To achieve a roast chicken at home with skin as crispy and meat as flavourful as the ones from the rotisseries on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, I employ two techniques: I marinate the chicken in a salt-water brine; and I cook it slowly on a rack.
Combine all of the brining ingredients together, except for the quartered lemons, in a large pot and stir over high heat until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Allow to cool at room temperature. As it takes a while for the brine to cool down, do this the day before or replace 500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) water with ice, which you can add once everything is dissolved, to quickly lower the temperature. In a large pot or bucket, submerge the chicken in the cooled brine with the quartered lemons. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours per kilogram (2 lb 4 oz), but not for more than 12 hours. Rinse, pat dry with paper towels and let it rest again in the refrigerator on a wire rack, uncovered, for 2–12 hours — air-drying the chicken in this way will help make the chicken more crispy.
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