Brined meats lose less liquid during cooking. If you haven't tried "brining" before this is a good recipe to start with! Look for star anise in Asian food markets...even your own grocery store! This recipe is from Better Homes and Gardens "Grilling" magazine 2004.
For the brine, in a large bowl, combine the water, salt, vinegar, soy sauce, star anise, cinnamon, sugar, and fennel seeds. Stir until the salt is dissolved.
Rinse chicken on the inside and out. Remove any fat from the cavity. Carefully add chicken to the brine. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 6-8 hours, turning the chicken occasionally.
Remove the chicken from the brine; discard the brine. Rinse the chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Twist the wing tips under the back. Skewer the neck skin to the back and use kitchen string to tie legs to the tail. Prepare the grill for indirect grilling on medium heat. Place the chiken breast-side up on the grill rack. Cover and grill for 30-50 minutes...up to 1 hour or till drumsticks move easily in their sockets. (180 degrees in inside thigh muscle) Transfer chicken to platter and let stand, covered with foil for about 10 minutes before carving. About 4 servings.
8 cups water
1/3 cup coarse kosher salt
1/4 cup rice vinegar or white vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
8 star anise, broken
2 3-inch pieces stick cinnamon, broken
1 T. sugar
2 tsp. fennel seeds, crushed
1 3-3 1/2 pound whole broiler-fryer chicken