Thursday, February 13, 2014

Tea Smoked Roast Chicken

Tea Smoked Roast Chicken

Cross this one off the To Do List.

I found this recipe several years ago but never got around to preparing it. It appealed to me because of the unusual cooking technique. Then it occurred to me that I already had many of the ingredients used to prepare the dish leftover from my chicken wings post, so the timing was good.

The Challenge

Unusual cooking method: Smoking a chicken using tea leaves.

The Source

This is a Chef Andrea Reusing found on Food & Wine magazine's website but I adapted some of the ingredients.


2 quarts water
6 cloves garlic, smashed
9 dried red chiles, divided
10 star anise pods, divided
3 tablespoons honey
Two-inches fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
Zest of 1 small orange
1 1-inch piece of cinnamon stick
1 cup soy sauce
1 small yellow onion, quartered
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 whole chicken, approximately 5 to 6 pounds
1/2 cup long grain white rice
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons loose jasmin tea
Vegetable oil, as needed
1 teaspoon Szechuan peppercorns, crushed
Kosher salt
Fried rice, for serving


1. Brine the chicken. In a large stockpot, combine the water, garlic, 5 of the red chiles, 4 star anise pods, honey, ginger, orange zest, cinnamon, onion and 1 tablespoon sugar. Simmer the brine over medium heat for 10 minutes, then remove from heat and let it cool. Once the brine has reached room temperature, add the chicken to the stockpot. Rotate the chicken so that the brine has coated all of the skin, then rest it so it is breast side down.

Cover and refrigerate overnight.

2. Smoke the chicken. Preheat the oven to 375° Fahrenheit, then line a stovetop-safe roasting pan with a double layer of aluminum foil. Remove the chicken from the brine and discard the brine. Pat the chicken inside and out with paper towels, then truss the chicken. Break the remaining red chiles and star anise into pieces, then combine them with the rice, remaining sugar, and tea. Pour the tea mixture into the roasting pan so that it coats the bottom evenly.

Place a rack on top of the tea mixture, then the chicken in the rack, breast side up. Cover the roasting pan with aluminum foil, sealing all sides, plus any overlapping pieces of foil with tape. Place the roasting pan over high heat for 2 minutes, then reduce heat to medium-low for 5 minutes. Remove from heat entirely and let it stand for 3 minutes. Remove the aluminum foil cover and let it rest for an additional 10 minutes.

3. Roast the chicken. Remove the rack with the chicken from the roasting pan, then the aluminum foil from the bottom along with the tea mixture. Return the rack back to the roasting pan, then rub oil over the chicken. Season them with the Szechuan peppercorns and kosher salt. Roast the chicken in the upper third of the oven for 35 minutes, then increase the heat to 425° Fahrenheit and roast for an additional 35 minutes, or until an instant read thermometer reads 165° Fahrenheit. Remove from oven, but let the chicken rest for approximately 10 minutes. Carve and serve with fried rice.


The flavor of the tea was subtle, but still very good. I'd also recommend monitoring the chicken periodically while it roasts at 425° Fahrenheit. If it browns excessively, cover it with aluminum foil and continue roasting.


  1. Wow!

    This looks like it took some work! Great challenge! Talk about success...

  2. This looks so good DB. I've actually done this before. It's really good. I love the flavour it gives. It's a cool technique.


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