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The best way to season chicken?

I have exhausted every way possible of trying to seasons a whole chicken only to end up with flavorless breasts!

From brining, to vac tumbling, to injecting-- I am still getting an unsatisfactory product.

I honestly believe that the only way to get the breast seasoned all the way through is to simply cut up the whole chicken into pieces.

My question is simply.. what to do from there? Brine? Marinade? Dry Rub? Paste? Vac Tumbler? How do you guys season your chicken to perfection?

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    1. re: magiesmom

      Yes, buying quality chicken helps. Dry brining also helps a lot - salt the chicken well (inside and out), wrap it tightly and let it sit in the fridge for a couple of days.

      1. re: biondanonima

        This. Except I would add: if you want super crispy skin unwrap it 24 hours before roasting.

      2. re: magiesmom

        Agreed, buy a better chicken, organic, pastured, not just regular ol' chicken.

        1. re: magiesmom

          Defianetly buy a good bird. I don't have much use for Supermarket birds anymore.

        2. thoroughly coat the outside and under the skin with fresh herb butter and spices, stick some aromatics in the cavity and under the bird when it cooks

          1. I've found that my chicken breasts always come out the most moist when i pat them dry, coat them in a bit of olive oil, and then rub on the spices!

            1. It does help to season under the skin as well as on the skin. Also, if you have time to allow the flavor to sit on the bird before cooking also helps.

              1. Isn't this what sauce is for?

                1. The roast chicken from Zuni gets a lotta love here. I don't have the cookbook so when I make it, I use this recipe:


                  1 Reply
                  1. re: tcamp

                    Zuni chicken gets a lotta love, indeed. Deservedly.

                    Others have mentioned the value of seasoning days before roasting, and working the seasoning under the skin. That is certainly a difference maker. And by seasoning, we mean salt. So open up the chicken immediately when you get it home. Pat it dry carefully. And apply a dry rub dominated by salt immediately. Cover it up and wait.

                    The other two key bits are: 1) small bird 2) hot oven. I'm still working out some of the finer points, like finding a pan that will pre-heat, sizzle and not have the chicken stick to it so I can rotate it mid-roast - but one that does not boil off all the pot liquor that is needed for the bread dressing. But the basics of roasting a small bird in a hot oven are the key differences of the Zuni recipe.

                    Other mention rubbing oil on the bird, but with the Zuni recipe that's not recommended. Coating with oil makes more sense on long roasting, larger birds, typically with lower oven temperatures. The high temperatures and abundant salt yield nicely crisped skin that retains the bird's moisture. Oil on the skin would work against that.

                  2. this won't be helpful here.
                    sometimes our taste doesn't want anything too much.
                    salt and pepper are a standard and if I add anything it might just be onion and garlic powder. not saying it's a new thought to anyone...

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: iL Divo

                      Agree - chicken should taste like chicken - better quality chicken will taste better. Breasts are fairly bland by nature - which is why I always prefer the dark meat that's where all the good chicken flavor is.

                      S&P some paprika for color that's all I do

                      additional flavor can come from pan-sauce or gravy -to get all that chickeny goodness that is at the bottom of the pan.

                      1. re: JTPhilly

                        so agree Philly...
                        we only use bl/sl chicken for certain recipes that call for that instead of bone in skin on. usually though I buy whole cluckers or cut up bone in chicken. if I roast/bake it, it needs little else.

                      2. re: iL Divo

                        Agreed, I season with salt and pepper. Sometimes I finish with thyme, but that's it. I like the taste of chicken.

                      3. Not my particular favorite for taste but if you read the comments you can substitute the beer for other liquids, I've had this with the beer though several times and it is always a very moist bird.


                        1. Buy a better quality chicken and use the Zuni Chicken method to cook it.

                          1. I find both chicken and pork to be quite bland. I usually will braise to get some flavor in the meat.

                            1. We have been using herbs de provence too heavily dry rub our roasters inside and out. We bought a large amount at a bulk dealer....We used it last night on a beef filet also, seared and finished in the oven...