The Slowcook at Spydog Farm The Slowcook at Spydog Farm

Brined Chicken: Wow

March 1st, 2011 · 7 Comments · Posted in Recipes

Our brined chicken, deliciously browned

I was prepared to be unimpressed with our brined chicken. After all, how much better could it be simply from soaking in salt, sugar and herbs overnight?

Answer: a lot better. After years of trying to induce flavor into chicken–stuffing it with herbs, surrounding it with herbs in the roasting pan, pushing seasonings under the skin–here, finally was a chicken oozing flavor.

I did not detect saltiness, exactly. Nor could I discern any of the indivdual herbs or flavorings we had used: sage, rosemary, bay, garlic, onion, lemon. The meat was simply well seasoned, unlike any chicken I had experienced before.

Even my wife, the professional catering chef, was bowled over. “I’m officially impressed,” she said.

I don’t think we’ll be roasting chicken any other way henceforth.

A few notes on the roasting process. I took the bird out of the fridge a couple of hours ahead so that it could come up to room temperature. That’s especially important, I think, when roasting at a high temperature–450 degrees in this case. I consulted Judy Rodgers book, The Zuni Cafe Cookbook, Rogers being perhaps the most experienced chicken roaster on the planet. She recommends using small chickens–two and three-quarters to three and one-half pounds–in a very hot oven, as high as 500 degrees.

For this Charcutepalooza project, we were following the recipe in Michael Ruhlman’s Charcuterie, which calls for a three- to five-pound chicken or turkey breast roasted at 450 degrees. That’s pretty hot for a large bird. We experienced some charring on parts of our chicken. When you see this happening, Ruhlman recommends draping a piece of aluminum foil over the bird to deflect the heat.

Otherwise, drying the bird uncovered in the fridge resulted in a browned and crispy skin very much like what you’d expect from a Peking duck. It was by far the best chicken we’ve ever made at home. Now I’m anxious to try it on the rotisserie.

Leave a Comment

Please note: Your comment may have to wait for approval to be published to ensure that we don't accidentally publish "spam". We thank you for understanding.


  • MrsWheelbarrow

    Now that’s an endorsement! And a pretty picture, to boot. As there are only two of us, I always look for the smallest chickens – a 3# bird is perfect – and, agreed, using high heat on a dry bird is an amazing experience. Thank you for playing along!

  • lae

    it looks fantastic. : )
    bien sur, the first time you brine a bird, it’s like a compleat revelation.

  • Elizabeth

    YES! Another brining convert. I was lukewarm on roasted chicken until we started to brine a few years back. Now it is a weekly staple in our house. So long dried, tacky bird texture! If only I could convince my mother to brine the Thanksgiving turkey.

  • Mary W

    Thanks. Roasted chicken is one of my favorite foods, but my husband finds it bland. This may work for us.

  • Renee @ Loca-Faces

    This sounds fabulous. I was curious how it would turn out. I have dry brined turkeys, but never chicken, so we’ll have to try it. You also said you brined tongue in the early post. I haven’t been brave enough to try the tongue from our beef orders yet, so that’s some motivation.

  • Ed Bruske

    Renee, I heartily recommend beef tongue. Imagine the best pot roast you’ve ever tasted. You can use the search feature on this blog for links to the method for brining, then poaching the tongue. We order it regularly from our local dairy.

  • Jackie

    Nice! I wasn’t going to do chicken, but now I have no choice. Great photo – I’m picking up my first beef tongue tomorrow : )

    ps: Really like your site