Ever been at a family dinner and eaten (or served) dry chicken?
Ya me too..
Chicken is a lean meat and because of that, it has the tendency to dry out easily. That is why the ultimate trick to roasting a chicken that is juicy, flavourful and tender is to brine it!
It takes a little bit of time, but I promise you that it is absolutely worth it. The reason why you should start to brine meats before cooking them, is because it is an effective way to increase moisture content and tenderness of the meat before roasting or cooking. The process of soaking the meat in salted water causes the meat to absorb some of the water into the meat through osmosis, and this will makes your chicken more moist and more flavourful once cooked.
There are two different methods to brine meats. One is a wet brine (the method used for this chicken), and the other is a dry brine (rubbing the meat in salt for a few hours, then washing off prior to cooking).
To make a wet brine, you need 3 things:
Water: This is what the brine wet. Duh
Salt: Helps retain moisture by breaking down proteins in the meat. When those proteins break down, the meat won’t contract as much while cooking and this makes it retain more moisture and yields juicer and more tender meat. I prefer to use sea salt (grey or pink himalayan salt) as it is lower in sodium and contains trace minerals.
Sugar: Balances the saltiness of the brine, and also helps to increase the amount of caramelization (browning of the skin) when cooking the chicken. You can use white sugar, brown sugar, molasses or honey (what I prefer to use).
As I mentioned earlier, brining chicken does take time (about 8-12 hours to exact). GOOD THINGS TAKE TIME PEOPLE. If you don’t want to put time into cooking your own chicken, go to Safeway and buy one for $14.99. No judgement, I’ve done it before. But If you want to hone some of your kitchen skills and learn a few new tricks, you should totally brine your chicken before roasting it!
If you don’t have time to brine, I totally understand. Just skip to step #3 in the directions and you will still have a delicious roasted chicken to enjoy for dinner!
Reasons why you will love this chicken recipe:
- Chicken is a lean protein full of amino acids that is food to your muscles. Want to make those gains? Eat chicken.
- You can make a delicious and nourishing chicken stock after and make some homemade soup!
- It Is a healthy dinner option when served with vegetables or a salad!
- Very hands off and easy to prepare.
- Will easily feed a family of 4.
- It is incredibly flavourful.
- Is budget friendly.
If you follow a dairy free diet, either use vegan butter, bacon fat or just skip it completely. The fat on top of the skin keeps the chicken breast extra moist and is great if you are lazy like me and can’t be bothered to baste the chicken every 15 minutes.
After you have enjoyed the juiciest chicken you’ve ever eaten, make sure to save the bones to check out this complete guide to making your own nutritious and flavourful chicken stock and after, you can either sip it straight or follow this recipe to make some delicious chicken noodle soup after!
If you make this recipe I would love it if you left a comment in the comment sections below! And don’t forget to tag me on Instagram or Pinterest @wholisticfoodie
- Cooking time will vary depending on the weight of the chicken. Adjust cooking time appropriately.
- I prefer to use a digital thermometer like this one to correctly and instantly read the internal temperature of the chicken.
- Seasoning the chicken with additional herbs by chopping up fresh thyme, parsley, rosemary or sage!
The Juiciest & Most Delicious Roasted Chicken Ever
- June 6, 2020
- 14 hr
- Print this
- for the brine:
- 8 C water
- 1/2 C sea salt
- 1/4 C honey
- 4 bay leaves
- 5 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 1 tbsp whole peppercorns
- 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- small handful of fresh parsley
- 3-4 lb chicken
- for the roasted chicken:
- 1/4 C butter
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- Step 1
- Brine the chicken: In a medium sized saucepan, add 2 cups of water along with the salt, honey, bay leaves, garlic, peppercorns and herbs. Bring to a boil then turn down the heat and let simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool completely. Once cooled, pour brine into a large bowl or stock pot or in whatever dish or container that is large enough (and leak-proof) to brine the chicken in, then add 6 cups of water and stir to combine. Fully submerge chicken into brine and store in fridge for 8-12 hours.
- Step 2
- Remove chicken from brine, then rinse under water and pat dry with paper towel. Transfer chicken to roasting pan and allow skin to dry in the fridge for 2-3 hours (this step isn’t necessary if you don’t have a lot of time, however allowing the skin to dry is how you achieve a crispy skin once cooked).
- Step 3
- Cook the chicken: When you are ready to cook the chicken, preheat oven to 400°. Melt the butter in a frying pan and stir in minced garlic, then brush or pour all over chicken. Sprinkle the pepper and 1/2 tsp of the salt on the skin then add the remaining 1 tsp of salt into the cavity of the chicken. Roast chicken covered on the bottom rack of the oven for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, remove the cover and cook for 15-30 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 160-165° and the skin is brown. Remove chicken from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving!