Lemon Tarragon-Brined Whole Chicken

Lemon Tarragon-Brined Whole Chicken Recipe
Karry Hosford
This chicken is best when cooked indirectly on a grill, but you can also roast it in an oven. Fresh tarragon has a brighter flavor than dried, but you can use a third the amount of dried if fresh is unavailable. Toss any leftover chicken with tarragon-flavored mayonnaise for a salad.


5 servings (serving size: about 4 ounces)

Recipe from

Cooking Light

Nutritional Information

Calories 246
Caloriesfromfat 31 %
Fat 8.4 g
Satfat 2.3 g
Monofat 3.1 g
Polyfat 1.9 g
Protein 37 g
Carbohydrate 3.3 g
Fiber 0.1 g
Cholesterol 109 mg
Iron 1.8 mg
Sodium 1505 mg
Calcium 29 mg


7 cups water, divided
2 tablespoons grated lemon rind
8 tarragon sprigs
1 cup kosher salt (such as Diamond Crystal)
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups ice cubes
1 (4 1/2-pound) roasting chicken
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon, divided
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, divided
Cooking spray
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, divided


Combine 1 cup water, rind, and tarragon sprigs in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil; remove from heat. Place in a large bowl; cool to room temperature. Add remaining 6 cups water, salt, and sugar, stirring until salt and sugar dissolve. Place salt mixture in a 2-gallon zip-top plastic bag. Add the ice and chicken; seal. Refrigerate 3 hours, turning bag occasionally. Remove chicken from bag; discard brine. Pat chicken dry with paper towels.

Prepare grill for indirect grilling, heating one side to medium and leaving one side with no heat.

Sprinkle cavity of chicken with 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped tarragon and 1 teaspoon pepper. Lightly coat outside of chicken with cooking spray. Rub the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped tarragon and 1 teaspoon pepper evenly over outside of chicken. Place chicken on grill rack coated with cooking spray over unheated side. Close lid; grill 15 minutes. Brush chicken with 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Close lid; grill an additional 30 minutes. Brush with remaining lemon juice. Close lid; grill 15 minutes or until thermometer inserted into meaty part of thigh registers 180°.

Place chicken on a platter; cover with foil. Let stand for 15 minutes. Discard the skin.

Bruce Aidells,

Cooking Light

June 2004
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