Brining A Whole Chicken
I'm making a whole roasted coke can chicken tomorrow, and so instead of combining the two posts, I figured that I'd let the brine stand out on it's own. I've found that when cooking chicken breasts in the oven, brines are absolutely necessary to get that juiciness that everyone craves. My chicken breast brine is sooooo simple, too. I just open the ziploc bag that I almost always have them stored in, dump in 1 tablespoon of regular old salt, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and a cup of water. Zip it up, have fun shaking that bad boy vigorously, then pop it into the fridge for max 4 hours. Rinse off with cold water, then cook however you please, as saltiness is never an issue that I've experienced. See how easy that is??
Brine for a whole chicken requires just a bit more time, but it's very much worth it. Instead of the add-shake-go method for breasts, you need to first heat up some water to allow the sugar and salt to dissolve. The basic recipe for a whole chicken is 1 gallon (16 cups) of water, along with 1/2 cup of salt and 1/2 cup of sugar. My cheat method is to boil only about 3 cups of water, add in the salt and sugar, and then once the mixture has cooled, add in about 10 cups or so of water. That was my largest bowl's capacity, at least.
I've had a few REALLY bad experiences adding raw onions or onion powder to a brine, so I'll never ever add them again. Garlic also belongs in the dry rub, so that's excluded as well. All that I did was add the sugar and salt, and a few turns of black pepper. Plus some powdered chicken bouillon, just cuz. The chicken will bathe overnight, then I'll rinse, add the dry rub, let sit in the fridge for about an hour, then roast that bad boy up in oven, with an uncomfortable can in it's unmentionables.