Just think about it: Sweet Tea Brined Chicken with fresh citrus, herbs, and aromatics spiced with the peppery flavors of Louisiana is roast chicken in a deliciously simple recipe.
I love the flavors of the South and brining chicken with a rich infusion of strong sweet tea flavored with lemon just makes sense. I’ve done it before in a fried chicken recipe that I love, but in this Sweet Tea Brined Chicken version, it works with even more pronounced flavor. The brine is simple and can be done the day before for maximum overnight results.
One essential for this recipe is to butterfly the chicken. It’s quite easy: Unwrap the whole chicken and use a pair of kitchen shears (a sharp knife or heavy duty scissors will work) to cut each side of the backbone, removing it to expose the inside of the chicken. Press down on the carcass with the palms of your hands until it flattens and remove the wing tips (they burn quickly).
Everyone should plant an herb garden, and with this recipe, you will clearly understand why. Snipping fresh rosemary and parsley from your pots is as fresh as it gets, and it is so much tastier (and cheaper) than buying store-bought herbs in the plastic packages. It makes all the difference in your cooking.
I have an extra large black iron skillet just for dishes like this one. I love the cast-iron conduction that evenly distributes the heat throughout the chicken and caramelizes the vegetables and lemons to add more flavor. And this Sweet Tea Brined Chicken is cooked uncovered so that the skin will brown for that extra crispy snap when you bite into it.
Give this Southern version of roast chicken a try, and I guarantee it will become one of your favorite recipes.
- 1 (4-pound) whole chicken, butterflied
- 1 quart sweet tea, plus more if needed
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon Acadiana Table Cajun Seasoning Blend, see recipe here
- 2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 lemon, halved
- 2 yellow onions, halved
- 2 heads garlic
- 4 tabasco peppers
- 4 stalks fresh rosemary, plus more for garnish
- 1 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish
- In a large container with a lid, add the chicken. Add the tea and lemon juice. Add more tea if needed to cover the chicken. Place the top on the container and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
- Preheat your oven to 450ºF.
- Remove the chicken from the brine and pat dry. Combine the salt, pepper, and Cajun seasoning. Rub both sides of the chicken with olive oil and sprinkle over the spices coating each side.
- In a large cast-iron skillet or a metal baking tray, place the lemons, onions, and garlic cut-side down. Layer the peppers, rosemary, and parsley around the skillet. Add the chicken on top, breast-side up. Bake for 20 minutes.
- Lower the temperature to 350ºF and bake until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165ºF and juices run clear.
- To crisp the skin, turn your oven to broil (or to its highest temperature) and return the chicken to the oven, watching carefully to prevent burning. Broil until the top begins to brown and the skin is crispy, 3 to 5 minutes.
- Remove and let rest for 10 minutes. Garnish with more of the fresh rosemary and parsley, and squeeze the roasted garlic and lemons over the chicken.
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