Serving up a hot, juicy, tender whole chicken is one of the greatest things isn’t it?! You can make a delicious meal, serve it up with veggies, or make sandwiches out of it, you name it. But, there’s nothing worse than spending all afternoon laboring over a roast chicken, for it to come out dry and not juicy at all.
It can seem like even though you tried your best, followed all of the hints and tips, you still ended up with bone dry chicken, no matter what you do! This is where a salt crusted chicken recipe can come in handy. Using this simple method to cook your whole chicken is a sure-fire way of creating soft, tender and flavorful chicken that all will enjoy! Don’t knock it until you try it!
What Is Salt Crusted Chicken?
Salt crusted chicken is everything the name entails. You use salt to make a crust for the chicken, and cook it in the oven. The salt will form a sort of crust and layer over the chicken, completely encompassing the chicken inside. Whilst it looks kind of gross, once you bake the chicken and take the salty crust off, you are left with delicious, juicy and mouth-wateringly good chicken breast underneath.
Trust us on this one, what this dish lacks in aesthetic value, it really makes up for when it comes to the taste! The texture kind of looks like wet sand, but it keeps all of the flavors and taste inside of the chicken, sealing in the juices so that it is bursting with moisture and flavor when you serve it up!
The best part is that making this is super fun, simple and easy to do… just throw the salt on there and cover it up. Who knew making the perfect whole chicken could be so easy? So, if you want to do this for yourself, read on for our step by step guide!
How to make salt crusted chicken?
The best way to cook the salt crusted chicken is to spatchcock it first, as this will make it easier to ensure that all parts of the chicken will be cooked in and covered in the salt crust.
Step 1 – Spatchcock the chicken
First, you are going to want to spatchcock the chicken. Whilst this sounds a little messy, it is actually rather simple to do. All you need to do is remove the giblets, flip the chicken, and with some handy kitchen shears, cut the backbone out of the chicken.
Then, you can lay it out flat, with the wings out either side, and the legs out either side of the chicken breast. Once this is done, you can move onto the next step!
Step 2 – Tuck back the chicken wings
Next, you will need to tuck in the wings once the chicken has been spatchcocked. To do this, simply tuck the wings back behind the breasts to get them out of the way.
Step 3 – Create the salt crust
Now comes the fun part. You can make your salt crust whilst you warm up and preheat the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit, and leave it whilst you get to the salt. To create your salt crust, you will need about six cups of kosher salt, and around 1 and a half cups of water. You can adjust this as needed, to get the perfect consistency.
To create crust, you have to have the salt crust mixture with a consistency much like wet sand, or feeling kind of like a thick, sandy paste. Mix it together entirely before moving on to the next step.
Step 4 – Crust your chicken with salt
Once you have created your salt crust, you will want to take big handfuls of the salt and rub it onto the chicken. If it is easier, just dump the salt out onto the chicken and rub and pat it on. Make sure that you cover the entire chicken with the salt paste, and keep patting to ensure that it stays on the chicken.
When we say cover the chicken, we really mean it. You need to have the chicken completely crusted in the salt, and covered all over to the point where it looks like it is buried in white sand!
You are also going to want to make sure that there are no gaps or holes in your crust, as you need to completely cover the chicken in order to seal all of the juices inside. You may also notice that water will start to pool around the chicken, so you will have to work fast when creating the crust to get that salt all over it without falling off.
Now, to ensure that the juices are tightly sealed inside, so your chicken is oh so juicy, you will want to bake the salted crust for quite a while. We recommend baking it for about 1 hour and 30 minutes for the best results. This can seem like a long time, but trust us, your chicken will turn out lovely and tender.
Step 5 – Break the salt
Once the cooking time has passed, you can remove the chicken from the oven. When you take it out, you may notice that the chicken itself looks exactly the same as before it went in…covered in salt, and the sides of the baking tray where the water pooled now has a brown crust. This is normal, so don’t worry! But, when you touch the salt, it will not be falling off, but super tough and hard.
So, you will have to crack the salt, and break it off the chicken. To do this, we recommend using a kitchen mallet as it is a little more fun, but you can pry it open and off with a knife. Most of the salt should come off easily, however you should also pull the skin off the chicken, as this will have acted as a barrier and will have absorbed a lot of the salt, making it distasteful.
But, the meat underneath will be juicy, tender, and not salty. If there is any salt left around the chicken once the main bulk of it is removed, simply use a pastry brush to get rid of the excess, and you are ready to serve it!
Salt Crusted Chicken Recipe
To create your own salt crusted chicken, you follow this easy and simple recipe. The prep time only takes about 15 minutes, whilst the chicken cooks for 1 hour 30 minutes!
- One 5lb chicken
- 1 ½ cups of water
- 6 cups of kosher salt
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees, before lining a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- With a large bowl, you will need to mix the kosher salt with the water, and stir to combine until it feels like wet sand. Set the bowl aside for now.
- With kitchen shears, remove the backbone from the chicken, to spatchcock it.
- Next, sprinkle 1-2 handfuls of salt on the parchment paper, and spread the chicken on top, laying it all out flat on the baking sheet.
- Cake the chicken in the salt and water mixture, and pat down as if playing with sand. Pile the mixture on and make sure the chicken is completely covered, with no holes or spots poking through. Make sure the coating is even.
- Place the baking tray with the chicken in the oven for 1 hour and 30 minutes.
- Remove chicken from the oven and break off the crust with a knife or mallet. Discard the salt crust, and brush off excess with a pastry brush.
- Finally, peel the skin off the chicken to see the juicy, soft meat underneath and discard as the skin will be salty, but the meat will not be. Serve up in a preferred meal or dish.