Chicken Brine and Cooking Instructions
A simple brine and fresh herb stuffing creates a juicy and crisp bird that far surpasses any supermarket chicken. Follow the below instructions and and you will be begging for more.
Before adding the chicken to the brine, be sure to rinse it well with cold water and remove the giblets and the neck from the interior cavity.
Steeping the chicken in a salt and sugar brine is the key to cooking a juicy bird. To make the brine, I add 1/2 cup kosher salt and 1/2 cup sugar (either granulated or brown sugar, your choice) to a dutch oven or really deep bowl or container. I then pour about 1 cup of boiling water over the mix then vigorously stir until the mixture dissolves. Next I add enough cold water to cover the bird and add peppercorns and bay leaves.
I recommend brining in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours and up to 12 hours or so. Once you’re done brining, discard the brine and drain the chicken well.
Next I create an aromatic stuffing using lemons, garlic and rosemary and sage. I drizzle with a little olive oil and more kosher salt and pepper. Before loading the stuffing into the bird, I generously salt the cavity of the bird. This infuses flavor from the inside out.
Next, drizzle the skin with olive oil and add more kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. I add a few rosemary leaves to the outside too. Tuck the wings under the breast and tie the legs together with twine.
Be sure to have the chicken centered over the heat source when cooking. I suggest rotating to a different hanging orientation every 15-20 minutes. Dont be afraid to test different heights to ensure the chicken is getting a good amount of heat, but not burning. The chicken will take between 2 1/2 - 3 hours to cook, depending on your fire conditions. With chicken it’s always best to go with telling it’s done by the temperature, not by the time. Chickens are cooked when the thickest part of the thigh registers 165 degrees F or 74 degrees C. Using a quality digital thermometer is super easy and a reliable way to get a fast reading.
To serve, I like to cut up the bird and serve family style, including slicing the breasts so everyone can have a bite. An extra squeeze of lemon freshens the chicken just before it goes to the table.