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Chef's Braai Tips - Chefco - Faerie Glen, Pretoria

Spit roasting the perfect chicken!

Having cooked (and experimented) with hundreds of chickens during my career in the kitchen, I have found this method by far the best, and will give you a juicy, tender bird, with loads of flavour. The secret is brining, which still seems to be quite uncommon in SA. Brining is basically a salt and sugar solution to which you can add herbs and spices, and the basic theory behind how it works is as follows....

The salt in the brine actually assists in dissolving some proteins in the muscle fibre, so essentially helping to make the meat more tender by breaking down the fibres from a solid to a liquid. Secondly, using osmosis the brine helps the meat absorb more liquid, and as we all know that meat loses moisture during cooking, this will help the chicken retain more of its natural juices, thus giving you much more succulent meat!  This works great with Pork, Turkey, even Prawns!

Basic brine recipe

  • I use about 100 grams of salt per litre of water
  • 50 grams of brown sugar per litre
  • 2 or 3 bay leaves
  • good handful of black peppercorns
  • 2 pods of Star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Handful of cracked coriander seeds
  • This is what we use, but feel free to be creative and throw in whatever you want! The salt is the most important part!

Brine the chicken for at least 3 hours, but overnight is preferable, then take out and let the bird drain and dry.

Rub with olive oil, paprika and crushed black pepper and a bit of salt (just to help get a crispy skin) and cook for about an hour in a Chefco Spit braai.