Kitchen Craft Episode 5: How to cook the best chicken

Brining a chicken – say what? Trust us, it only sounds complicated. Once you’ve learned the trick of it, you will never have to eat dry chicken again. Just follow Chef’s Clem’s easy steps and you too can munch on the fried chicken that dreams are made of.  


Chicken brine
  • 2 litres of water
  • 1 cup of salt
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • A sprig of thyme
  • 4 slices of lemon
  • 1 tbsp peppercorns 
  • 1 whole spatchcock chicken, or 8 pieces of free range chicken
  1. Add the water to a large pot along with the salt, sugar, garlic, thyme, lemon slices and peppercorns.
  2. Bring to a simmer over a medium heat while stirring until the sugar and salt have completely dissolved, before removing from the heat and cooling completely.
  3. Add your spatchcock chicken or chicken pieces to the brine, and place in the fridge for a minimum of 4 hours, up to 8 hours, before removing and preparing for either roasting or frying.


For the fried chicken:

  • 8 pieces of brined free range chicken, a combination of legs, thighs, wings and breasts
  • 2 tbsp onion powder 
  • 1 tbsp ground paprika
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup hot sauce
  • ½ cup milk
  • 3 cups flour
  • Oil for deep-frying
  • Lemon for squeezing over


Cooking instructions:

  1. Add the brined chicken portions to a large bowl before adding 1 tbsp onion powder and paprika; season lightly with salt and add the black pepper.
  2. Pour in the hot sauce and mix through, giving the chicken some time to absorb the flavours of the spices and sauce - 5 minutes should do it. Add the milk and combine.
  3. In a separate bowl, add the flour and remaining onion powder, lightly seasoning with salt and pepper.
  4. Add the chicken to the flour, pressing down lightly to ensure every bit of the chicken is covered, before gently tapping to shake off any excess flour. Set aside for 5 minutes.
  5. Heat the oil for deep-frying. Gently place the chicken in the oil and fry for about 15 minutes or until the chicken is golden and crisp on the outside, with the inside of the chicken cooked through. (To check if the inside is cooked, pierce the thickest part of the chicken and if the juices run clear then it’s ready.) Continue to cook the remaining chicken in the same manner while making sure not to overcrowd the pot, causing the temperature of the oil to drop.
  6. Add a squeeze of lemon juice to the fried chicken to add a fresh, zesty kick.


For the roast chicken

  • 1 brined free-range spatchcock chicken
  • 1 lemon, cut into slices
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • Canola oil to brush over the chicken
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


Cooking instructions:

  1. Using absorbent kitchen paper, pat the skin of the chicken dry before leaving uncovered in the fridge for an hour to help dry out the skin.
  2. Add some baking paper to a baking sheet (this helps with the clean-up). Add the slices of lemon and the thyme, then place the chicken on top of that, skin facing up.
  3. Brush the skin of the chicken with the canola oil and season lightly with salt before adding freshly ground black pepper.
  4. Roast the chicken at 180°C to roast for 30-40 minutes, or until the skin is golden and crisp and the chicken is completely cooked through. Allow the chicken to rest for 10 minutes before serving.


Still not sure of how to go about it? Shop Easy to Cook chicken roasts