The Rotisserie Chicken
From Lebanese Shawarma, Peruvian Pollo a la Brasa, Portuguese Piri-Piri, Brazilian Rodizio, Turkish Doner, to our North American grocery stores, chicken has been slowly spun to be roasted over heat since the medieval times across the globe. Many modifications and deviations throughout time and countries all lead to the same outcome: Fantastic foul!
Now, let’s talk about today’s North American style rotisserie chicken. You've got only 2 things to focus on during prep: the bird and the brine. We can't make the bird but we can help you select a good breed for rotisserie chicken. And we have a couple go-to recipes for brine for different culinary preferences.
The Chicken. The Cornish Cross and Jersey Giant are two of the most popular breeds for culinary use. If you are fortunate to know a breeder, or interested in breeding your own poultry, these two birds are great for dinner. Knowing where your chickens come from also helps you ensure that your birds are hormone and cage free, giving you a healthier and tastier free range chicken. But, if you are like most of us, and hunt at the grocery store, grain fed (All chickens are grain fed in Canada), fresh, and free of “Enhancements”. Enhancements are added flavours, water, and salts added at the plant. Try and avoid this as we will be adding a much better, homemade brine to our buddy. Broiler or Fryer chickens are the right size for our rotisserie on the small end. Stack more than one bird on your spit. Or, pinch tight and truss if using just one.
The Brining. If you've never tried this, you will probably never cook chicken without brining again. Brining, marinating, and drying are all critical components in creating great chicken rotisserie. Brining (To soak or saturate in salty water): This step really makes for a super moist and tender bird. Salt breaks down the muscle (protein) fiber that enables the flavoured H2O to penetrate into the meat. Soak your bird in one of the following brews (select your fancy) for a day to create a tastier, juicier, and more flavourful chicken.
Brine Option #1:
(Based on a 4 pound Chicken)
• 1 gallon cold water
• 1⁄2 cup kosher salt
• 1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
• 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
• 1 tablspoon whole black peppercorns
• 7 twigs of rosemary
• ½ bunch of parsley
• 7 twigs of thyme
• ½ cup honey
• ½ cup brown sugar
• 5 bay leaves
• 2 lemons squeezed and halved
Bring all ingredients minus the lemons to a boil to incorporate and dissolve the solution. Let cool to room temperature. Then, place in the fridge until 40 degrees or less to avoid any foodborne illness. Squeeze the lemons in the cold brine, and drop the squeezed peels into the brine.
Brine Option #2:
(Based on a 4 pound chicken)
• 2 tablespoons maple syrup
• 1/2 cup coarse sea salt
• 2 tablespoons brown sugar
• 3 cups boiling water
• 5 cups cold water
• 1 tablespoon peppercorns
• 3 bay leaves
• ½ red apple (Sliced)
• 1 small onion(Diced)
• 5 sprigs sage
• 1 sprig thyme and rosemary
• An orange peel
Place all ingredients in the pot and bring to a slow boil to dissolve the salt, sugar, and syrup. Turn off heat and let set to room temperature. Add the cold water once mix has cooled.
Now that we have our brine chilly, and our bird bought, remove all the innards left in the cavity of the fowl. Brine bags are an affordable approach in performing the saturation safely. Place the bird in the bag. Pour the brine in the bag. Tie or seal to the bag specifications. Then place in a large metal or glass bowl in case of leaks. Position in your refrigerator for a 24 hour soak.
The next steps are critical. Discard that brine. Now, rinse your chicken under cold water to remove some salt. Pat as dry as possible with paper towels. Place the chicken uncovered back into the fridge for 2 hours to dry the skin.
At this time, remove your chicken. From behind, at the top of the main cavity, use your fingers to gently loosen the skin from the bird’s breast. Add this great dry rub under, and over the skin.
(Based on a 4 pound chicken)
• 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
• 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
• 1 tablespoon garlic and onion powders
• 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
• 1 teaspoon ground oregano and rosemary
• 2 tablespoons iodized salt
Time to finally pierce our bird/ birds on to the spit. Secure and truss as your rotisserie necessitates. Rotisseries for home use vary from indoor counter-tops, to full-fledged outdoor barbecues with proprietary means of rotating their chickens their way and their style. That being said, roast until the internal temperature reads 165 degrees. Remove your bird from the heat, tent with foil with spit still attached for at least 10 minutes to allow the juice to rest inside, and not on the carving board.
The tastiest and most succulent rotisserie chickens come from a bit of time and effort at home. Research chicken recipes from around the globe, and add those spices you prefer to your brine or dry rub. The possibilities with a simple whole chicken can develop into a virtual culinary adventure to anywhere in the world with accurate seasonings.
What, wait!? There are some restaurant chains with some very famous dipping sauces. One can purchase a 1.3 ounce packet at the grocery store from the chain itself. Or, partake in creating your own? Way more fun! Here are three examples:
#1 Peruvian Aji Verde Sauce
• 2 green jalapeno peppers, seeded
• 1 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves
• ½ cup parsley
• 1 clove garlic
• 2 green onion, chopped
• 2 teaspoons huacatay paste
• 1 tablespoon aji amarillo paste
• 1 tablespoons fresh lime juice
• 3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
• 3 tablespoons cotija cheese
• ½ teaspoon salt
• ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• ½ cup good quality mayonnaise
Blend into a beautiful green paste. Absolutely awesome for pollo!
#2 Alabama White BBQ Sauce:
• 2 cups mayonnaise
• 1 cup apple cider vinegar
• 1 tablespoons lemon juice
• 1 tablespoon black pepper (coarsely ground)
• 1 ½ teaspoons salt
• 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
• 1 clove garlic (ground to a paste)
• 1 teaspoon spicy brown mustard
• ½ teaspoon honey
• 1 teaspoons horseradish
• 5 dashes of your favorite hot sauce (Vinegar style preferred)
Blend. Let marry in the fridge overnight. Ready for lunch!
#3 Swiss Chalet Copy-Cat Sauce:
• 2 ½ cups chicken broth
• 3 tablespoons vinegar
• 3 teaspoons tomato paste
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon sugar
• 1 tablespoon paprika
• 1 teaspoon black pepper
• 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
• 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
• 1/4 teaspoon allspice
• 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
• 1/4 teaspoon basil
• 1/4 teaspoon oregano
• 2 teaspoons hot sauce
• 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
• 2 teaspoons corn starch
• 2 teaspoons water
Whisk everything together in a sauce pan at a slow simmer for 5 minutes. Create a paste with the corn starch and water. Slowly add to the simmering sauce the last few seconds to thicken. Continue to stir. Serve warm with chicken.
That’s three examples of the possible three hundred sauces that can go with your rotisserie chicken. Follow all the steps. Brine, dry, rub, rotate, roast, and then dip away to a healthy and culturally diverse dish, rotisserie chicken. Enjoy!