Monday, January 9, 2012

Moist and Crispy Beer-Brined Chicken

First of all, let me start out by saying that I think we bought a genetically altered chicken. Schnucks had bone in chicken breasts on a crazy good sale and we bought a pack… little did we know that it was the breast of a life size Foghorn Leghorn.  
Absurdly large chicken breast...
Now, on to this recipe. 

When I was growing up, chicken was a staple.  Soy sauce also was a staple used to moisten up chicken that had gotten a little too dry.  Lee still gives me really weird looks when I pull out the shaker when we’re not having Chinese food.  Old habits are hard to break, I guess.  Chicken, while popular and pretty common, is harder to cook right than most people guess.  But once you have tender, juicy chicken, there isn’t much going back. 

This recipe will get you chicken that’s moist, juicy, tender and down-right delicious.  The brine penetrates the meat all the way to the bone and the rub yields a crust with a hint of paprika that for some reason tastes just like home. 

There is a down side to this recipe and that is that you REALLY have to plan ahead, it takes a good 24 hours to do it right, but most of that is the chicken sitting around doing it’s thing without you. Make sure to put in the time with this one, the brine is what makes it so juicy and the drying is what gives you a really crispy crust.   
Chicken with zucchini, squash and potato...yum!

Beer-Brined Chicken
Inspired by Betty Crocker

Makes 6 servings
Brine and Chicken
2 cups water
1/4 cup kosher (coarse) salt
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 cans or bottles (12 oz each) beer or nonalcoholic beer, chilled (we used Heineken because that’s what we had laying around)
3 lbs bone in chicken breasts

3 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  1. Line 2-quart bowl or saucepan with 2-gallon resealable food-storage plastic bag. Add water, kosher salt and brown sugar; stir until salt and sugar are dissolved. Stir in beer. Add chicken. Tightly seal bag; refrigerate 10 hours.
  2. Line 13x9-inch pan with foil. Remove chicken from brine; rinse thoroughly under cool running water and pat really dry with paper towels. Discard brine. Place chicken, skin side up, in pan. Refrigerate uncovered 8 hours to dry chicken skin. Meanwhile, in small bowl, mix all rub ingredients except oil; set aside.
  3. Heat oven to 375°F. Brush oil over chicken. Sprinkle with seasoning mixture; rub into chicken skin. Bake 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes or until juice of chicken is clear. when thickest piece is cut to bone. Let stand 15 minutes for easiest carving.

Calories 280  (Calories from Fat 160),
Total Fat 18g
Saturated Fat 4 1/2g
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 85mg
Sodium 720mg
Total Carbohydrate 0g
Dietary Fiber 0g
Sugars 0g
Protein 27g
Vitamin A 15.00%  Vitamin C 0.00%
Calcium 0.00%  Iron 8.00%


  1. I had to let you know that we had this tonight! I had to improvise yesterday night and use some chicken that was in the freezer- skinless no bones, but they really turned out good! Very moist- I spiced up the rub with some cayenne cause we do like our spice! Mine were probably not as crisp on the exterior due to no skin but we still liked! Kids plates were clean so this meal is officially in rotation. Thx!!

  2. Yeah, the skin is what gets really crispy, but if you're going healthy... It's REALLY hard to get moist chicken though- glad it worked for you!