We are a family of chicken lovers. But buying good quality, organic chicken can be quite spendy if you are buying choice cuts like boneless, skinless breasts. I’ve found that we get the most bang for our chicken buck when I roast a whole chicken in the oven. I can usually get three meals out of the meat alone, and then I throw all the bones, skin, and organs in the crock pot and end up with at least 6 cups of incredible homemade chicken stock. So really, whole chickens for our family are a no-brainer. I buy organic whole chickens at Costco and just throw them in the freezer. The secret, in my opinion, is brining the bird. If you’ve never brined poultry before, it’s really quite simple. It involves soaking the chicken in a bath of a sugar/salt solution in order to impart some flavor to what could otherwise be pretty bland meat. So here is the Burden Family’s favorite recipe for the perfect roast chicken.
Perfect Roast Chicken
- 1 whole, organic chicken, rinsed, organs removed
- 4 cups water
- 1/2 cup kosher salt
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 4 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1 Tablespoon whole peppercorns
- 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme (optional)
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- Rinse bird and place in a large mixing bowl breast side down. The bird should fit inside completely.
- In a medium saucepan, combine water, salt, sugar, garlic, peppercorns, and thyme. Bring the solution to a boil. Stir to be sure the sugar and salt are dissolved. Remove from heat.
- Allow the brine to cool a bit. Once it’s stopped steaming, pour the solution over the bird. Soak for at least 5 hours in the refrigerator. I usually make the brine first thing in the morning.
- 2 hours before you plan to eat, preheat your oven to 350. Take the bird out of the brine and discard the liquid. Place the chicken breast side up in a roasting pan (I love my Pampered Chef covered stoneware baker for this).
- Pat the skin dry with a paper towel and rub the butter all over the chicken. Bake at 350 for 90 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees and the skin is golden brown (Just FYI, I never take an internal temperature. You’ll know it’s done when the skin looks amazing and the legs begin to pull away from the body.)
- Let the chicken rest for 15 minutes before carving.
If you plan to make stock from the bones, grab your crock pot as you carve the bird and throw the scraps right in. You can also dump the juices from the roasting pan in as well. I turn my crock pot on right after I get the dishes done and I let it go for about 24 hours (usually on the patio because I hate waking up to the smell of chicken stock in the house!)
I hope you will give this one a try. I promise it won’t disappoint!
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