Bourbon brined chicken

Bourbon Brined Chicken with Brown Sugar Paprika Rub


  • 1 chicken, 5 pounds
  • ¼ cup bourbon or whiskey
  • ¼ cup salt
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 lemon, cut in 4 slices
  • 1 onion, cut into wedges
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 4 cups water, divided
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 head garlic
  • 1 lemon
  • Thyme or rosemary sprigs


Place 2 cups of water in a medium saucepan. Add the bourbon, salt, sugar, onion, garlic, peppercorns and coriander. Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Add the lemon slices. Remove the pan from the heat and add the remaining 2 cups of cold water to the brine. Allow the brine to cool. Place the chicken into the brine (I use a plastic freezer bag) and place it in the refrigerator for 18-24 hours.

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Mix all of the rub ingredients together in a small bowl.

Remove the chicken from the brine, blotting dry with a paper towel. Generously season it with the rub until the chicken is well coated.

Place the chicken into a roasting pan and tuck the wings. Stuff the cavity with a whole head of garlic, fresh herbs and lemons if desired. Secure the legs together using butchers twine.

Bake the chicken at 400°F for 30 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350°F and continue to bake 1-1½ hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 170°F. Allow the chicken to rest for 10 minutes before carving.


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