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"Brining isn't imperative," says Michael Chiarello, "but it adds juiciness." Before roasting, he rubs the brined birds with a spice mix and brushes them with butter; the flavors are even better at room temperature, making this a stellar picnic dish. Michael Chiarello: Brining Chicken More Great Chicken Recipes

October 2010


Credit: © Cedric Angeles

Recipe Summary test

35 mins
3 hrs


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • In a large pot, combine the water with the salt, sugar, peppercorns, bay leaves and juniper berries. Bring to a simmer to dissolve the salt. Transfer the brine to a very large bowl and add the ice. Let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate the brine until chilled. Put the chickens in the brine, breast side down, and refrigerate for 4 hours.

  • Remove the chickens from the brine and pat dry with paper towels. Put the chickens on a large rimmed baking sheet and sprinkle all over with the Toasted Spice Rub. Set the chickens breast side up and tie the legs together with kitchen twine. Refrigerate the chickens, uncovered, for at least 4 hours or overnight. Bring the chickens to room temperature before roasting.

  • Preheat the oven to 450°. Brush the chickens with the melted butter and roast in the upper third of the oven for 45 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350° and roast the chickens for 30 minutes longer, or until an instant-read thermometer registers 155° when inserted in the inner thigh. Let the chickens come to room temperature. Carve each one into 8 pieces, transfer to a plate and serve with the Raisin and Pine Nut Agrodolce.

Make Ahead

The roasted chickens can be refrigerated overnight. Serve lightly chilled or at room temperature.

Suggested Pairing

To go with the chicken, winemaker Jamey Whetstone serves a Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir. Says Whetstone, "Michael puts dishes together like I make wine—by thinking of the end result and how every decision will play out."