This is your absolute ultimate guide for making delicious roasted chicken. It includes everything you need to know from salting & refrigerating the bird, to trussing, roasting & carving. Make a whole roasted chicken with pure confidence!LISTEN TO THE AUDIO RECIPE, INCLUDING ALL TIPS AND TRICKS, WITH THE PLAYER BELOW.
Remove the chicken from the packaging. If it came pre-trussed you can cut the string from the bird.Place on a rimmed baking sheet fitted with a cooling rack, so the bird can have air circulating all the way around.
4 lb. whole, fresh chicken
Pat the bird dry with paper towels. Then check to see if the gizzards and neck are in the cavity. If they are pull them out (you can make gravy or stock with these parts!!)
Now generously salt the bird on all sides (for my 4 lb. chicken I use about 1 tablespoon of kosher salt.). Don't forget to salt the inside of the cavity too!
Pop in the fridge for 24 hours, up to 48 hours. Make sure you do not cover the bird in the fridge, you want the skin to start to dry and the salt to infuse the meat with flavor.
Remove the bird from the fridge.
Stuff the cavity of the bird with half a lemon (I like to squeeze some of the juice into the cavity too), herbs that you love (rosemary, thyme, parsley for example), and a head of garlic that has been cut in half (no need to remove the papery outside).
1 small head of garlic, 1 lemon, fresh rosemary, thyme, or parsley
Set the bird breast side up on a clean surface. Cut a very long piece of kitchen string (butchers twine). Snuggle the middle point of the twine under the tail end. Bring each end of the twine up and around the outside of the legs, then cross the twine and bring it under and around the outside of the legs. Pull tight brining the legs together and in close to the bird. (if the string won't stay under the tail end just wrap it around the legs and pull them together)Now bring it up around to the top of the chicken, around the outside of the wings, pulling them into the bird, and in front of the breasts and then tie the string.
Brush the skin generously with olive oil. Season with a little kosher salt and black pepper.
3 tablespoon olive oil
Preparing and Roasting
Preheat the oven to 475°. While the oven preheats prepare the veggies and let the chicken rest at room temp. for 30 minutes, up to an hour.(This is called tempering and will help the chicken cook more evenly.)
large carrots, red potatoes, onion, fennel, turnips, brussels sprouts
Prepare all the veggies by chopping them into similar sizes. Place in the bottom of a roasting pan. Toss with 3 tablespoon olive oil, salt and pepper.
kosher salt and black pepper
Move the veggies around the pan to make a space for the chicken. Nestle it into the pan, breast side up.
Roast, uncovered, at 475° for 25 minutes.
Turn the heat down to 400° and roast for another 45 minutes until the thickest part of the breast and thigh reaches 160°-165°. If the skin is getting too dark you can always tent loosely with foil.Pro Tip: highly recommend using a Thermoworks Instant Read Thermometer.
If your chicken hasn't reached 160-165°, continue to roast in 5 minute incremements until it is cooked through.
Once it is roasted completely let it rest, uncovered, for 20 minutes before carving. No need to tent with foil, you are not trying to carryover cook, you just want the juices to redistribute in the bird and for it to slightly cool before handling & carving.
CARVING TIPS BEFORE STARTING: Take a good look at the bird before starting to carve and notice where the 8 pieces are- breasts (top), thighs (bottom/back side), legs (back), wings (front). Use a medium sized VERY sharp knife. This will help pierce the skin without destroying the nice crispy skin on each piece. If the skin is starting to tear or fall off a piece of chicken stop cutting, reposition the skin, reassess and start again. Take your time! Even if things go array during carving... the chicken will still be DELICIOUS. Promise!
Remove the chicken to a cutting board or rimmed sheet pan to catch juices.
Remove the truss by cutting it at the legs and unraveling it from the chicken.
LEG THIGH:Remove the leg and thigh by cutting between the breast and the leg/thigh combo. Repeat on both sides. Optionally- separate the leg and thigh.
BREAST:The breast bone runs right in-between the two breasts and is about ½-1 inch wide. Cut on either side of the breast bone and down around the breasts. Each breast should pull away from the carcass easily.
OYSTERS:Turn the remaining carcass over. In the middle of the backbone on either side, near where the thighs were, there will be two little oval pockets of dark meat. They are not very big so these are well known "treats" for the chef! Enjoy!
Pro Tip: Save the remaining carcass and all your veggies scraps (even the neck and gizzards if you have them) in the freezer for up to 3 months and make Instant Pot Chicken Stock!!!
If the veggies have cooled too much you can warm them oven low/medium heat on the stove top.
Toss them with the juices in the bottom of the pan.
You can also squeeze a little lemon juice over the veggies for enhanced flavor.
Plate the veggies on a big serving platter. Top with the 8 pieces of chicken - 2 breasts, 2 thighs, 2 wings, 2 legs.
Chicken- if you are in the Midwest look for Smart Chicken. It is air chilled and always delicious!Leftover Chicken - pop over to this post on Recipes for Leftover Chicken to make some delicious dinners this week!