Lemon Tea Brined Slow Roasted Chicken

By • February 14, 2013 • 20 Comments

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Author Notes: I love chicken that is slow roasted on low heat...it's my "go to" recipe. I picked up a small 3 pounder the other day and decided to brine it with tea and lemon before roasting. It was sweet and succulent and the two of us almost finished it off in one sitting! Please note that for some reason the recipe steps were reversed.


Food52 Review: Since this method was the exact opposite of how I usually roast a chicken, I just had to try it! The slow roasting, along with the long marinade, yields a very moist and flavorful bird. The legs were particularly good, smooth and silky in texture, enhanced by the subtle tea flavor of the brine. Is this the method I'll use for every future chicken? Probably not, but it was an awfully good break from my norm.Sarah | strawberryplum

Serves 2 to 4 depending on your appetite

For the roast chicken

  • 1 brined chicken (see below)
  • 1 black tea bag, tag removed
  • 4 large cloves garlic, halved
  • Juice of 1 medium lemon
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  1. Preheat oven to 250° F. Remove the chicken from the tea brine and pat it dry inside and out with paper towels. Place the garlic cloves and the tea bag into the chicken's cavity. Tie the chicken's legs, tuck the wings under the chicken, and place it breast-side up into a 9 x 13-inch roasting pan.
  2. Rub the lemon juice all over the skin of the chicken and then rub on the olive oil. Combine the salt, pepper, cayenne, and garlic and pat the mixture all over the bird.
  3. Roast for about 3 hours. After the first hour of roasting, start basting occasionally by tipping the pan to release the juices from the cavity. Do this about every half hour or so.
  4. After the slow roast, raise the oven temperature to 375° F and continue to roast for about 15 minutes. Let rest for about 10 minutes before serving.
  5. Note: If you're roasting a chicken larger than 3 pounds, you'll need to increase the slow-roasting time. I usually roast a 5- to 6-pounder for about 4 1/2 to 5 hours at 250° F.

For the brine

  • 4 cups water
  • 4 black tea bags (I used English breakfast)
  • Three 2-inch slices of lemon peel about an inch wide
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • Juice of one medium lemon
  • One 3-pound chicken
  1. Bring the water up to a boil and add the tea bags and lemon peel. Turn off the heat, cover the pot, and let the tea steep for 10 minutes.
  2. Stir in the sugar and salt and then let the mixture cool to room temperature. After it reaches room temperature, stir in the lemon juice.
  3. Place the chicken in a gallon-sized freezer bag and pour in the tea. Place the bag on a sided dish and place in the fridge for about 24 hours. Occasionally turn the chicken to distribute the tea all over.
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Comments (20) Questions (1)


about 1 year ago bozhena

this dish is a miracle. in the past week i made it 3 times. thank you.


about 1 year ago inpatskitchen

I'm thrilled you enjoyed! Thanks so much!


over 1 year ago QueenSashy

QueenSashy is a trusted home cook.

Pat, you should enter this dish into "Your Best Chicken" contest


over 1 year ago inpatskitchen

Thanks QS! I think I will


about 2 years ago Bevi

This is going to be my next roast chicken. We love to drink tea with little lemon in the evening -this time it will be literally WITH the bird!


about 2 years ago inpatskitchen

Thanks Bevi! Would love your feedback!


over 2 years ago EmilyC

This is going on my list of things to try soon!


over 2 years ago inpatskitchen

Thank you Emily! Please let me know what you think if you make it.


over 2 years ago lapadia

I'm salivating over your beautiful photo and the recipe sounds extremely delicious as well!


over 2 years ago inpatskitchen

Thanks lapadia! It WAS a beautiful little bird!


over 2 years ago Kukla

This chicken is so beautiful and sounds so succulent that you do not have to worry about reversing the recipe Pat!!!


over 2 years ago inpatskitchen

You're too kind Kukla! Thank you!


over 2 years ago creamtea

I'm getting hungry looking at that picture.


over 2 years ago inpatskitchen

Thanks creamtea! The camera behaved a little this time!


over 2 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Oh my that chicken is beautiful, what a gorgeous color. Great recipe, that brine has to be amazing!


over 2 years ago inpatskitchen

Thanks suzanne! At first I feared that the chicken would taste like sweet tea but everything came together really well!


over 2 years ago QueenSashy

QueenSashy is a trusted home cook.

I love this, slow roasting makes my heart sing.


over 2 years ago inpatskitchen

Thanks so much! Slow roasting is the best!!


over 2 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

This chicken makes my heart feel happy. A juicy tender roasted chicken is one of the world's great foods. I love the lemon and the tea.


over 2 years ago inpatskitchen

Thanks aargersi! Roast chicken is a weekly thing at our house. Now if only the editors can help me reverse the roasting and the brining. I have no idea how it happened...still waiting to hear from them.