Salt-Baked Chicken

I have long sung the praises of a brined chicken; a whole chicken soaked in water, sugar and salt for a prolonged period of time before baking.  This is spectacular, but I hate the waste (or so it seams) of salt and sugar just for a soak.  It takes 1 cup of each for each gallon of water, and it needs enough water to be submerged.  This is a spectacular way of making a whole chicken and it always turns out delish for us…. however…

I just came discovered this recipe at the end of last summer and we’ve had it many times since then.  I think this is my new favorite.  For Thanksgiving with our bible study I was signed up for the turkey and I used this recipe.  There was hardly any left at the end of the night and everybody raved about how good it was.  It stayed nice and moist and was phenominal if I can say so myself!

The original recipe is certainly for chicken, but I’ve used it for turkey as well and just change the recipe a bit depending on how big the bird is.   We had chicken this way just last week and it reminded me I hadn’t shared the recipe!

I can’t claim the recipe as my own, although I’d love to!  This is another Cooking Light recipe that I’ve changed a bit to my own tastes, but it hardly needed a thing.  Give it a try and let me know how it turns out for you!

Salt-Baked Chicken

2 ½  cups boiling water
1 (1 x 2–inch) strip dried tangerine peel
1 (4.5- to 5-pound) roasting chicken
5 ½  teaspoons coarse sea salt, divided
¼  cup finely chopped shallots
2 tablespoons minced ginger
2 tablespoons Shaoxing (Chinese rice wine) or dry sherry
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 ½  teaspoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon honey
2 green onions, cut into 1-inch pieces


  1. Combine 2 ½  cups boiling water and tangerine peel in a bowl; cover and let stand 30 minutes. Drain in a colander over a bowl, reserving liquid.
  2. Remove and discard giblets and neck from chicken. Starting at neck cavity, loosen skin from breast and drumsticks by inserting fingers, gently pushing between skin and meat. Rub 1 tablespoon salt under skin; let stand 5 minutes. Rinse chicken under cold water; pat dry with kitchen towel. Place chicken on the rack of a roasting pan; let stand 1 hour at room temperature.
  3. Preheat oven to 425°.
  4. Transfer chicken to a work surface. Combine remaining 2 ½ teaspoons salt, shallots, ginger, wine, soy sauce, oil, and honey in a small bowl. Rub 3 tablespoons shallot mixture inside cavity of chicken. Place onions and tangerine peel inside cavity. Rub remaining shallot mixture under loosened skin.
  5. Place chicken, breast side up, on the rack of a roasting pan. Pour reserved tangerine soaking liquid into a shallow roasting pan; place rack in pan. Bake at 425° for 1 hour or until a meat thermometer registers 165° and skin has turned a dark golden brown color. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

Nathan Fong, Cooking Light


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