For the Brine:
- 8 cups water, divided
- ½ cup kosher salt
- ¼ cup honey
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
- 3 thyme sprigs
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 yellow onion, quartered
- 1 lemon, halved
- One 3-to-4-pound chicken
For the Roasted Chicken:
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 teaspoons thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 garlic clove, grated
1. Brine the chicken: In a large pot, combine 2 cups of water with the salt, honey, sugar, peppercorns, thyme, bay leaves, garlic, onion and lemon. Bring to a boil and cook until the salt and sugar dissolve, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the remaining 6 cups of water. Let cool completely, then add the chicken, submerging entirely. Refrigerate overnight.
2. The next day, preheat the oven to 400°. In a medium bowl, mix together the butter, salt, thyme, pepper, lemon zest and garlic until smooth. Set aside.
3. Remove the chicken from the brine and pat dry with paper towels (this step is essential for getting crisp skin). Transfer the chicken to a roasting pan. Rub the chicken completely with the butter mixture, lifting the skin off the breasts to coat underneath.
4. Roast, basting every 15 minutes, until the chicken is golden brown and reaches an internal temperature of 165°, 55 to 60 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes, then carve.
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