Salt-and-Vinegar–Brined Whole Chicken with Rosemary

Sometimes you just need an easy, basic, flavorful chicken recipe for a meal or to use in other recipes. This simple salt-and-vinegar brine is easy to whip up (no heating required!) and thoroughly seasons the chicken, resulting in tender, juicy meat you can shred and freeze, or dive in and eat right away.

Prep time 15 minutes, plus brining time
Serves 6

2 cups (475 ml) white vinegar
1/4 cup (75 g) kosher salt
3 to 4 pounds (1.4 to 1.8 kg) whole chicken
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
Freshly ground black pepper

1 Combine the vinegar, salt, and 4 cups (946 ml) water in a bowl large enough to hold the chicken. Stir until the salt dissolves.
2 Remove the neck and any organs from the cavity of the chicken. Submerge the chicken in the brine, adding up to 4 more cups (946 ml) of water. Cover and chill for 12 to 18 hours.
3 When you’re ready to cook the chicken, make 4 balls out of aluminum foil, about 2 to 3 inches each. Arrange them in the bottom of a 6-quart (5.7 liter) slow cooker, forming a square.
4 Loosen the skin from the flesh by gently working your fingers underneath the skin. Insert the rosemary sprigs under the skin—one on each breast. Sprinkle the chicken generously with freshly ground black pepper.
5 Place the chicken, breast-side down, in the prepared slow cooker.
6 Cover and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours. Internal temperature should be about 160°F (71°C).