Lemon Thyme Roast Chicken
by Benjamin Maides, Chef, Au Courant Regional Kitchen, Omaha, Nebraska
- 1 whole Smart Chicken
- ½ gallon cold water
- 4 ounces kosher salt
- 2 ounces brown sugar
- 2 lemons, one halved; one zested
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 20 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
- 2 tablespoons butter
In a stock pot, heat the cold water, kosher salt, brown sugar, 1 lemon (halved), 10 fresh thyme sprigs, and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and chill until cold. Once cold, place the chicken in the brine, cover the chicken with a plate so it stays submerged, and refrigerate for 8 hours.
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Take the chicken out of the brine and pat dry. In a bowl, combine the lemon zest, minced garlic, and thyme leaves. With the breasts of the whole chicken facing toward you, loosen the chicken skin around the breasts through the front opening. Very carefully distribute the garlic mixture underneath the skin as evenly as possible and as spread out as possible.
Place the chicken in a heated large cast iron skillet and roast to an internal temperature of 165°F, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Halfway through the cooking process, add the butter and baste the chicken every 10 minutes.