Pollo al Sale | Salt-Baked Chicken Recipe
Updated: Nov 13, 2022
Ok, so we'll be the first to admit that this recipe isn't the most convenient way to cook chicken. For starters, it's definitely not a good method if you're looking for crispy, browned skin. Plus, depending on the price of salt where you live, it can be a bit expensive to try.
However, we still encourage the adventurous home chef to give this unique cooking technique a try because (beyond being highly interesting) it results in perfect, juicy chicken meat with little fuss and absolutely zero added fat. It really works!
Watch the Pasta Grammar video where we make this recipe here:
For this recipe, you will need:
4 egg whites
6 lbs. (2.75 kg) coarse salt (equivalent to 2 boxes of Morton's Coarse Kosher Salt)
White wine to taste (see below)
1 whole young chicken
Fresh rosemary, sage and thyme
Fresh black pepper
Preheat an oven to 395 degrees F (200 C).
Using a hand mixer in a large mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add 4 lbs (1 1/2 boxes) of the salt into the egg whites. Stir together with a spatula.
Pour the remaining 2 lbs of salt into the bottom of a deep baking tray, big enough to hold the chicken. Mix white wine into the salt, just enough to make the salt damp but not soaked. Flatten the salt out in the tray and sprinkle it with black pepper.
Stuff the chicken with lemon, onion and herbs, then tie up the legs with butcher twine. Place the chicken in the baking tray, and tightly pack the salt/egg mixture around it. The chicken should be completely encased in salt.
Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 15 minutes. Carefully crack open and remove the salt. We found that a small mallet and sturdy butterknife work well when used with care.
Just a quick note: the chicken skin is totally edible, but many choose to skip it as it does absorb quite a bit of salt (unlike the meat itself). Up to you!