1⁄2 gallon water
1 cup sugar
1 cup kosher salt
4 ounces tea, your favorite kind
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. onion powder
1⁄2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1⁄2 gallon ice water
2 whole chickens
2 lemons, halved
1 bunch thyme
2 bay leaves
4 garlic cloves
In a large pot, combine the 1/2 gallon water, sugar, salt, tea, garlic powder, onion powder and cayenne. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. and pour the hot water into the same container as the ice water to cool it rapidly.
Place the chickens into the marinate and allow to rest 24 hours in the refrigerator. After 24 hours, remove from the brine and place onto a rack, with a sheet pan underneath, uncovered in the refrigerator for another 24 hours to dry out the skin.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Farenheit.
Stuff the lemons, thyme, bay and garlic into the cavity of the bird. Truss the bird, if you have the skill and butcher twine. If you don’t, it will be OK.
Roast the bird at 450 degrees for 35 minutes. The skin will darken, and you will be tempted to pull the bird out or reduce the temperature, but trust me, don’t. It will be worth it.
After 35 minutes, pull the bird and allow to rest for 15 minutes. Remove the lemons, thyme, bay and garlic and discard. Cut the bird into halves, quarters, or thirds; it’s up to you.
Serve with your favorite side dishes and glass of wine.
Per serving: 396 calories; 17.67 grams fat; 2 carbs
Chef Greg Wiener