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Recipe: Honey-and-Cider Brined Roast Chicken

Written by Melissa Pasanen on . Posted in Recipes

Honey-and-Cider-Brined Roast Chicken
Serves 4
This tangy-sweet glazed chicken is on 3 Squares’ catering menu and also shows up periodically as a special at the café. The chicken meat stays juicy and flavorful thanks to a honey-and-cider-sweetened salt brine; make sure to plan ahead to allow for adequate brining time. (Do not overbrine as the chicken can get too salty.) The platter of honey-bronzed chicken pieces flecked with woodsy rosemary is a showstopper 
and delivers a great combination of 
flavors “all in symphonic 
balance,” says Birong, with honey leading as first violin.
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For the brine and chicken
  1. 4 cups (1 quart) apple cider
  2. 5 tablespoons coarse kosher salt 
(Morton’s; brand matters for 
  3. 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  4. 3 garlic cloves, smashed
  5. 2 tablespoons honey
  6. 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  7. 3 slices (about ⅛-inch-thick) fresh 
ginger root, smashed
  8. 2 cups cold water
  9. 1 (about 5-pound) chicken, cut into 10 bone-in, skin-on pieces (2 legs, 2 thighs, 2 wings and whole breast divided in two lengthwise and then halved crosswise to yield 4 pieces)
  10. Olive oil to coat
For the glaze
  1. ⅓ cup honey
  2. ⅓ cup cider vinegar
  3. 1 sprig fresh rosemary
To brine chicken
  1. In a pot, combine cider, salt, peppercorns, garlic, honey, rosemary and ginger and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in 
cold water. Cool brine to room temperature, at least 1 hour.
  3. Place chicken pieces snugly in a glass or ceramic container (or in a large heavy-duty, zippered plastic bag) and pour in cooled brine to cover completely.
  4. Cover container or seal bag well and place in a bowl. Brine chicken in refrigerator for at least 6 hours and up to 12.
  5. Remove chicken from brine, discard brine, pat chicken dry with paper towel and refrigerate on a rack set over a rimmed jelly roll pan or roasting pan, uncovered, for another hour.
To roast chicken
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F convection or 425 F in a standard oven.
  2. Line a shallow roasting pan or jelly roll pan with parchment or a nonstick baking mat.
  3. Pat chicken pieces dry once again with paper towel and arrange them in prepared pan.
  4. Using a pastry brush, coat chicken skin lightly with olive oil.
  5. Roast chicken for 20 minutes in convection oven or 30 minutes in standard oven, or until light golden brown.
  6. While chicken is roasting, in a small pan, whisk together honey and cider vinegar and then add rosemary sprig. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook, at a gentle simmer, until reduced in volume by about one-half and is lightly syrupy, such that it clings to a pastry brush but is still liquid enough to brush, about 10 minutes.
  7. Remove chicken from oven and turn standard oven to broil with oven rack in position such that chicken will be about 3 inches from element. (Leave convection oven at 400 F.)
  8. Brush chicken generously with glaze and return to oven for up to 5 minutes until skin is dark golden brown. Watch carefully.
  9. Serve chicken drizzled with more glaze and chopped rosemary.
Adapted from Matt Birong, 3 Squares Café, Vergennes, photo by Ken Burris
Adapted from Matt Birong, 3 Squares Café, Vergennes, photo by Ken Burris
Vermont Life Magazine
Melissa Pasanen

Melissa Pasanen

Contact Melissa Pasanen at and follow her on Twitter at

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