This is almost not even a recipe, but it has come to my attention that quite a few people have issues roasting a chicken. I think the main issue is really that they do to much to it. This is just your basic salt and pepper chicken, but you can add herbs and spices to rub on the skin, put under the skin, stuff in the middle, etc., but that is not what generally causes problems. The problems come from over basting. If you want you can oil or butter the skin when you start out, but I don’t, and you really don’t need to keep brushing or basting. You get the best deliciously crispy skin if you just leave it alone and let it cook.
All you are really going to do here is wash the chicken, pat it dry, salt and pepper it, and then bake it. If you want to add lemons or herbs to the cavity and tie its legs together, feel free, but it is not necessary. Sometimes I put fresh rosemary springs or a combination of celery leaves and sage under the skin, but again, it really isn’t necessary. I just sprinkled the chicken with salt and fresh ground pepper and rubbed it around to make sure it was every where, but you could add other herbs or spices. This really is super simple and makes a wonderful dinner. However, it does take a while to cook (about 20 minutes per pound), so I usually make it on the weekends. The good news it that it doesn’t really need any help during that time.
This method works for any size of chicken from a small one up to a hen. You can get them with pop up thermometers or check the temperature with your own. If you don’t have a thermometer check the cavity and a cut at the thigh to make sure the juices are running clear. Just anecdotally, when it is done, when you pierce the skin a the thigh, the leg will usually be very loose if you pull it up almost falling apart. If you are using a large bird, such as a hen, you may need to cover it with foil towards the end of the baking time if the skin is getting too brown.
How to Roast a Chicken
- 1 chicken (Any size, but this one was about 6 pounds.)
- butter or oil, optional (I didn’t use any added fat.)
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Remove neck and giblets from the cavity of the chicken. Discard or save for another use.
- Rinse both inside and outside of chicken with cold water.
- Place on a broiler or roasting pan. You can actually even roast it on just about any oven save pan, but it doesn’t cook as evenly if it isn’t elevated.
- Pat the outside dry with a paper towel.
- Sprinkle inside and outside (top and bottom) with salt and pepper.
- Use your hands to rub the salt and pepper into the areas that it doesn’t get to just by sprinkling.
- Place breast side up and bake until golden brown and internal temperature at the thigh is at least 165 degrees or all juices run clear (about 20 minutes per pound). If the skin begins to get too brown near the end of cooking time, shield with a piece of foil until done.