This is a delicious recipe and technique for cooking a whole chicken using Thrall Road Smoked Habanero-Infused Maple Syrup as a delicious glaze. This recipe is for a whole chicken, but the glaze recipe can be used on chicken parts - breasts, thighs, wings etc. and they will turn out great.
- Coarse Kosher Salt
- Olive Oil
- Bay Leaves
- Fresh Garlic
- Real maple syrup (dark grade is preferred; amber's cool also)
- 5-6# Whole Chicken
- Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper
- Italian Seasoning
The Smoked Habanero Maple Syrup Glaze:
- 4oz Thrall Road Maple Smoked Habanero Maple Syrup
- 2 TBSP Butter
On the evening before you'll be cooking, put the raw chicken in a large pot. Using a measuring cup, add cold water to the pot, one cup at a time. Keep track of how many cups it takes to fully submerge the chicken. For every 2 cups of water it took to submerge the chicken, add a 1/8 cup of kosher salt to a saucepan, one bay leaf and a smashed clove of garlic. Fill the sauce pan with enough water to dissolve the salt and boil it. When water starts boiling, add syrup - 1 Tablespoon for every cup of water you used to submerge the chicken.
Once the saucepot has boiled and the salt and syrup are dissolved, take it off the stove and let it cool. This is your brine concentrate. Temporarily remove the chicken from the big pot with the water, to add the brine concentrate into the water. Stir it around with a large wooden spoon or something, to mix it up. Put the chicken back in. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
I can't stress how much brining is worth it. The salt water alters the protein structure of the meat, allowing it to absorb more water. As a result, when you cook the brined chicken, the extra moisture helps to keep the meat juicy and tender. It also allows the salt, maple and other flavors to infuse into the chicken. Once you take the extra planning and preparation time required to brine a chicken, you'll never let yourself skip it.
The next day, about 3-4 hours before you want to be ready, remove the chicken from the brine. Toss the brine; it's done its job. Use paper towels to dry the surface of the chicken. Place chicken on a wire rack and return to fridge to further dry. Making sure the skin on the chicken is dry during the cooking process keeps the skin from being rubbery when served. The wire rack will allow all surfaces of the chicken to have air circulating on it as it dries.
Preheat oven or smoker (if you have one) to 300. Baste the chicken with olive oil. Then, rub the surface with salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and rosemary. Once the cooker reaches 300 put in the chicken, again on a wire rack so all surfaces are expose to the heat.
Using a food thermometer, start checking the internal temperature of the chicken after about 1.5 hours.
While your chicken is cooking prepare the glaze, heat up the habanero-infused syrup with the butter in a saucepan so that the two ingredients melt and mix together. When chicken internal temp is 160 degrees, baste the glaze on the surface of the chicken. You should be able to cover the surface of the chicken and still have some glaze left over. Crank heat up on cooking device to 400 and put the chicken back in, allowing the internal temperature to reach 175 and is fully cooked. At this final stage of cooking, the syrup will provide that spicy sweet and subtle heat. The butter, being a fat, will allow the glaze to bake into the skin. The increased heat of this final stage will help the skin get crispy.
Remove chicken from oven. And let rest for 10 minutes. Carve chicken and drizzle any remaining glaze on chicken you're serving.