Beer-can brined chicken
Discover the secret to succulent roast chicken using a foolproof brining method, plus a canny bit of kit – a can of beer which steams it from the inside
- Serves: 6 persons
- 1large chicken (about 2kg)
- 440ml can beer (gluten-free, if needed)
- 300g salt
- 150g caster sugar
- 4bay leaves
- 1tbsp mustard seeds
- 1tsp black peppercorns
- 2unwaxed lemons, sliced
- 50ml olive oil
- 3tbsp maple syrup
- 2tsp cayenne pepper
- 2tsp ground cumin
Step 1Put all the brine ingredients, except the lemons, in a large saucepan with 3.5 litres water. Bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar. Transfer to a bowl or container that will fit the liquid and the chicken, add the lemon slices and leave to cool completely. Cover and chill for at least 2-3 hrs.
Step 2Put the chicken in the brine, making sure it’s fully submerged. Cover and chill overnight (about 8 hrs, but no more than 12 hrs or the chicken will become too salty).
Step 3The next day, lift the chicken out of the brine and pat dry using plenty of kitchen paper. Put on a rack in a large roasting tin and chill, uncovered, for another 6-8 hrs to dry out the skin so it crisps up in the oven. Take the chicken out of the fridge 30 mins before cooking.
Step 4Adjust the shelving in your oven to ensure you can fit the chicken inside, stood up, on a tray. Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Mix the rub ingredients together in a bowl along with 2 tsp salt and 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper. Rub all over the chicken. Pour half the beer from the can into a jug, then put the half-full can in the middle of a deep baking tray. Sit the chicken on top of the can so that it slots inside the cavity of the chicken.
Step 5Carefully transfer the chicken to the oven and cook for 1 hr-1 hr 20 mins, checking every 15 mins to ensure it hasn’t toppled over. If it has, remove from the oven, refill the can with the reserved beer, reposition the chicken and put back in the oven. The chicken is cooked when a meat thermometer inserted in the thigh area near the breast (not touching the bone) is 70C, or the juices run clear when the same area is pierced with a skewer. If it’s not fully cooked, roast for another 10 mins, then check again. Lift the chicken from the can, cover loosely with foil, and rest in a warm place for 10 mins, then serve.