This recipe can be used for either a whole chicken or pieces. If you use a whole chicken, first soak it in the brine and then spatchcock it prior to roasting. If using chicken pieces, I recommend thigh pieces with the skin on and bone in, they provide a better taste and plating than skinless boneless pieces. It’s a personal choice, but I almost never cook with breasts, unless I’m making Chicken Kiev or Chicken Cordon Bleu. Breast meat is too dry and tasteless for interesting cuisine. It makes okay sandwich or soup meat but not as a main dish, at least not when you have thighs to work with.
To get the best results, you need to start a day in advance of plating. You can shorten the timeline if you want, but why? A good cook plans their meals days ahead of time so there’s no excuse for taking shortcuts.
Note: If you are on a salt restricted diet, this is not a good recipe for you. It is also not Keto friendly, the sugar and honey are no-nos.
- 1 Whole chicken or 5 lbs of pieces (bone in/skin on)
- 1 gallon water
- 3/4 cup Kosher salt
- 1/2 cup sugar (either light brown or granulated white)
- 1/2 cup honey
- Boil water then add salt, sugar, and honey. Stir until dissolved.
- Let cool to room temperature
- Soak chicken in brine for 18 hours in the refrigerator. You can soak longer if you like, but not less. The trade off is that the longer you soak the meat the more it will start to toughen and dry when roasted. Note: I’m talking days longer not hours longer.
- Roast Chicken
- Preheat oven to 425 deg. F.
- If cooking whole chicken, spatchcock the bird and place in roasting pan skin side up. If using pieces, arrange in roasting pan skin side up allowing as much room as possible between pieces.
- You can add herbs if you want to experiment, just not salt, it already has enough. Rosemary, Thyme, Curry and Garlic are possible herbs to add. I prefer to make a sauce or relish to plate with rather than spice the chicken.
- Roast chicken for 15 mins.
- Lower oven temperature to 350 deg. F. and roast chicken 20 minutes longer.
- Remove from oven and let rest
- Rest whole bird 30 minutes before cutting
- Rest pieces 10 minute before plating
Note 1: My taste panel, which admittedly don’t like spicy foods, thought the chicken was too salty. I on the other hand felt the honey balanced the salt perfectly, but if you like your foods more on the bland side, you may want to consider using less salt. The magic of cooking for yourself is that you get to decide how you want your foods to taste. For me, I am not going to go through all the work of preparing a gourmet meal while worrying about my diet; even though I should.