Brining is an excellent technique to cure meats and to season them uniformly. Here is Thomas Keller’s recipe for chicken brine that you can use for roasting or frying chicken.
The key ingredient is lemon, which goes wonderfully well with chicken. Adding the herbs: bay leaf, parsley and thyme gives the chicken a wonderful aromatic flavor.
The recipe makes 2 gallons of brine which is enough for 10 pounds of chicken. This may be a bit much for a single person, a couple, or a small family. I recommend either brining a big batch and freezing the brined chicken that you won’t use or simply dividing the recipe accordingly depending on how much chicken you are going to cook.
Chicken Brine Recipe
Recipe by Thomas Keller from Ad Hoc at Home
5 lemons, halved
24 bay leaves
1 bunch (4 ounces) flat-leaf parsley
1 bunch (1 ounce) thyme
1/2 cup honey
1 head garlic, halved through the equator
1/4 cup black peppercorns
2 cups (10 ounces) kosher salt
2 gallons water
Combine all the ingredients in a large pot, cover, and bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, stirring to dissolve the salt. Remove from the heat and cool completely, then chill before using. The brine can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.
Pour the brine into a container large enough to hold the chicken pieces, add the chicken, and refrigerate for 12 hours. The chicken may be too salty if you brine the chicken for more than 12 hours.
Remove the chicken from the brine, rinse with cold water, pat dry with paper towels and let it rest at room temperature for over an hour. Roast or fry the chicken.
Here is Thomas Keller’s recipe for his amazing Buttermilk Fried Chicken.