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How to Brine and Roast a Chicken

How to brine and roast a chicken.
Prep Time2 hrs
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time3 hrs
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chicken
Servings: 1 chicken


Citrus Brine Recipe

  • 120 oz 15 cups water
  • 6 oz wt kosher salt
  • 1 oz wt brown sugar
  • 1 each lemon
  • 1 each orange
  • 1 each grapefruit
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 each bay leaf
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 2 tsp juniper berries
  • 4 cloves of garlic

To Roast The Chicken

  • 1 whole chicken 4-6 pounds
  • kosher salt
  • pepper
  • olive oil


Preparing the Chicken:

  • Place the raw chicken in a clean sink and remove anything inside the cavity (neck, giblets, liver, etc.). Thoroughly rinse the chicken in cold water.
  • At this point, if you choose not to brine the chicken skip to the "How to Roast a Chicken" step.

Citrus Brine Recipe

  • Heat 2 cups of the water in a small pot with the salt and brown sugar until the salt and sugar dissolves. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  • Toast the pepper and juniper berries in a small pan for about 30 seconds until fragrant. Crush the pepper and juniper berries in a mortar and pestle or with the flat part of a knife.
  • Smash the garlic cloves.
  • Place the chicken in a 12 qt pot, large bowl, or large zip lock bag. Cut the citrus in half and squeeze over the chicken. Drop the citrus into the pot. Add the smashed garlic, spices and herbs. Pour in the remaining 13 cups of cold water and then the dissolved sugar/salt mixture. If the chicken floats, weight it down with a plate. Cover and refrigerate for 8-12 hours. Flip the chicken every few hours.

How to Roast a Chicken

  • salt
  • pepper
  • olive oil
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • If brining the chicken, remove it from the brine, rinse and pat dry inside and out. Discard the brine.
  • Rub the skin with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  • Place the chicken on a v-shaped rack in a roasting pan in the oven. A 4 lb chicken will take 45 minutes to an hour. My 6 lb bird took about an hour and 15 minutes.
  • Check the progress after about 1/2 an hour. If some parts are starting to get dark faster than others, cover them with foil (see photo above) and rotate the chicken in the oven for even roasting.
  • At 45 minutes, start checking for doneness. An instant-read thermometer is very useful here; cook the chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees in the thickest part of the meat, thigh or breast, it does not matter.
  • When done, remove from the oven and let rest for about 10 minutes before cutting to allow the juices to settle. Like a steak, if you cut it too soon, the juices will all run out and you will end up with a very dry chicken.