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Old 3rd April 2013, 10:37 AM   #1
Amfibius Thread Starter
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Default Injection brined double roast chicken

This is a roast chicken injected with stock made from another roast chicken and then cooked to perfection. The double dose of chicken results in an incredibly juicy chicken with a double hit of chicken flavour.

By now some of you might realize that my recipes may not be the easiest to follow, but that is because I do research, do a lot of experiments, and try to come up with the "best practice" recipe along with a rationale for doing so. What follows is a discussion on cooking chicken. The recipe is in the next post.

TL; DR

In summary, my current recommendations are:

- Cooking temperature: breast 60, legs 65.
- Stuffing: no
- Trussing: no
- Cooking position: rotisserie; alternative slow roast with high heat finish
- Brining: injection brining, 4% - 6%

Cooking temperature: in some other places my recommendation of cooking the breast to 60C and dark meat (thighs/drumstick) to 65C is controversial. However, Heston Blumenthal recommends it (see 3:30 point in this video as do a number of more modern books. Cooking a chicken to higher temperature results in overcooked chicken, which manifests itself as dry meat. Note that the different cooking requirement for breast and leg meat will strongly influence your choice of cooking technique.

Stuffing vs. no stuffing: chickens should not be stuffed. Stuffing a chicken has a number of negative effects: it slows down cooking time by preventing convection currents within the cavity, the stuffing itself needs to reach a minimum of 60C and held for 15 minutes to guarantee safety (during which the vulnerable breast will overcook and skin start to burn), and the stuffing itself takes on a soggy texture. Contrary to myth, stuffing does not make a chicken more moist by "basting it from the inside". The moistness of chicken meat comes from other factors (see below).

Trussed vs. untrussed: after years of trussing my chickens, I have stopped doing so. The reason being - trussing reduces the circulation of air around the thighs, effectively increasing its thickness. Given the thighs need to be cooked to a higher temperature than the breast, trussing only reduces heat conductivity and guarantees either undercooked thighs or overcooked breast. No matter what the cooking method, the legs should be splayed out from the chicken to promote maximum air circulation.


Wet brined smoked beer can chicken. Despite the beautiful glazed appearance of the chicken and the skin, the skin was rubbery. See discussion on brining below

Cooking position: should chickens be stood upright on a beer can, or cooked in a rotisserie, or cooked breast side up, or butterflied? Should they be slow roasted or roasted at a high temperature? If you think about it - your aims in cooking your chicken are: breast to 60, legs to 65, and crispy skin.

- rotisserie: in this case, one side of the chicken is exposed to a high blast of heat before it is rotated away from the heat source. The meat then rapidly cools down before it is exposed to the heat again. Furthermore, the constant rotation of the chicken ensures even distribution of juices. This really is the ultimate way of cooking chicken, but unfortunately not everyone has a rotisserie. Most of the heat in a rotisserie is delivered in the form of radiation, rather than convection.

- breast side up: (Assuming you are using a normal oven with the heating elements on the top and bottom). In this position, the breast meat will be closest to the heating element and most exposed to convection air currents, whilst the thighs (which need a higher cooking temperature!) are resting deep in the roast tin with less air circulation. This will overcook the breast. If you are going to do this, I recommend retarding the cooking of the breast by starting the cooking with the breast down so that the legs cook first on chicken rack set on a biscuit tin (not a roasting tin!) - this promotes maximum air circulation. When you turn the breast side up, check the temperature. If there is less than 5C difference between legs and thighs, place foil over the breast to retard cooking. In a kamado or Weber, the heat comes from the bottom. The chicken should be cooked breast up over indirect heat. Make sure you rotate the chicken 180 halfway during cooking to even out the cooking of both sides.

- beer can: contrary to myth, it is not the beer in the can that keeps the chicken moist. It is the cooking position. In a beer can chicken, the chicken is vertical and the legs are closest to the heat source and breast furthest away. This naturally ensures appropriate distribution of heat.


Butterflied chicken - note the breast is overcooked and slightly charred whilst the legs were moist. The major disadvantage of butterflied chicken is the difficulty monitoring the temperature and stopping the skin from burning. It involves too much guesswork.

- butterfly: butterflying a chicken maximizes the surface area and promotes the fastest cooking. It is rarely possible to achieve a different cooking temperature for breast and thighs with this method unless the breast is foiled. Because of its shape, consideration needs to be given to how to cook it. It is easiest to cook a butterfly chicken in an oven. In a Weber, it is impossible to cook it over indirect heat in a Weber without creative arrangement of coals. Cooking it over direct heat will burn the skin before the meat is cooked. I recommend arranging the coals in a ring around the butterflied chicken in a Weber, with more coals towards the legs. In a Kamado, cook it direct but breast side up over very low heat. When the chicken is 10C from the desired temperature, remove it from the coals and open the vents. Place the chicken breast side down to crisp up the skin over high heat.

- slow vs. quick roast: unlike pork or beef, chicken has very little collagen - so the idea of a slow roast isn't to render the collagen. Rather, the reason you slow roast is to make it easier to control the final cooking temperature. Imagine you are piloting a ship towards a harbour. You need to stop right at the jetty. You could either go full steam ahead and try to apply reverse thrust just before you reach the jetty, but chances are you will overshoot and crash. Or, you could steam up slowly and coast to the jetty. This is the same with chicken - a slow roast gives you a larger window of opportunity to remove it from the heat at the desired cooking temperature. How important this is depends on how good you are at monitoring your chicken! If you have a Maverick ET-732 (or similar) type temperature probe, you can react the moment the alarm informs you the temp has been reached.


My peri-peri chicken, made with a brine-like marinade then cooked indirect until almost cooked, then finished over direct heat

Brining and marinades: chickens should always be brined. The reason: the salt within the meat promotes structural changes within the proteins which make the meat more tender. If you want to get scientific about it: the proteins maintain their 3D structure via a number of different types of bonds, but the most important is the positive-negative attraction between different amino acids. Na+ alters the charge of the proteins, promoting its unfolding. Also, the salt helps the meat hold on to water, causing less moisture loss. If you look up brining recipes, you will find a multitude of them - dry brines, wet brines at different concentrations, and injection brining. Which is the best? Well fortunately for you, I have done experiments!

- dry brining: not recommended. This method draws moisture out of the chicken and results in a taste and texture resembling cured meat.

- marinades: a form of wet brining but using far more concentrated flavours with less precise control over salinity. I have yet to come across a marinade recipe (including my own) which isn't subjective and variable. The results can be delicious, but really I didn't intend this post to be a discussion on marinading.

- wet brining: the most popular brining method. If you look up a number of books, you will see that some people (like Heston) recommends an 8% brine for 8 hours. Thomas Keller recommends a 5% brine for 12 hours. (NB: an 8% brine is 8g of salt per 100g water). I did an experiment where I brined three chicken breasts in different concentrations and found that the lowest concentration (a 4% brine for 12 hours) resulted in the most moist, succulent chicken - but unlike the other brines, a low concentration brine is not enough to season the chicken - so you have to add more seasoning afterwards.

Wet brining was my go-to method for the past year, but it has a major drawback. The same effect that causes moisture to hang on to the meat also causes moisture to hang on to the skin. I cooked beautifully moist chicken with rubbery skin for two years, trying all sorts of methods to crisp up the skin before I realized what was happening and junked the technique. My current recommendation is:

- injection brining: in this technique a brine solution is injected into the meat and allowed to equilibrate for 2 hours before cooking. You inject 10% of the weight of the chicken in brine - for a 2kg chicken you need to prepare 200mL of brine. At the moment I am still experimenting with the optimum brine volume and concentrate. The major advantage, apart from crispy skin, is speed (2 hours vs. 12 hours) and cost. If you want a lemon or bay leaf flavour in your brine, you need to add much less to make only 200mL of brine as opposed to 4L of brine you need for wet brining!
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Last edited by Amfibius; 3rd April 2013 at 10:43 AM.
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Old 3rd April 2013, 10:39 AM   #2
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Recipe

Equipment required
- Pressure cooker (optional)
- Injection brining syringe or normal medical needle and syringe
- Rotisserie (optional)


Roast Chicken Stock
- 1kg chicken bits (rack, neck, winglets)
- 1 carrot
- 1 onion
- 1 stick of celery
- bouquet garni (bay leaf, thyme, parsley)
- 3L water

Roast the chicken bits until nicely browned, then pressure cook all of the above for one hour. Allow the cooker to cool naturally to release the pressure. Strain the stock and boil to reduce down to 1L. ALTERNATIVE: skip this step and use pre-bought chicken stock. Results won't be as good!


Roast chicken skin butter mixture
- 100gm butter
- chicken fat (from the cavity of the chicken) and spare chicken skin, finely chopped
- chopped parsley
- chopped dill
- 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped

Melt half the butter at low heat then add the finely chopped skin and chicken fat. Once browned, turn off the heat and add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Pour into a container and refrigerate until solid.


Roast Chicken
- 2kg chicken
- 300mL Roast chicken stock from above
- Roast chicken skin stuffing from above
- 10gm salt
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 lemon
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tbsp black peppercorn

You quantity of brine required is 10% of the weight of the chicken - i.e. for a 2kg chicken, you need 200mL of brine. The brine concentration is 5% - i.e. for every 100mL of brine, you need 5gm of salt. Please take this into consideration as your bird may not be 2kg.

First, make the brine. Bring 300mL of the chicken stock to the boil and add the garlic, bay leaves, and peppercorn. Boil for 10 minutes then turn off the heat to infuse. Add the lemon juice and strain. Measure out 200mL of this liquid and add the salt.

Inject the brine into the chicken as per this video. Rub some salt into the skin, then leave the chicken uncovered in a refrigerator for at least 12 hours for the brine to redistribute and the skin to dry out.

When you are ready to cook, loosen the skin from the breast and thighs by inserting your fingers into the neck cavity and separating the skin from the meat. Be gentle - you do not want to tear the skin. Gently warm the roast chicken skin butter mixture (from recipe above) and spread the mixture between the skin and the meat. Rub the rest of the butter all over the chicken. Keep the breast cooler than the leg meat (helps you cook them to different temps) by placing a bag of ice over the breast, like this:



I prefer to use a rotisserie, but use whatever method works for you. If using a rotisserie, I tend to do a slow roast - set oven at 100C, then roast until the breast is 55C and thighs 60C (about 90-120 minutes). Yes, this is deliberately undercooked! I then rest the chicken, crank the oven to 250C, then put the chicken back in for about 10 minutes until the skin is golden. This step will raise the temperature of the chicken to cooked - i.e. 60C for breast and 65C for thighs.



If I did not have a rotisserie, I would roast the chicken breast side down for 45 minutes then turn it breast side up until I reach the desired cooking temperature. Result:

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Old 3rd April 2013, 10:47 AM   #3
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The other half has done the Heston low and slow method complete with brining and my god what a delicious moist bird it was. Can't recommend it enough though it does require a bit of planning ahead.
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Old 5th April 2013, 1:34 AM   #4
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I am still experimenting with this recipe. I just saw here that they recommend using the following:

- 1.58kg chicken (3.5lbs)
- 350mL brine in total: 100mL into each breast as 75mL into each leg
- brine concentration was 5%, 350mL brine for a 1.58kg chicken is 22% of the weight of chicken in brine!!
- 72 hours of air drying in the fridge!
- 2 stage cooking process: once to 60, and 7 minutes at 290C to set the skin.

I will repeat this recipe again with the higher brine volume and amend my post if required.
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Old 8th April 2013, 6:33 PM   #5
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Did you ever let the chicken dry after brining?? IE after 12 hours in the brine have you dried the chicken then put it uncovered back in the fridge for a further 12 hours to let the skin dry out??

http://www.aussiebbq.info/forum/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=65
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Old 8th April 2013, 10:53 PM   #6
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Hi jutty, I made the recipe again tonight. This time I injected 20% of the weight of the chicken in brine, and then dried it in the fridge for 72 hours. The result was even more succulent than the first attempt:

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Old 8th April 2013, 11:12 PM   #7
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Looks delicious.
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Old 8th April 2013, 11:13 PM   #8
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I love the idea of injection brining. It's the first I've heard of it. Denaturing the proteins of the meat internally while leaving the skin dry is a great thought! I would love to try a duck with this technique and a pork stock brine.

On stuffing, you mention that adding it slows the cooking of the thighs because of their proximity to the cavity. It may sound overly complex, but maybe the solution is introducing the stuffing at a high temperature, even partway through the roasting. This way it will have the reverse effect, convecting heat to where it's needed most.

It would be a pain in the ass to shovel ~90C stuffing though, but it still should transfer heat faster than air in the cavity (even with moderate flow). There's got to be an easy way to pipe it in while hot.
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Old 9th April 2013, 12:04 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amfibius View Post
Hi jutty, I made the recipe again tonight. This time I injected 20% of the weight of the chicken in brine, and then dried it in the fridge for 72 hours. The result was even more succulent than the first attempt:

image
How was the skin between the two cooks??
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Old 9th April 2013, 1:04 PM   #10
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The skin was much better with the second cook. It was crispier and tastier
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Old 12th April 2013, 10:43 PM   #11
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Fanbloodytastic!

So when does Keithtucky Fried Chicken open up for business?
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Old 8th May 2013, 1:29 PM   #12
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Attempted this recipe again.





BTW I have also experimented with other brine recipes. I have made one with a brine of milk and apple juice. I prefer the roast chicken brine more
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Old 8th May 2013, 4:47 PM   #13
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Good work Keith .. it appears you have gone from the beer-can method to a traditional roast method .. is that deliberate?
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Old 8th May 2013, 4:50 PM   #14
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Well I never cook my chicken the same way twice Every time I cook it is an opportunity to experiment. I've moved to cooking it the traditional method after reading a few books suggesting it is better. But this doesn't mean I won't go back to the beer can method.
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Old 8th May 2013, 4:56 PM   #15
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ROFL you sound more and more like me every day
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