thyme, juniper berries, bay leaves, coriander seeds, garlic, and aromatic vegetables such as onion, carrot and celery, roughly chopped
Combine all of the ingredients in a large pot and bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve salt and sugar;
Remove from heat and allow cooling to room temperature, then refrigerating until chilled.
(Option: use 1/2 the amount of water and cool quicker by removing from heat and adding 2 L of ice cubes);
The amount of brine depends on what you are doing. The brine must cover the meat entirely;
The time also depends on what you are doing; a whole chicken can be brined for 4-6 hours; for more information please email us;
Pat’s BBQ Roasted Chicken
- 2- 3lb chickens, brined using the above recipe
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- juice of 3 limes
- 3 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- freshly ground black pepper
And now here is a recipe for a roasted chicken on the BBQ, to enjoy for the last weekend of the summer …
Mix together all of the ingredients (except chickens);
Rub chickens well all over with the seasoning mixture;
Place chickens in a pan on one side of the BBQ; turn the other side of the BBQ on and maintain a temperature of 375 degrees (i.e. cook indirectly);
Roast for about 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until the thigh registers 170°F;
Rest for 15 minutes, covered with foil, before carving. Happy Sunday!