• 1 large chicken (about 2kg)
  • 440ml can beer (gluten-free, if needed)

For the brine

  • 300g salt
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 2 unwaxed lemons, sliced

For the rub


  • STEP 1

    Put all the brine ingredients, except the lemons, in a large saucepan with 3.5 litres water. Bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar. Transfer to a bowl or container that will fit the liquid and the chicken, add the lemon slices and leave to cool completely. Cover and chill for at least 2-3 hrs.

  • STEP 2

    Put the chicken in the brine, making sure it’s fully submerged. Cover and chill overnight (about 8 hrs, but no more than 12 hrs or the chicken will become too salty).

  • STEP 3

    The next day, lift the chicken out of the brine and pat dry using plenty of kitchen paper. Put on a rack in a large roasting tin and chill, uncovered, for another 6-8 hrs to dry out the skin so it crisps up in the oven. Take the chicken out of the fridge 30 mins before cooking.

  • STEP 4

    Adjust the shelving in your oven to ensure you can fit the chicken inside, stood up, on a tray. Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Mix the rub ingredients together in a bowl along with 2 tsp salt and 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper. Rub all over the chicken. Pour half the beer from the can into a jug, then put the half-full can in the middle of a deep baking tray. Sit the chicken on top of the can so that it slots inside the cavity of the chicken.

  • STEP 5

    Carefully transfer the chicken to the oven and cook for 1 hr-1 hr 20 mins, checking every 15 mins to ensure it hasn’t toppled over. If it has, remove from the oven, refill the can with the reserved beer, reposition the chicken and put back in the oven. The chicken is cooked when a meat thermometer inserted in the thigh area near the breast (not touching the bone) is 70C, or the juices run clear when the same area is pierced with a skewer. If it’s not fully cooked, roast for another 10 mins, then check again. Lift the chicken from the can, cover loosely with foil, and rest in a warm place for 10 mins, then serve.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, June 2023

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