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Buttermilk Roast Chicken

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Recently, I find that when I read a new recipe (which is a lot, mind you), I automatically start thinking of how I can tweak it juuuuuust ever so slightly. Not necessarily enough to actually change it, just enough to put my own spin on things.

But every once in a while, I run across a recipe that I know neither can nor should be improved or tweaked in the slightest. There is just something about it that screams…well, usually something along the lines of, “I’m delicious, darn it, leave me as I am!”

When I saw this recipe for buttermilk roast chicken on Smitten Kitchen a few weeks ago, I just knew it was one of those recipes. Just like I knew that it would probably become one of my new favorite ways to make chicken.

Ding-ding-ding! I was right.

I’m not normally one for messing with bone-in, skin-on chicken. I’m usually a boneless, skinless chicken breast kind of girl. Easier to deal with, healthier for you, blah blah blah. But this recipe…I just couldn’t get it out of my head. I couldn’t stop thinking about how delicious that buttermilk brined chicken would be…I just knew that it would be juicy and flavorful and as utterly wonderful as a piece of chicken can be without being fried.

Again, I was right. We should just start assuming that I always am.

(Whoa, I can actually hear my mother laughing from three hours away…)

Let’s just say that you should give this chicken a try. Not only is it a great comforting kind of delicious, it is stupid easy. Seriously. Whisk together your buttermilk bath. Let your birdie soak. Throw it in the oven. Done. The only thing easier than that might be slice-and-bake cookies (which, as fate would have it, you don’t even have to actually slice anymore…don’t get me started on what this world is coming to).

As a side note, please forgive my sadder than sad pictures today. I would say that I was rushed in getting dinner to the table because of Hungry Boyfriend, but the real truth is that I was actually the hungry one…oops.

Buttermilk Roast Chicken
From Smitten Kitchen
Yield: 4 servings
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon table salt (use a bit more if using kosher salt)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons paprika, plus extra for sprinkling
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2½ to 3 pounds chicken parts
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  1. In a bowl, whisk together buttermilk, garlic, salt, sugar, paprika and a generous amount of black pepper. Place chicken in a gallon-sized zip-top bag or lidded container and pour buttermilk brine over them. Make sure that all of the parts are covered. Refrigerate for a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 48 hours (24 hours being preferable).
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  3. Line a baking dish with foil (for easiest clean-up). Remove chicken from buttermilk brine and place in the dish. Drizzle lightly with olive oil, sprinkle with additional paprika and salt.
  4. Roast for 30 minutes for legs (approximately 35 to 40 minutes for breasts) until brown and a bit scorched in spots. (Or, alternatively, until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 165 degrees.)
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Wednesday 10th of April 2013

Wondering why it would not work to make this with skinless chicken breast and thighs??


Wednesday 10th of April 2013

Oh, I don't know that it wouldn't work - you can certainly use any pieces of chicken you like (I just happen to like how well it does with drumsticks and how quickly they cook up). You would definitely still get the flavor, though what is so spectacular is the crispiness of the skin on this. Also, you would want to be careful that your chicken didn't dry out, as the skin sort of helps to lock in those gorgeous juices. But give it a try and let me know how it goes!


Wednesday 13th of March 2013

That was Deee-Lish!!! And couldn't have been easier. Thanks.


Monday 18th of March 2013

I'm so glad you tried and enjoyed it!


Monday 25th of February 2013

This also works for low-carbers if you either omit the sugar entirely or substitute the amount of liquid sucralose the label says is equal to 1T sugar in sweetening power. YUM!


Monday 25th of February 2013

Great tip, thanks!


Monday 5th of March 2012

I have to say, after having eaten this with Stephie, it's pretty much the best chicken I've ever tasted. I approve! ;-) Thanks baby!


Sunday 4th of March 2012

Made up the brine on Saturday morning. Put the chicken in the oven after early church. Very yummy & a big hit with the hubster!!! I used 4 thighs. Will definitely make this again!!


Sunday 4th of March 2012

Yay! I'm so glad you enjoyed it! =)