Slow-Cooked Dry Rub Oven Chicken
Okay, y’all, this one takes some planning. You have to brine your chicken for an hour or six, and it needs to be thawed before you start that so it can absorb all the briny goodness. It cooks for a long time. You have to reduce the juices to make a sauce. I have yet to master the art of folding foil so that juices don’t ooze out, to boot (same thing happened when I tried Alton Brown’s ribs, which is a damn shame), but I still managed to retain enough for delicious sauce.
All of this chicken got gobbled up posthaste. I was surprised by it myself — I’d expected good, but I hadn’t expected quite the transcendent experience I got. That was a definite bonus. While I know it looks like it has a lot of steps, they’re all easy steps, more or less — it’s a good starting place for newer cooks (something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately).
Slow-Cooked Dry Rub Oven Chicken, adapted a little bit from smitten kitchen
3ish lbs. chicken, bone in and skin on (I used legs and thighs — one thigh and two legs per person, more or less)
4 c. water
1/3 c. kosher salt
1/3 c. brown sugar
1/3 c. apple cider vinegar
Rub (you will have extra; just stick it in a jar):
6 Tbsp. brown sugar
4 Tbsp. smoked paprika
3 Tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cayenne pepper (or to taste)
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 Tbsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
a few squirts honey or agave nectar
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
Deal with the chicken: Examine it for remaining feathery bits and pluck those.
Make and use the brine: Mix all the stuff in a bowl. Plop the chicken into it and let it hang out in the fridge for somewhere between 1 and 6 hours. Shorter and it won’t really benefit from brining; longer and it’ll get mushy. No one wants mushy chicken.
Make the rub: Put everything in a jar. Apply the lid. Dance around your kitchen, shaking it vigorously. Bonus points if you alarm family pets.
Cook!: Preheat the oven to 300F. Extract chicken from brine and pat dry. Arrange it on large pieces of heavy duty foil. Sprinkle on the rub generously. Like, more than that. Seriously. You should have a LOT of rub. Pat it with vigor so it sticks. Make sure to get all the sides of the chicken. Add a little more rub and pat it more. Crimp the ever-living hell out of the sides of the foil, hopefully better than I do. Put the foil packet or packets on a baking sheet and put them in the oven pretty much forever, or for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, whichever comes first. If you’d like, you can open the packets and broil the chicken to get good crispy skin once they’re more or less done, but my broiler doesn’t really function as intended so I didn’t.
Make sauce: Collect the juices from the foil packet(s) before doing any (optional) broiling. Put it in a saucepan and stir in the honey or agave, then boil it vigorously until it’s sauce consistency. Splash in the vinegar at the very end.
Eat: Serve with sauce. It’ll be pretty messy. That’s good!