Jordan Mackey’s Herb-Brined Roasted Chicken

Shutterstock - Robyn Mackenzie

When it comes to the classics, look to the pros. Chef Jordan Mackey of Sobre Mesa in Sudbury shares his expertise in this well-executed roast chicken recipe, which you can roll out whenever the mood strikes. Generously seasoned and undeniably tender, the juicy cooked-to-perfection dish needs little to no sauce, just a twist of lemon and a drizzle of olive oil. Pair it with fresh seasonal vegetables and potatoes, then voila! It’s a homestyle meal dressed for any occasion.


Servings: 4


  • 2 - 3 lb. whole chickens
  • 4 cups water
  • 10 thyme sprigs
  • 1/2  bunch Italian parsley
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 4 sprigs tarragon
  • 1 sprig sage
  • 3 sprigs oregano
  • 3 tablespoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 stalk of celery
  • 2 shallots
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • Zest from 2 lemons
  • Olive oil


Day 1
  1. Remove breast, leg and thigh portions from the chicken carcass leaving skin intact on each half.
  2. Remove thigh bones from each portion and reserve portions.
  3. To make the brine, place all other ingredients in a high speed blender and puree until smooth ( it should taste salty).
  4. Place chicken portions in a deep casserole dish or tupperware and cover with brine. Refrigerate for 24 hours.
Day 2
  1. Remove chicken portions from brine, wipe off excess brine and fold the leg and thigh portion over the breast, as to completely encapsulate the chicken in skin.
  2. Drizzle with olive oil and lightly salt the top (leg portion) of the chicken, then place on an oiled cookie sheet.
  3. Par cook at 350 degrees for about 15–18 minutes, remove and allow to come to room temperature.
  4. To finish roast chicken, bake at 375 degrees for 15–20 minutes until golden brown.
  5. Rest for 10 minutes prior to serving.
Active prep time: 45 minutes, Total prep time: 26 hours

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