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My husband and I love to barbecue, and we love chicken.  We have a PALEO & WHOLE30 4 step secret recipe that’s magical in making the chicken super moist and delicious. 

1st secret: Buy fresh chicken:

Because salmonella is always a risk, it’s important to know how to pick a fresh chicken.  Choose free-range and organic if possible.  The flesh should be light pink.  A greyish colour indicates that the bird has been sitting around for a while.  The flesh should be springy, as well.  Stiff skin is another indication that the bird is not fresh.  Smell the flesh.  Fresh chicken has no odour at all.   Also, make sure that there is no blood around or on the bird.  If you see blood this indicates that it was once frozen.  I never wait until the summer to barbecue.  I enjoy cooking PALEO & WHOLE 30 proteins on the grill throughout the year, weather permitting.  We are fans of barbecuing the whole chicken, especially when it’s from a local producer selling free-range and organic birds.  

2nd Secret: Brining:

Brining takes chicken to the next level of culinary pleasure.  When brining a whole chicken, the longer the better.   Brine anywhere from an hour to 12 hours in the refrigerator. The process of soaking the flesh in salted water causes the chicken to absorb some of the water through osmosis.  This makes the resulting chicken extremely tender and juicy.  


½ cup kosher salt

1/4 cup no sugar added apricot jam 

Water as necessary (depending on the size of your pot)

*While salt actually tenderizes the flesh, the classic brown sugar, used in the brine is for flavouring.  It really doesn’t add anything to the brining process.  That’s the salt’s job.  But the jam adds that hint of sweetness for flavour.

To make the brine, boil 2 cups of water.  Add salt and jam.  Stir until salt and jam have melted.  Remove from heat and let cool.  Place whole washed chicken in a deep pot.  Add brine water.  Fill the rest of the pot with cool water to completely cover the chicken.  Put the lid on the pot and set in the refrigerator until needed. 


3rd: Dry Seasoning:

When it comes to seasoning, I believe less is more.  Too many competing flavours will make the taste muddy.  Keep it simple.  We use only 5 seasonings that really heighten the flavours and complement chicken.

4th Secret: The Art Of Seasoning The Chicken:

The secret is to slip your hand between the skin and the flesh and break the skin membranes around the breasts and legs.  This allows you to place half the seasoning on the flesh under the skin, the other half on the skin.


Poultry provides about 27 grams of protein for 100 grams of meat. A 6-ounce portion offers roughly 54 grams of protein.  It’s low in saturated fat, only 3.8 grams per 100-gram portion. 


The predominant taste sensations of the chicken are saltiness and spiciness from the Cuban seasoning.


The sweetness in the brine gets lost by the time the chicken is cooked.  The primary flavour comes from the seasoning.  With the predominant taste sensations of saltiness in this recipe, due to the Cuban seasoning, choose a light, fruity white wine with zinging acidity to offset the saltiness.   Examples include Sauvignon Blanc and Vino Verde.  You might also like to sip red.  In this case, choose Pinot Noir.

  • Author: FRESHDOH
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 90
  • Total Time: 110 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: PALEO & WHOLE30
  • Method: BBQ
  • Cuisine: DINNER
  • Diet: Gluten Free


1 (4 to 5 lb) chicken

1 sweet onion, sliced (optional)

 ¼ cup olive oil

4 cloves minced fresh garlic

2 to 3 tablespoons Cuban Seasoning*

*Seasoning recipe below


In a small bowl combine olive oil, Cuban seasoning, and garlic. Rub season mixture both inside and outside of the skin.  When ready to barbecue, remove chicken from the brine.  Wash off the brine from the chicken.  Set onion slices (or not) in a greased iron skillet or barbecue-proof roasting pan.  Set chicken on onion slices. Pat chicken dry with a paper towel.  Season chicken inside and outside the skin.

Preheat barbecue to 350 F.  Set the pan on the barbecue grill.  Close the lid and let the chicken cook for 60 minutes without removing the lid. After 60 minutes, remove the lid every 10 to 15 minutes to check for doneness using a meat thermometer.  The thermometer should read 160 F in thighs.  When chicken is done, juices will run clear.   (An average four-pound chicken will take about 90 minutes to grill-roast.)

Cuban Dry Seasoning

1/2 cup kosher salt

3 teaspoons hot-red-chili-flakes

2 teaspoon smoked paprika

Mix salt with chili flakes and smoked paprika in a small jar. Cover with lid and shake until combined. Keeps well in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 month.


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