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9 pounds of salt + 1 chicken = moist, juicy goodness (Pics)

TjcoleyTjcoley Posts: 3,528
edited August 2012 in EggHead Forum
I was following a thread the other night where the discussion turned to whether or not sprinkling meat with salt before cooking it caused it to dry out.  As I was reading it, I remembered this recipe from a couple years ago and decided to recreate it.
Start with 9 pounds of Kosher salt

Rince, dry and season a chicken.  This was a 6 pound roaster, rubbed with garlic and lemon juice, sprinkled with ground pepper and chopped parsley. Make sure the skin is intact.  Into the cavity went the rest of the lemon, 2 cloves of garlic cut in half, a sprig of rosemary, some fresh sage and thyme.Truss the bird with butchers string.


Pour the 9 pounds of salt into a large bowl and add 2 1/4 cups cold water.  Mix well - you want consistency of wet heavy snow.

Layer a pan with about 3/4 inch of the wet salt and press down, then add the chicken on top.

Insert a temp probe, then pack the entire chicken in the rest of the wet salt, pressing it to hold together.  About 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick.  Cover the entire thing with the salt

Bake indirect at 500 degrees (a lot hotter than I usually do poultry, but it hardens the salt crust) until 165 degrees.  Let it rest for 15 minutes and then comes the fun part.  The crust will be very hard by now and needs to be cracked.  Choose your blunt object of choice, typically a mallet or the back of a cleaver, but if you really want the wow factor in front of the family a 7 iron or baseball bat will work as well.  Give it a good smack and the crust will break into large pieces. It may require a couple of smacks in various places. Then peel back the salt

Use a basting brush to remove any remaining salt and remove to a cutting board.

Carve and enjoy.  Notice how juicy the chicken is.

Done right, there will be no saltiness to the meat, as a matter of fact, I was actually reaching for the salt shaker until my wife slapped my hand.  It will be moist and juicy, with great flavor from the herbs.  The skin even browns and crisps up a little bit in places.  
If you can prepare it before family/guests arrive, it is very impressive to take this large, hard lump of salt, crack it, and pull out a delicious chicken. 
It's not a science, it's an art. And it's flawed.
- Camp Hill, PA


  • That mound of salt always scares me. Looks good!


  • Richard FlRichard Fl Posts: 8,248
    Nice looking meal.  It also works for a prime rib, with/without bones.  Some egg whites help bind the salt casing.
  • DuganboyDuganboy Posts: 1,118
    I NEVER have any luck cooking chicken. A rotisserie chicken from our local grocery always tastes better than mine.
  • Thats because they inject them with salt...
  • bigphilbigphil Posts: 1,390
    @Tjcoley looks awesome i really need to stop looking at your threads or buy bigger pants .
    Pants it is. thanks again 
    Large Big Green Egg , XL Big Green Egg . BBQ Guru, Weber Kettle, Weber Q grill for road trips.
  • tazcrashtazcrash Posts: 1,852
    Bx - > NJ ->TX!!! 
    All to get cheaper brisket! 
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    salt will dry out your food if you do that.

    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • chuffchuff Posts: 255
    Beef tenderloin and whole fish can also be done this way very successfully. 
    XL BGE
  • BotchBotch Posts: 6,335
    Have not done a chicken this way, but have done a couple beef tenderloins.
    I do want to try this with just salt and water, however.  I followed a recipe with water and egg whites as mentioned by Richard, but it bogged my KitchenAid down and I had to complete the kneading by hand, and was dripping with sweat by the time I finished.  Not worth it.  Also, you need to embed a dryer vent on each end of the chicken to let the smoke in.  
    Does make a heck of a presentation at the table, though!  
    Live fast, die young, and leave a well-marbled corpse.  
    Ogden, Utard.  
  • Hi54puttyHi54putty Posts: 1,872
    @Stike, I see what you did there.
    Winston-Salem, NC 
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    Doesnt leaving an opening for smoke short circuit the whole idea?
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • BYS1981BYS1981 Posts: 2,530
    The real question is this noticeably better than spatchcock? Otherwise seems like a waste of 3 boxes of kosher salt.
  • TjcoleyTjcoley Posts: 3,528
    You don't get to whack a spathchock with a seven iron, bust open a big rock and deliver a chicken. Better, maybe not. Different, for sure.
    It's not a science, it's an art. And it's flawed.
    - Camp Hill, PA
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 26,662
    Finally proof - the egg does come before the chicken.
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.  Love me or hate me, I am forum Marmite.
    Large and Medium BGE, Kamado Joe Jr, Akorn Jr, smoker with a 5k btu AC, gas grill, fire pit, pack of angry cats, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.  Registered republican.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • BYS1981BYS1981 Posts: 2,530
    Yeah i figured different, meaning once in a while cook vs a spatchcock which would be the "usz". I am not saying not worth doing by any means, just my moneymaker would be spatchcock and this would be an occassional cook.
  • TjcoleyTjcoley Posts: 3,528
    Last time I did one was 2 years ago in an oven. I agree with you completely. The main reason I did it was to show salt does not dry out your meat due to reading it on a recent thread. Spathcock is my new go to way of doing chicken since getting the Egg and reading this forum. I think we are on the same page here. It will probably be years til I do another one this way.
    It's not a science, it's an art. And it's flawed.
    - Camp Hill, PA
  • gte1gte1 Posts: 376
    I NEVER have any luck cooking chicken. A rotisserie chicken from our local grocery always tastes better than mine.

    How have you been doing them? Spatchcock, halves, quarters, or pieces raised direct at ~400 you can't go wrong. I use the AR so I'm about 3" above the felt line. George
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