Monday, February 23, 2009

The Juiciest Oven Roasted Chicken Ever!

Roasted Chicken is a favorite for this family of 6. I like to roast 2 birds at a time so I can have enough cooked chicken for 2 meals AND make a big batch of homemade chicken stock, which I value like gold! Stay tuned for a separate post on how to make
the most wonderful chicken stock.


Okay, first let me say that I grew up eating roasted chicken.  We had it all the time and I loved it. Didn't think it could get any better... that is, until I discovered the wonderful world of brining. If you've never brined before, you MUST MUST MUST give it a try. I promise you will not be disappointed! Brining adds so much flavor and moisture. You'll truly be amazed.

Here's how I brined my two 5 1/2 pound chickens. I do everything in a huge 16-quart stockpot, but you can use a 5 gallon bucket, a large plastic storage container, a cooler... basically whatever you have that will hold 2 gallons of brine and 2 chickens.

(FYI - this stockpot is one of those cheap-o flimsy ones that is so light weight and thin that anything you cook in it burns (even boiled pasta - seriously). Not good for cooking, but great for brining or boiling large amounts of water.

Recipe can easily be halved, but here's what you'll
need to make two chickens like I do:

2 gallons water (divided)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup kosher salt (I use Morton's)
(or 1/4 cup non-iodized table salt)
2 teaspoons of ground black pepper

Start by bringing 1 quart of water to a boil (4 cups). Add salt and sugar; stir to dissolve.  Add enough cold water to equal 2 gallons (that's an additional 28 cups). Be sure your finished brine is COLD. Stir in the black pepper (my arms would fall off if I tried to grind all that pepper by hand, so I grind peppercorns in a coffee mill that I reserve for spices); stir. Remove giblets/neck from the chickens (good for stock, minus the liver which can give a bitter taste).  Submerge the chickens in the brine - get that brine inside too! Cover the stockpot and refrigerate for 8-24. If you're brining in a cooler, keep brine temp below 40F using ice packs.


After the chickens are done lounging in their luxurious salt bath, remove them from the brine and pat them dry. I don't rinse, but you could if you wanted to. Discard the used brine. Let the birds sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes, but you can skip this step if you're in a hurry. Pat birds dry again, and rub each with 1-2 tablespoons of softened butter. Yuck Warning - if the chickens aren't completely dry, the butter will stick to you instead of sticking to them!


Sprinkle liberally with ground black pepper only.  DO NOT sprinkle with salt at this point. Remember, these guys have been swimming in the dead sea for hours.


Oops, I forgot to get a photo of this step, but I stuff each chicken with half of an onion and
some whole garlic cloves. I added some cut potatoes to the roasting pan.
Click here for super crunchy oven roasted potatoes


I like to tie the legs together for a nicer finished presentation. Believe me, they turn out much better looking this way, but you don't have to.


These babies are going to exude a lot of juice, so be sure to use a deep sided roasting pan. Roast the birds at 350F for about 20 minutes per pound (5.5 pounds x 20 minutes = 1 hour and 50 minutes), or until the internal temperature taken in the thickest part of the thigh registers about 165F. Remove the chickens from the oven and let them rest for 10-15 minutes before carving. Oops, you can see that I set the alarm on my roasting thermometer to go off at the wrong temp, but I'm not worried... I know brining these guys guarantees that they're still going to be super juicy and tender.


Mmmm - you are going to LOVE LOVE LOVE this chicken. Your family is going to Love Love Love this chicken... and your mother-in-law is going to hate hate hate you and be so jealous.  Err, uhh - just kidding... Hi Carol! Thank you for all the great kitchen toys you've given me over the years... your son sends his love... and so do your grandkids... and so do I... :).


Can you see the puddle of juice this chicken breast is oozing?  So succulent and delicious. Be prepared to hear praise from even your pickiest eater as this yummy chicken is being devoured.  You'll thank me later - Enjoy!
:)



47 comments:

  1. Awesome Patrincia! You made me laugh out loud when I read "like remember, these guys were swimming in the dead sea for like 12 hours." and "your mother-in-law is going to hate hate hate you and be so jealous." You are very funny.
    I haven't roasted a chicken in a long time. I can't wait to try it again!

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  2. Thanks Tammy - you put a big smile on my face! I can't wait to hear how it turns out for you.

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  3. Two thumbs up for your first post Patricia!!! Can't wait to try the brining technique. I've never done it before.
    Rozanne

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  4. You'll love it Rozanne - my brood hovers like a flock of vultures when I make chicken this way. My pickiest thinks it's just as good served cold from the fridge too. Let me know what you think.

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  5. Hi Patrincia,

    Do I need to rinse the chicken after brining?

    Tammy

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  6. Hi Tammy - I don't. I just dry them really well with paper towels.

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  7. Thanks! I figured you would have put that step in there if I needed to do it.... and you were right about it being juicy. Oh my goodness!! It was awesome! I made the crunchy potatoes too. Yummo! My husband was a very happy man that night.

    The following day, I made the chicken stock. (My very first time. :-D)

    I used the chicken stock tonight in chicken pot pie. My husband will never let me buy chicken stock again! lol Thanks for holding my hand and teaching me how to do it. You must be related to Rose. :-)

    Tammy

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  8. Hooray!!! I'm so glad you liked everything Tammy :). I love to make chicken pot pie too... one of these days I'll do a post about it.

    Take care!

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  9. We roast a chicken at least twice a month here. I've become partial to roasting with lemon and garlic but this looks and sounds yummy. Sadly, I can't brine anything when I am cooking for my mother-in-law as she is on a no sodium added diet. As always beautiful photos!

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  10. Hi Solanaceae - sorry you can't brine for your MIL, but you can certainly use your unbrined chicken carcass to make wonderful chicken stock (link above in the post).

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  11. I love your brine! I made brine once for a turkey, and it came out so juicy! Look at thaT LAST PIC... OHH SOOO JUICY!!!

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  12. Thanks Red - me too! Wolfgang Puck has a fabulous brined turkey recipe that I usually make for the holidays. I'll have to post about it in the fall.

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  13. Loved your sense of humor in your post. And I love chicken!!!! I think I will give this a try. I've never brined a chicken before.

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  14. Are we living parallel lives here? I just brined my Costco birds two weeks ago. Then we barbecued them and the white meat was so juicy even the day after. Brilliant.
    Don't forget that the cooked chickens have lost a lot of their weight when the liquid and fat cook off. You packaged birds will do the same and weigh considerable less than their raw state. Plus you didn't use electricity to cook them.

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  15. Hello...

    Mmmmm...yummy!!! My friend, I must admit that I have never heard of brining a chicken before! What a great post...I learn something new everyday here in Blogland!!! Hehe! Ooooh...I can just see all those yummy juices coming from that brined chicken after you cut it...I really would like to try this method! Thanks so much for sharing it with us for Sunday Favorites!!!

    Have a super Sunday, my friend!
    Chari

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  16. Thank you for the instructions on how to brine and make chicken stock. Your chickens look so good and really juicy..Christine

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  17. Hi Girlfriend...

    Hehe...I see that you decided to "rerun" one of my favorite posts!!! I remember when I read it...I had never heard of brining a chicken! Well, I hate to admit it but I yet to try this fabulous recipe...but then I haven't cooked a whole chicken since that post! I do intend on trying it though!

    Great post!!! Thank you so much for sharing it with all of us on Sunday Favorites!!! Ooooh...I'm so serious...that has got to be the prettiest chicken that I've ever seen!!!

    Have a super Sunday, Sweetie!
    Chari

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  18. I have made this and can vouch for how juicy and tender the chickens come out.
    I was just giving the recipe to a non-cooking friend on Friday night.

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  19. looks delicious -- I'll have to find that stock post too!

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  20. wow, it looks wonderful....I didn't know a thing about brining before reading your post, just wondering would it be a big no-no to use iodized salt???

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  21. Good question... there are two things to remember about iodized salt. First, it's about twice as salty as Kosher salt, so you can use is, just use half as much. And second, iodized salt has a slightly bitter taste. For the cleanest, roundest, sweetest flavor, use non-iodized.

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  22. Oh, I can't wait to try this. My family will love this so much! Thank you:)

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  23. I just got an oven roaster for .69 and have it brining. I don't always brine, but if time permits I do...definitely makes a juicy chicken!

    Have a good weekend, BY!

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  24. Your chicken looks fabulous! So juicy, with a such crispy looking skin! We love Roast Chicken, yours looks perfect!

    I never brined, I just buy a kosher bird, they're already soaked and salted so it saves a step.

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  25. I really love roasted chicken and yours look divine! I have a frozen bird ready to be cooked..maybe this rainy weekend I will. Thanks for joining me for Flashback Friday..great post!

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  26. Just made this for the 2nd time tonight. My plan is to always brine now. Thank you for the great recipe.

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  27. I found your blog recently and tried your recipe for chicken. It really was the juiciest I've ever had! It was so good, four of us nearly ate two chickens! Thank you for sharing the great pictures and advice.

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  28. Hi Kristi - I'm so glad you liked it! Thanks for letting me know you've tried and liked several of my recipes. I hope you'll try more!!

    :)
    ButterYum

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  29. Hi I just found your amazing blog:) I want to try this chicken recipe and though my question may seem obvious I just want to be sure. you said Oops, I forgot to tell you that I stuffed each chicken with half of a large onion and
    some whole garlic cloves, was this before putting it in the brine or the oven to roast? sorry if this is a dumb question. I hope to try many of your recipes, thanks Robyn:)

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  30. Hi Robyn - thanks for visiting my blog. I'm so glad you like it. I'm happy to answer your question (no question is ever a dumb one!!).

    The onion and garlic is placed in the chicken just before roasting.

    I'd love to know how you like the recipe. It's a family favorite here!

    :)
    Patricia

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  31. Hi Patricia,

    I just came to tell you I found this comment on my blog and was going to let you know, incase someone was looking for it. =)

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  32. Oops, I must have copied the wrong url. Thank you so much for letting me know.

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  33. Thanks for your quick response:) I will let you know how it goes:)

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  34. Have you tried slow roasting this kind of chicken? Since it already makes normal chicken juicy, it would be amazing with brined chicken

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    1. HI Pam - Wow... this post is a blast from the past. I think it was one of my first blog posts. So sorry the photos were so bad (they've improved quite a bit since then - hope you'll visit some of more recent work). Anyway, to answer your question - nope, I've never done the slow roasting method with brined chicken, but I'll certainly consider it in the future. Thanks for the inspiration and take care. Patricia

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  35. Patricia, I have not had good luck with brining. But I'm going to try this recipe step-by-step. Nothing is better than juicy succulent chicken!!! BTW~ I have bathed in the Dead Sea, my skin felt fabulous for 2 months!!!

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  36. everyone in my family only like chicken breast so could I use this same recipe for brining them or would it need to be adjusted? Thanks, can't wait to "Brine" for the first time!

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    1. Great question - I've never brined just breasts so I looked online for an answer and found this helpful blog post. Looks promising - hope it helps.

      http://gooddinnermom.com/brine-chicken-breasts/

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  37. I love your site!! I have been going through it everyday now. Already tried the oasis naan. Turned out great. The chicken and potatoes are in the oven now..:) (The first time I brined.. :))Next on my list is the banana cake and banana bread. have got some bananas just for it. Votes your Italian wedding site too. Thanks a ton!!

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    1. Hi Gracy - thanks for letting me know you enjoy my blog. Really glad you liked the naan. You'll have to let me know how your chicken and potatoes turn out - glad you tried them despite the horrible photos (I should really take some new ones). Take care, and visit again soon!!

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    2. PS - both banana recipes are good, but the cake is the hands down winner in this house. Hope you love it as much as we do.

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  38. Hi Patricia,

    Love your site!! Tried the oasis naan the same day you put it here. Turned out great!! The chicken is in the oven now and will be making the stock tomorrow. First time the chicken got brined here. Now you would have pretty much guessed that I have been checking recipes here the whole of last week.. (My husband thinks I have gone crazy..:)) Next on my list is the banana bread and cake.

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  39. This is hands down the best roasted chicken I have ever had and the potatoes are delicious!! I will be making both of these again..:D Visit again?? I don't think I will leaving for quiet some time..:)

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Thanks for visiting!