SOUTHWESTERN ROASTED CHICKEN
This chicken is so easy and leftovers so good, why not roast two chickens while you’re at it? Serve with rice, refried beans, and a crisp green salad. Roasting the chicken with the orange and lime rinds inside adds flavor and moisture to the bird.
- 1 chicken, 3-1/2 to 4 pounds
- 2-1/2 cups cold water
- 1/3 cup kosher salt
- 1 12-ounce bottle or can of beer, preferably Mexican
- Juice of 1 orange (reserve rinds)
- Juice of 1 lime (reserve rinds)
- 1 small onion, thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons Mexican-style hot sauce, or more to taste
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 to 2 tablespoons Traeger Cajun Rub, or your favorite fajita or taco seasoning
Remove any giblets from the cavity of the chicken as well as any excess fat. Make the brine: In a large bowl, combine the water and salt and stir with a wooden spoon until the salt crystals dissolve. Add the beer (it may foam up some, but it will settle down). Add the orange juice, lime juice, onion, garlic, hot sauce, and oregano and stir to combine. Submerge the chicken in the brine or transfer to a large resealable plastic bag. (We like to double bag the chicken or set the bag in a separate bowl to contain leaks.) Refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours. Remove the chicken from the brine and discard the brine. Wash the chicken inside and out under cold running water. Dry thoroughly with paper towels. Tuck the orange and lime rinds in the main cavity. Oil the outside of the bird with the vegetable oil and dust with the Traeger Cajun Rub. Tuck the wingtips behind the back. Tie the legs together with butcher’s string. (This gives you a moister bird and a more attractive presentation.) When ready to cook, start the Traeger grill on Smoke with the lid open until the fire is established (4 to 5 minutes). Set the temperature to 350 degrees F and preheat, lid closed, for 10 to 15 minutes. Place the chicken on the grill grate, breast-side up, and close the lid. Roast the chicken until an instant-read meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a thigh registers a temperature of 165 degrees F, 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours. Remove the chicken to a platter and allow it to rest for 5 minutes. Untie the legs and carve.