The Slowcook at Spydog Farm The Slowcook at Spydog Farm

Chicken on the Spit

July 1st, 2014 · 2 Comments · Posted in Recipes


It hardly seems possible chicken could be any more moist and flavorful than the Freedom Rangers we raise on our pastures. One exception might be the same Freedom Ranger brined then roasted on a spit over hot coals.

It took us a long time to come around to brining poultry. Could it possibly make that much difference? Short answer: yes, a big difference. The concept is basic science. You soak the bird in a water solution of salt, sugar, herbs and spices. Through osmosis, the salt penetrates the flesh on a cellular level, flavoring the entire bird down to the bone. Our brine calls for 1 cup kosher salt and 1/2 cup granulated sugar dissolved in a gallon of water. To that, you can add whatever flavorings you like: tarragon, parsley, peppercorns, bay leaves, garlic, lemon. Tarragon is a fine summer herb. In winter, we switch to rosemary.

Don’t be afraid to use generous amounts of flavorings–a whole head of garlic sliced in half, for instance. Two whole lemons, halved. A large onion, sliced. A quarter cup of crushed peppercorns. Two bay leaves.

You get the picture.

After dissolving the salt and sugar (I use tepid tap water), place the bird in a container that will just fit the chicken. I used the large freezer bag in which we had stored our Freedom Ranger. Add your flavorings, pour in the brine and refrigerate. How long to brine is a matter of taste. Overnight should do it. For more intense flavor, try 24 hours, but be careful your bird doesn’t come away too salty.

After removing the chicken from the brine, I like to dry it out for a day to get a crispier skin. Just put it on a roasting rack set on a sheet pan and let it sit in the refrigerator uncovered. The fridge will suck the skin dry.

You’re now ready for roasting. But this time of year, I ditch the oven in favor of the spit attachment on our Weber grill. There’s no better way I know of to cook meat. I lay an aluminum pan under the chicken and pour a chimney-full of hot coals on either side of the pan. Leave the bottom vents of the Weber fully open, the vents on the lid half-way. With the little electric motor gently rotating our chicken over the coals, our five-and-a-half-pound bird turned a beautiful golden brown and was done in one hour fifteen minutes.


Did I mention this was the best chicken ever?

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  • Tammy Bowman

    My mouth was watering as I was reading your description of the chicken. I have never brined a chicken, but after your testimonial…I may just have to do it sooner rather than later. Wish I could use one of your birds for the test run, I think your family’s hands-on care of the poultry adds to the flavor profile of the birds.

  • Ed Bruske

    Tammy, we used to find pretty good chicken at Whole Foods. What about your local farmers market? Use the best you can find.