It’s the brine that gives the Smart Chicken its beautiful brown color and infuses the meat with subtle lemon and rosemary flavors. Since the brining can be done several days ahead, it’s a great main dish for entertaining.
- 1 gallon water
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 cup kosher salt
- 1 bunch fresh thyme (1 oz.)
- 1 bunch fresh rosemary (1 oz.)
- 6 garlic cloves, sliced
- Zest from 5 lemons (reserve the zested lemons for later)
In a large, stainless steel pot, combine water, brown sugar, and salt. Add thyme, rosemary, garlic, and lemon zest. Mix well and chill completely.
1 whole Smart Chicken (about 4 pounds)
1/2 bunch thyme (.5 oz.)
1/2 bunch rosemary (.5 oz.)
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
5 lemons (from above) one cut into chunks, four cut in half
5 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon black pepper
Once the brine is cold, submerge chicken and brine for 4 to 5 hours. Remove the chicken, rinse off and pat dry. (You can do this up to two days prior to cooking. Wrap well in plastic and refrigerate until ready to grill.)
Prepare either a charcoal BBQ or gas grill for indirect heating. For charcoal, this means pushing the coals off to one side of the grill and cooking the chicken on the other side. For gas grills, this means lighting the burner on one side of the grill and cooking the chicken on the other side. The temperature inside the grill should be approximately 350ºF.
To prepare chicken for grilling, stuff it with thyme, rosemary, yellow onion, garlic cloves and lemon chunks. Truss the chicken* with cooking twine, then drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with black pepper.
Place the chicken breast-side down for approximately 45 minutes. Flip the chicken over so the breast side is up and drizzle with three of the lemon halves. Cook for another 45 minutes or, using a meat thermometer, the internal temperature reaches 165ºF. Remove the chicken from the grill, drizzle with additional three lemon halves, then cover with foil and allow to rest for 30 minutes. (Adjust cooking time based on the size of the chicken.)
Cut the chicken off the bone, squeeze the remaining lemon halves onto chicken and serve with Fresh Tomato Basil Relish.
- Fresh Tomato Basil Relish
- Makes 2 cups
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil (about 12 leaves)
- 2 cups Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced (about 8 tomatoes)
- Salt and pepper to taste
Combine the oil, garlic, salt, and basil. Mix well and toss in the tomatoes. Serve at room temperature.