Honey-Brined Chicken With Holiday Spice Rub
by Benjamin Maides, Chef, Au Courant Regional Kitchen, Omaha, Nebraska
- 1 whole smart chicken
- 1 cup kosher salt
- ½ cup honey
- 1 orange, sliced
- 3 fresh bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 4 quarts water
- Canola oil, as needed
- Holiday Spice Rub (recipe follows)
In a pot, combine the salt, honey, orange, bay leaves, peppercorns, thyme, and one quart of the water. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Add 3 quarts of cold water. Submerge the chicken in the chilled brine, cover, and refrigerate overnight.
Remove the chicken from the brine and pat dry with clean paper towels. Make sure the chicken is tightly trussed and rub the bird evenly with canola oil. Sprinkle the rub over the chicken. In a roasting pan with a rack, roast the chicken for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F. Let rest approximately 15 minutes before carving.
Holiday Spice Rub
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3 star anise
- ¼ teaspoon whole cloves
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
In a dry sauté pan over medium heat, toast the cinnamon stick, anise, cloves, and peppercorns, agitating them about every 20 seconds to avoid burning. Let cool. Transfer the spices to a spice grinder and pulse until smooth with no large chunks. Mix in the salt.