The perfect Christmas brine

Posted by georgina goddard on

Want to know how to make the most succulent Christmas chicken? Our Apple Cider Brine is the key. 


Read the whole recipe now, do a trial run first during the week.... and then start things properly on Sunday.


Apple Cider Brine

Firstly, source a bucket/pot/bag big enough for your chicken + fits in your fridge….



180g           Salt

250 ml         Apple cider 

2.75 litres    Water

300g          Sugar
(I use coconut sugar, but our Keto//no sugar peeps can skip this step)

A handful of whole peppercorns  (the cracked ones are often oxidised and not as good)


(variations :add a Bouquet garni (if you have to look it up what it means you should probably stick to the basic recipe) also you can sub the apple cider for wine/broth/kombutcha/stock/ginger beer) 


A few days before xmas

Begin defrosting your chicken for roasting – just pop the bag on a plate and into in the fridge is best – open the bag get rid of the liquid as you go.


Make the brine

Gently heat the water, salt + sugar, cider (or your bit) and the whole pepper corns  on the stove until all the solid bits are dissolved - remember to stir occasionally.  

Let cool to room temp. 

Add the salty sweet liquid to your brine bucket, and measure it as you go - if you’ve evaporated lots on the stove you can top up with fresh water to be a just over 3 liters in total - 

 …and then taste it - it should taste nice - if it doesn’t then you’ve done it wrong… start again people.

Pop the whole brine bucket in fridge to chill to icy cold.


Brine the chicken…

Once mix is icy cold add your defrosted chook, brine for 24 hrs (max 36hrs). (listen to the science behind it here) weigh the chicken down so it is under water (air on the chicken skin is bad here - I use a heavy baking dish to keep it entirely under water)



Early on the day of cooking:

Remove chook from liquid and pat dry. Put on rack in fridge uncovered (I just drape a clean tea town over it) for about 3 hrs or longer to dry out the skin (this makes the crispy skin…) for about an hour.


Ready to roast?

Take chicken out, coat chicken with olive oil and pop in the over - Roast for max of 40min per kg. (i.e 1hr 20m = 2kg chook) basting now and then. (brining will cut the time down a pinch)

The chicken is cooked once the juices run clear when the thickest part of the thigh is pierced with a skewer.  

Rest the chicken out of the oven for at least 10 min better before carving (I rest it for about 30min).

It's utterly delicious. 

 The Donna Hay Chook


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