One of our go to meals, especially in the chilly months, is roasted chicken. After many attempts, I think we have finally perfected our recipe. We used to roast the bird whole on top of winter veggies, which made for some really delicious roasted veggies, but a mediocre bird. Generally we would get over cooked breasts and under cooked thighs. It is very hard to perfectly cook all parts of the bird in its natural form. In the summer, we love to grill chicken on the grill. Usually we buy a whole chicken and flatten the bird out by cutting out the backbone. This allows the bird to cook evenly on the grill. We tried roasting a chicken this way and it was amazing! Now our chickens come out cooked perfectly and they cook in almost half the time! We also swear by putting our chicken in a brine at least 8 hours before cooking, which makes for an unbelievably juicy chicken.
1/3 cup salt
2 tablespoons pickling spice (we get ours at Penzey’s, check it out here)
1 tablespoon dried sage
3 cloves garlic (crushed)
6 cups warm water
1 4-5 pound chicken (flattened by removing the backbone and breastbone, not sure how to do this? click here!)
3 tablespoons ghee, duck or bacon fat (melted)
Salt and pepper to taste
Add the brine ingredients to a heavy duty plastic ziplock bag (you can also do this in a large bowl or pot, but it will need to fit into your fridge and ours is always way too full).
Close up the bag and shake. Make sure the salt fully dissolves in the water. Place the bag into the fridge for a bit to bring the water down to at least room temperature. Add the chicken and to the bag and make sure it is fully covered, add more water if necessary. Close the bag making sure there is as little air as possible left inside the bag.
Place in the fridge for at least 8 hours (up to 12). Flip the bag half way through the process to make sure the chicken is evenly brining. After 8 hours, remove the bag from the fridge. Carefully remove the chicken from the bag and rinse under cold water making sure to remove any pickling spice that might have attached itself to the bird. Using paper towel, thoroughly dry the bird (this is very important) and place the bird skin side up on a baking sheet. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. During this time allow the chicken to rest, this will bring the bird up to room temperature and will help make sure your chicken is juicy and tender. Brush the skin side with the melted ghee (or animal fat).Sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides of the bird.
Put in the oven for approximately 1 hour. After 1 hour, use a thermometer to accurately judge whether the chicken done, we look for 165 degrees in the thigh. If it is at 165 degrees, turn on the broiler for 2-3 minutes to allow the skin to crisp up. Do not walk away at this point, watch the bird to make sure it does not burn! Remove the chicken from the oven and cover with foil and let it rest for at least 15 minutes.
Carve it up and enjoy!