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Crispiest Beer Brined Chicken Thighs with Brown Ale and Sweet Pea Puree

Crispiest Beer Brined Chicken Thighs with Brown Ale Bean and Sweet Pea Puree

Crispiest Beer Brined Chicken Thighs with Brown Ale and Sweet Pea Puree

Crispiest Beer Brined Chicken Thighs with Brown Ale Bean and Sweet Pea Puree -4

I’m going to give you one of my secrets. I have a lot. This one is about food, and it’s a new secret.

I’ve been told for years to sear my chicken in a hot pan. I did it, dutifully, obediently, and I was given beautiful chicken. But here’s the secret: there’s a better way. I obsessively read about food (not a secret). About the history behind it, about the experiments to improve recipes, about what the difference between baking soda and baking powder is, about marinate vs marinade vs brine, it’s all very boring. Unless you’re me, and in that case, it’s fascinating.

I’ll save you the thousands of words that brought me to the door of this secret, I’ll give you the Cliff’s notes. In a smoking hot pan you just have a few minutes to sear the skin of a chicken before it burns. This will render some of the fat and give you a fairly crispy skin. BUT if you start in a cold pan the fat has more time to render as the pan heats giving you an even crispier skin. I told you. Very boring unless you’re me.

Try it. Try out this little secret, cold pan, no oil, crispiest skin ever.

Kept the secret, share the chicken. Or share both, it’s up to you, but you should always share the beer.


Crispiest Beer Brined Chicken Thighs with Brown Ale and Sweet Pea Puree


For the Chicken:

  • 4 chicken thighs bone-in, skin on
  • salt and pepper
  • 12 ounces brown ale

For the Peas:

  • 12 wt oz about 2 ¼ cups green peas (thawed if frozen)
  • 1 cloves garlic smashed
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 3 tbs brown ale
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • ¼ cup green onions


  • Sprinkle the chicken thighs on all sides with salt and pepper. Place in a large bowl or baking dish, pour beer over chicken. Refrigerate for 30 minutes and up to 4 hours.
  • In a high powdered blender or food processer add the peas, garlic, sour cream, brown ale, salt, pepper, parmesan and olive oil, process until smooth.
  • Add the peas to a pot over medium low heat, simmer until warmed through, remove from heat.
  • Remove chicken from the brine, pat dry.
  • Place the chicken skin side down in a cold cast iron skillet, add the pan to medium high heat. As the pan heats, fat will render making the skin crispy. Once the skin is golden brown, turn the chicken thighs and cook until internal temperature reaches 165.
  • Plate the peas puree, add the chicken, sprinkle with green onions.

Crispiest Beer Brined Chicken Thighs with Brown Ale Bean and Sweet Pea Puree

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Audrey March 18, 2015 um 10:15 pm

You don’t have a problem with the skin sticking to the pan?


Jackie March 18, 2015 um 11:09 pm

No. The fat the renders from under the skin is more than enough. Once the skin has browned it forms a crust and releases from the pan on its own. I’ve never had a problem


Vicki Crosby October 26, 2015 um 7:08 am

I’m not complaining but…..where are the beans? (I haaaaate beans so I almost bypassed this recipe completely)


Jackie October 26, 2015 um 8:13 am

Sorry, no beans. I made it once with a mixture of white beans/peas, but then I decide to just make it all peas the next few times I made it and liked it much better, that word must have just stuck around in the title somehow.


Liz @ Floating Kitchen March 19, 2015 um 5:27 am

OK you are blowing my mind here! Cold pan! What? I’m so intrigued and can’t wait to try it out. Because floppy chicken skin is just, well, gross. This looks amazing. Love the puree as well. Yeah for Spring!


Leo Sigh March 30, 2015 um 9:10 pm

This looks amazing. Just because I love anything with mushy peas. Would definitely eat this 🙂


Caleb May 21, 2015 um 11:47 am

The cold pan, no oil also works well with duck. It give it time to gently render the fat, before the meat is cooked through. Great for duck breasts.


Jackie May 21, 2015 um 3:39 pm

That’s how I make Duck too! The skin turns out incredibly well.


Jerry May 31, 2015 um 4:46 pm

Ok let me get this right. You only use beer and sprinkle with salt and pepper to brine the chicken? You don’t used kosher salt, brown sugar, garlic, herbs, etc? The beer breaks down the connective tissue and seeps deep into the chicken? I’ll try anything once. Usually if beer is involved it would be part of a brine and I usually add it (if I’m using beer) once the brine starts to simmer. Once the beer is added I immediately remove it from the heat to cool. I learned to use a brine many many moons ago and the purpose of it is to tenderizer and add moisture along with flavor. I never heard of beer tenderizing or adding moisture because the alcohol evaporates once heated. Please correct me if I am wrong.


Jackie May 31, 2015 um 6:19 pm

I use this brine recipe for whole chickens and turkeys (scaled down for a smaller bird), but I use that with the brine and dry method, that takes three days.
If I just have 30 minutes, salt and beer work well and quickly. When I make a brine, a traditional one with salt and spices, I dissolve the salt in warm water and then cool the brine with cold beer and ice. That way it cools down quickly.
But for a quick brine, I just use salt on the chicken and beer. it works really well and really quickly.


Jerry May 31, 2015 um 9:01 pm

Well I’ll have to give your method a try. I usually plan a day or two ahead when I plan on brining but I’ll give your brine a try. Any particular beer work better than others?


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