What is it about a roast chicken dinner that we all love? The crispy potatoes, drowning it all in gravy, the seasoned vegetables – you can’t go wrong with a good roast. But nailing that chicken to make sure it is super tender, juicy, and still flavoursome seems to be the hard part. No one likes dry chicken.
Not to worry, I’ve got a super easy recipe for you: a dry brined juicy roast chicken.
By brining the chicken, wet or dry, you’re allowing the structure in the chicken protein to break down so that the meat retains its juices and tenderness. It also means a super crispy skin. Tender meat + crispy skin = win win.
So what does this magical brine include? I’ve gone for smokey paprika, salt, pepper, brown sugar, and garlic granules. Feel free to add in onion powder, thyme etc, I used what I had on hand.
Mix it up and rub it all over that chicken. Every little nook and cranny should be covered and do a little sprinkle inside the cavity too. Place it uncovered in the fridge for at least 4 hours and up to 24 to dry out.
But the fun doesn’t stop there as this recipe involves butter, some more butter, and a heck of a lot of butter. Okay, its not so much butter but enough to keep the chicken moist. You’ll be making a small compound butter of garlic, parsley, lemon zest + juice, and olive oil that you stuff under the skin before roasting the bird.
Leave the chicken to rest for 15 minutes after cooking so it doesn’t lose those juices you worked so hard to retain. And there you have it – a dry brined juicy roast chicken that is great for a Sunday roast but also for sandwiches or a salad the next day.
Enough chatter from me, here is the recipe.
DRY BRINED JUICY ROAST CHICKEN RECIPE
1 baby chicken
¼ medium onion
3 garlic cloves
Roasting vegetables (carrots, onions, potatoes etc)
DRY BRINE RUB
2-3tbsp sea salt (if using table salt, you will need to reduce this amount as it is very fine )
1tsp garlic granules
1tbsp soft brown sugar
1tsp black pepper
1.5tbsp smoked or normal paprika
150g unsalted butter, softened (room temperature)
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1tsp minced garlic
1tbsp olive oil
Notes: I used a baby chicken for this recipe as it was all I could find so adjust the seasonings and cooking time for the size of chicken that you have. If using salted butter, slightly adjust the amount of salt you use as you don’t want it to become too salty.
- Remove chicken from the fridge and pat down with a paper towel, inside and out.
- Using a mortar and pestle, grind together the dry brine rub ingredients (smokey paprika, garlic granules, sugar, salt, and pepper)
- Rub the mixture all over the chicken making sure to cover every area and sprinkle a little inside the cavity too.
- Place the uncovered chicken on a plate and in the fridge for at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours.
- For the compound butter, mix together the softened butter, garlic, chopped parsley, lemon zest + juice, garlic, olive oil, and black pepper until it is combined well.
- Preheat the oven to 200c (fan assisted) and place your roasting vegetables on a foil lined tray with some salt, pepper, and a little olive oil.
- Take the chicken out of the fridge and slowly pry the skin away from the meat making sure to include the legs too. You can use your fingers or back of a spoon for this.
- Rub the compound butter under the skin, making sure not to cause any tears in the skin, and leave some aside for basting.
- Stuff the cavity with lemon, onion, and garlic.
- Place the chicken on a rack on top of the tray with the vegetables and put the tray in the hot oven.
- Whilst the chicken is roasting, make sure to baste it once in a while with the leftover butter, and remove once the chicken is golden and cooked thoroughly.
- Leave the chicken to rest for at least 15 minutes before slicing up and serving.