The Brining Step You Can't Forget For Chicken With Crispy Skin

Evenly browned, crispy, and dripping juices over a bed of vegetables, a roast chicken is most people's stock image of home cooking tranquility, and brining is essential to make one right. According to Cook's Illustrated, not only does the salt in a brine help meat stay juicy by trapping water, but a long brine will also season chicken all the way through, ensuring every bite from the leg to the center of the breast is just as flavorful as the last. Brining is the one step you want to take to ensure a roast chicken tastes as good as it looks.

It wouldn't be controversial to say the blistered, crispy skin of the roast chicken is the best part of the experience. What chef doesn't sneak a bite from the back of the bird before delivering it to the table? Savory, fatty, and salty, it's good enough to use as an ingredient in its own right. That's why, whether you are wet brining or dry brining, there is an important step you need to take to ensure you don't miss out on the crackly goodness.

Dry out your chicken skin while brining to bring the crunch

The enemy of crisp is moisture, so you want to get that chicken skin as dry as possible before it goes in the oven. The preferred way of doing this, says Simply Recipes, is to leave your chicken uncovered in the fridge for up to 24 hours, letting the cool air desiccate the skin. Doing this while dry brining means you'll build flavor and simultaneously ensure crisp skin. If you are pressed for time, you can blot all the moisture off with paper towels, although the results won't be quite as good as air drying.

Another brining tip you can use is adding a bit of baking powder before letting the chicken sit. Serious Eats says the baking powder will help break down the proteins in chicken skin, much like salt does, and it will even mix with the juices drawn up by brining to create air bubbles that maximize the crunch factor. By combining these few simple steps with your brining process, you'll ensure that perfect skin that will have every one of your next dinner guests raving it's the best roast chicken they've ever had.