Brining will not only provide you with some seriously flavourful meat but also gives you a bit of protection from overcooking, ensuring a moist bird when it's all said and done!
I use this basic ratio; salt (225g), sugar (125g) and water (4L), for poultry, pork and fish. You will however need to adjust your brine times, quantity of brine and aromatics you add to suit the protein you are working with.
Generally I'll lean towards a cool climate pinot noir for whole roasted chicken. A medium bodied red that has good acidity and moderate tannins, creates an unbelievable balance with this savoury feel good recipe.
Herb brined for whole chicken
1, 3-5lb chicken
1 cup salt
½ cup sugar
2 tbsp. whole black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
1 bulb of garlic
1 bunch of thyme
1 bunch of parsley
1 bunch sage
Bring water, salt and sugar together in a large pot. Bring to a boil, when the salt and sugar dissolve remove from heat. Cut the lemon and garlic in half. Add garlic, lemon, herbs, bay leaves and peppercorns to the brine. Allow to cool completely.
When the brine is cold add in the bird and refrigerate for 8 hrs. Remove the bird and rinse well under cold water. Dry off with a kitchen towel.
Place the chicken on a large tray and put back into the fridge. Allow to stand, uncovered for 1 – 12hrs. This will ensure the brine is evenly distributed and will also give the skin time to dry giving us a crispy exterior when roasted.
Remove the chicken from the fridge and let rest at room temperature for a 1hr.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Rub the chicken with olive oil and place breast up on a roasting tray. Roast until a meat thermometer inserted into the inner thigh (close to but not touching the thigh bone) reads at least 165 degrees F (74 degrees C).
Let the bird rest, uncovered, for 30 minutes before carving.