This simple, classic whole chicken brine gives you the juiciest, most delicious whole chicken you’ve ever tasted.
We’re using this chicken brine to brine our incredible grilled spatchcock chicken, but feel free to use it on our smoked whole chicken or oven roasted spatchcock chicken.
Our Go-To Whole Chicken Brine
Don’t let the words chicken brine intimidate you. It is super easy to make simple chicken brine for our grilled whole chicken recipe. Just be sure you have the right tools and the right bird and you’ll be all set to go.
Why Brine a Chicken?
There are 3 main reasons why we love brining chicken, especially when you’re working with a whole bird, including:
- Flavor: brining your chicken is going to infuse your meat with salty deliciousness. You can think of it as an intense marinade or flavor bath.
- Texture: brining helps break down the toughness of your meat leaving the texture as smooth as can be when you bite into it.
- Moisture: the salt actually helps the chicken retain moisture, which in turn makes the texture pretty dang delicious.
You’ll notice that typically only leaner cuts of meat such as chicken, turkey or pork chops and this is because of their low fat content. Brining truly does help your lean cuts of meat come out nice and moist!
Latest Chicken Recipes
Dry Brine Vs. Wet Brine
You’ll notice that our chicken brine recipe calls for water and that is because it is a wet brine.
A dry brine only uses salt and the natural moisture from the meat instead of adding in extra moisture from water.
Chicken Brine Ingredients
- Kosher salt
- Smashed garlic cloves
- Chopped white onion
- Sliced oranges
- Sliced lemons
- Sprigs of fresh thyme
- Whole chicken
Choosing a Whole Chicken
This chicken brine recipe calls for a 4 lb. whole chicken (thawed!). If you’re using a larger bird, remember that the entire chicken needs to be submerged into the brine, so you may need to double the brine recipe to have enough liquid.
How to Brine a Chicken
Brining chicken is super simple and 100% worth the extra effort in the end. Here is how to make an easy brine for a whole chicken:
- Fill a large pot with 9 cups of water.
- Remove 1 cup of water from the pot and add it to a saucepan with the kosher salt.
- Heat the two ingredients over medium heat and whisk until the salt has dissolved, but do not bring to a boil. Remove from heat after the salt has dissolved, and add the salted water back into the large pot and whisk together.
- Next, add the garlic, onion, orange slices, lemon slices, and thyme to the pot and stir. Finally, add the whole chicken to the pot, making sure the chicken is completely submerged in the water.
- Place the pot in the refrigerator for 12 hours or overnight.
Grilled Whole Chicken
After you’ve brined your chicken, it’s time to grill it! Learn how to grill the perfect chicken.
Chicken Brine FAQs
Brining will not only hold moisture in your chicken to make it extra juicy, but it will also infuse your chicken with amazing flavor and salt.
It doesn’t! A brine’s salt content does not make the finished chicken salty – rather, it causes the meat’s muscle fibers to break down which results in more tender meat.
Yes! Brining a chicken infuses it with tons of flavor, and the right amount of salt to help break down the meat to a perfect tenderness.
Make sure you store your chicken in the brine in the refrigerator. Keeping the chicken at a consistent chilled temperature in the refrigerator will ensure