Chickens raised on pasture can be a little tough due to all that running around outside. They tend to develop more muscle meat than farmed chickens. Try this Basic Brined Chicken before roasting for a moist and tender texture.
To rectify this, I brine the chicken overnight before roasting. It does add a step to the cooking process, but it really tenderizes the meat and keeps it very moist.
A simple brine is just salt water.
Some recipes add sugar to the brine, but that is not something I would do.
By soaking the meat in a salt solution, it allows the cell membranes to open up and the salt can enter the cell, followed by the water. This plumps up the proteins and allows it to retain moisture while cooking.
Use coarse Kosher salt measured at one cup of salt per gallon of water. Use a non reactive container, like a stock pot and be sure it will fit into your refrigerator.
The chicken will be much juicier and more flavorful than an unbrined bird. You may also add other flavors to the brine, such as herbs, slices of lemon, peppercorns, or allspice berries.
Add whatever flavors you like.
Brining is also appropriate for chicken parts and, of course turkeys.
The larger the bird, the longer the brining time. However, ten hours is the upper limit for any brine, as too long will cause the meat to get too salty and/or mushy.Print