Citrus-Brined Roast Capon

Yield serves 8
RECIPE Ingredients
  • 8 cups cold water
  • ¾ cup kosher salt
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 6 cloves garlic, smashed, divided use
  • 1 onion, cut into wedges, divided use
  • 1 navel orange, sliced
  • 3 lemons, quartered, divided use
  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme, divided use
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 cups ice
  • 1 Capon, Whole (about 8 lbs), thawed in the refrigerator, giblets removed
  • 3 tablespoons Duck Fat, softened
  • Citrus and herbs, for garnish, optional
Recipe notes
Roasted capon makes a stunning centerpiece whether for Sunday dinner or your holiday table. In this fool-proof recipe, a simple citrus and garlic brine adds bright flavor and guarantees juicy results.
RECIPE Preparation
  1. In a stockpot combine water, salt, sugar, ½ of the garlic, ½ of the onion, orange, ½ of the lemons, 4 sprigs of the thyme, and bay leaves. Heat over high flame, stirring, until salt and sugar are fully dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in the ice. Once the mixture is completely cooled to room temperature, add the capon to the brine, cover and refrigerate for 12-24 hours.
  2. Drain and discard brine. Rinse the capon under cold water and pat dry. Place the remaining garlic, onion, lemon, and thyme inside the cavity then truss the legs with butcher’s string and tuck the wings under. Place the capon on a rack set in a shallow roasting pan and pat outside dry again, if needed. Brush the bird all over with duck fat.
  3. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  4. Roast until capon is golden brown and thigh juices run clear, about 1½ hours. Finished temp: an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast and thigh should register 165 degrees F. (Account for about 10 degrees of carry-over cooking after you remove the bird from the oven.)
  5. Rest the capon, tented with foil, for 20 minutes before removing the string and aromatics, and carving.

Recipe tips: Pan-drippings from brined birds are often too salty for making gravy, however, they're so moist and juicy they usually do not need sauce. If you must have gravy, you can pan-sear a few chicken wings or backs for a quick pan gravy.