Siba's tip...

Traditionally this recipe is not brined but doing so elevates it and makes it juicy and succulent. It’s also amazing when braaied or barbequed on coals. If cooked this way it can be finished off in the oven.

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Spatchcocked Bongo Chicken

Prep time

10 min

Cook time

45−60 min




  • 1 x 3,5 kg whole chicken

Brine solution

  • 1,5 L cold water
  • 75 g (just under ¼ cup) sea salt 
  • 55 g castor sugar
  • 2 star anise
  • 50 g (¼ cup) peppercorns
  • 30 ml Worcestershire sauce 
  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme leaves

Bongo paste

  • 4 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 15 ml fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 ml dried chilli flakes
  • 5 ml allspice, ground
  • 5 ml ground cinnamon
  • 15 ml muscovado sugar
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 60 ml olive oil
  • Flaked sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. To make the chicken: Place the chicken on a working surface and, using a sharp kitchen scissors, remove the spine. Place the chicken in a 4 L dish.
  2. To make the brine solution: Mix all the brine ingredients together and stir until well combined. Now puncture the chicken with toothpicks all over. Leave in the brine solution for at least 4 hours, or up to 48 hours.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200° C and lightly grease a roasting pan with cooking spray. Remove the chicken from the brine and pat dry. Place in a roasting pan.
  4. To make the bongo paste: Mix together the bongo paste ingredients and give the chicken a good rub with it all over.
  5. Roast covered with foil for 20 minutes. Remove the foil, reduce the heat to 180° C and roast for another 30 minutes uncovered until the chicken is cooked through. Serve immediately.

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