Tender, juicy and flavorful buttermilk marinated roast chicken is so delicious. This tender roast chicken makes the perfect family dinner when paired with simple potatoes and steamed vegetables. If you’re lucky enough to have left overs, you’ll love the roast chicken meat in a chicken salad wrap.
How to brine or marinate a chicken
Marinating chicken is always a great way to infuse flavor and keep chicken moist and delicious as it cooks. Particularly if you plan to use the oven or a BBQ. I discovered the magic of marinating chicken in buttermilk through chef Samin Nosrat (author of Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking (affiliate) and the star of Netflix cooking series Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat. If you haven’t watched this series yet, I highly recommend it.)
I never used to brine or marinate chicken before roasting it. Now I rarely ever make it any other way. I usually brine chicken in a mixture of water, Mediterranean sea salt and fresh herbs from my garden.
The brine formula I follow is: 1 tbsp Mediterranean fine sea salt to every cup of water. I usually need about four cups of water to submerse a chicken completely. Stuff some of your favorite herbs in there with the chicken. I’ll prepare the brine and marinate it overnight in gallon zip lock bags in the fridge. (Always double up on the zip lock bags to avoid leakage). My favorite seasoning combinations include: 1) garlic, rosemary and black pepper corns or 2) garlic, thyme and lemon.
The buttermilk marinade or brine formula
I was pretty excited to try out the buttermilk marinade. This marinade calls for 4 tsp fine sea salt to 2 cups of buttermilk. That’s it. Simple and effective. It definitely had a tenderizing effect and added a great tangy flavor.
A beautiful thing
When I first made this buttermilk marinated roast chicken I followed Nasim’s instructions to the letter. It turned out perfectly. The skin turned a deep beautiful color and was really delicious. The meat was tender, juicy and flavorful. Not dry or burnt. If roast chicken can be a beautiful thing, then this is the recipe for that. There was a fair amount of moving the chicken around in various parts of a very hot oven. Doing this helps get the chicken skin crispy and browned evenly all around the whole bird. It also helps cook the leg/thigh meat without drying out the breast meat.
One of the things that I whole heartily believe is having the right kind of roasting pan makes a huge difference in how your roast chicken will turn out. In this case, the recipe calls for using a 10 inch cast iron skillet. The skillet provides even heating and is light enough to move around easily. My cast iron skillet is treasure. It was given to me by my mom decades ago. If you take care of these pans, they last forever. If you don’t already own a cast iron skillet, a brand to consider is this Lodge Cast Iron Skillet (affiliate). If you are lucky, you might be able to find one at the Goodwill.
I’m fairly confident my family of four would eat up an entire chicken in one sitting. If you are able to, it’s worth it to make more than one roast chicken at the same time. Cook once, eat twice. You can always shred or chop up the other chicken for additional meals throughout the week.
I’m not sure what else to say about this marinated buttermilk chicken recipe other than it’s damn delicious! You must give it a try. Let me know how it turns out in the comments below for you.
Buttermilk marinated roast chicken
- 3 1/2 to 4 lb whole chicken
- 5 tsp fine Mediterranean sea salt
- 2 cups buttermilk
- ground pepper (optional)
- Prepare the chicken for the marinade. Remove the wing tips with a sharp knife. Clean and pat it down with paper towel. Season it with 1 tsp sea salt all over and set aside.
- Stir 4 teaspoons sea salt into the buttermilk to let it dissolve (see note below).
- Put the chicken into a gallon sized resealable plastic zip lock bag. Pour the buttermilk in. Place that zip lock bag inside of another one. This helps prevent spills. Squish it all around the chicken. Place the chicken inside the fridge for 24 hours. During this time, turn the bag a couple times.
- Remove the chicken from the fridge about 30 minutes to an hour before you plan to cook it. Drain off the buttermilk. Place the oven rack in the center position. Preheat the oven to 425 F. Tie the legs together with butcher’s twine. Place the chicken in a 10 inch cast iron skillet and season with a little ground pepper if desired.
- Place the skillet all the way to the back of the oven. Position the legs so that they are pointing to the rear left corner of the oven. The breast should be pointing to the center. At about 20 minutes, the chicken will begin browning. Reduce the heat to 400 F. Continue roasting for another 10 minutes. Then move the pan so that the legs are pointing in the back right corner of the oven.
- Cook another 30 minutes or until the chicken is nicely browned all over. The juice should run clear. Using a digital thermometer, the internal temperature at the thickest part of the chicken should read 160 F. Remove the chicken to a platter and allow it to rest for a minimum 10 minutes. This is an essential step to keeping the chicken juicy.
· You can also use Kosher salt. Use 2 tablespoons of Kosher salt in place of the sea salt in the buttermilk.
· Prep time does not include 24 hrs marinating time.