Life’s a Feast: BBQ brined chicken


Here’s a tip: soaking your chicken (and your Christmas turkey for that matter) in brine before you cook it will ensure a juicy, tender and tasty result every time. Essentially, brine is just a salt-water mixture. I learnt this little trick from a cooking demonstration hosted by Annabel Langbein a while back - and let’s face it, if Annabel does it, it’s got to be good! Summer is upon us, and from what I hear from Timbo Deaker - a wine, grape and weather guru _ we are in for one heck of a hot dry spell ahead, so it’s time to start cracking out some delicious BBQ recipes. Enjoy!


6 whole legs of free range chicken, slashed diagonally three times across the leg and thigh
1/2 cup salt
2 garlic cloves crushed
3-4 sprigs thyme
3 litres water, plus 1 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons brown sugar 

3 teaspoons fennel seeds (use ground if no seeds)
2 teaspoons cumin seeds (use ground if no seeds)
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika (use smoked for unique flavour)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
2-3 tablespoons olive oil to make into paste 

800g asparagus
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 whole chilli thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic thinly sliced
Salt and pepper to taste


1. Combine the brine ingredients of salt, garlic, thyme and brown sugar in a large pot and pour over 1 cup of boiling water to dissolve the salt and sugar. Add the rest of the cold water and let it cool to room temperature. Add in your slashed chicken legs and pop in fridge with a lid for minimum two hours (but up to 10).

2. Toast the fennel and cumin seeds until they start smelling, then pour into the pestle and mortar with all the other rub ingredients except the oil. Grind into a rough powder then mix in 2-3 tablespoons oil to make a paste. Set aside.

3. When you are nearing time to BBQ, turn both grill side and hot plate side to a medium heat. Preheat oven to 220 degrees.

4. Diagonally cut off the chewy bottom part of the asparagus and wash them.

5. Place asparagus, slice chilli and 3 cloves of sliced garlic into a roasting dish, drizzle with the 2 tablespoons of olive oil and set aside till ready to cook them.

6. Remove chicken from brine and dry with paper towels, discard rest of brine. Evenly rub the paste over the chicken.

7. Put your chicken on the grill side of the BBQ, skin side down for about 10 mins until it gets a good colour. I then turn it over but pop onto the flat plate as I find the fat will drip off the bottom of the chicken, create fire everywhere on the grill and you will end up with a chargrilled mess! Close the lid, checking every so often it is not burning. Cook for about 20-25 more minutes.

8. Meanwhile put your asparagus in your preheated oven and cook for 10-15 mins until ready.

9. Take your chicken off the plate and let it rest for 5-10 mins, plate up your asparagus and serve immediately with some delicious fresh bread (which I either get from Olivia at Bonjour or the new Four Square) and salad.