Hello and welcome to a new rendition of “How to Tuesday”! Today we’re talking about how to roast the perfect chicken! Everything from how to prep the chicken to how long to cook a chicken — I’ve got you covered!
Often, roasting chickens can be intimidating because how do you season it? How do you know it’s done? What temperature do you cook it at and for how long?? SO many questions! but don’t worry, I’ve got it all covered below, so lets get started!
So first, when choosing your chicken, you want to get a smaller baking or roasting chicken– no bigger than 8 pounds — 6 pounds is ideal. This is so that the chicken will cook evenly in the oven and isn’t so large that it becomes hard to handle. Once you’ve selected your chicken, and are ready to cook it at home, remove it from the packaging and remove the giblet bag (image below) and discard the packaging and giblets. I suppose you could keep the giblets (usually the neck, heart, liver, kidneys, etc) for stock or gravy if you so desire, but that’s another post for another time….Anyway! Once the chicken is out of the bag (so to speak) rinse the whole thing off in the sink with cold water, including the cavity. Once you’ve washed your chicken, place it on a cutting board and pat dry with paper towels (image below).
Next! It’s time to gather everything you will need for the roasting portion of these events. Begin by washing your hands and preheating your oven to 425 degrees F. Gather the needed ingredients (room temperature butter, salt, pepper, a sliced lemon or lime and fresh herbs) and start to assemble your chicken by separating the skin of the chicken from the breast meat (image below).
Then, take the room temperature butter and slather it all over the chicken, under the skin and on top. Don’t forget the back!
After giving your chicken a good massage, season it well with salt and pepper, including the cavity space…
Then take your lemon or lime, and fresh herbs and place them under the breast skin, right up next to the meat. Any leftovers that wont fit, goes inside the cavity of the chicken.
Now, take some butcher twine, or string (you can find this online or in most grocery stores) and tie up the chickens legs!
I typically make my chicken cross it’s legs, as that ensures that it will stay together while cooking and keep whatever I’ve put inside the chicken, inside.
I tie up the legs using a surgeons knot, or essentially just adding and extra twist to a regular knot. You can find out how to tie a surgeons knot here.
Once the chicken is “trussed” or tied up, tuck his little wings under the back body to help prevent them from burning in the oven. If you forget this step, its ok, the chicken will be fine, the wings may just be a little crispy.
Now, you can roast your chicken on a rack over a sheet pan, in a roasting pan, or on a bed of root vegetables (like how I’ve done it below). I used carrots and onions, but you can use whatever root vegetables you have. They will cook along with the chicken in the chicken fat that is rendered and will come out tasting amazing! If you’ve never done this, you definitely need to give it a try!
Now your ready to roast! Pop your chicken into the oven and set your timer for 45 minutes. The cooking time of your chicken will vary depending on how large your chicken is, so you will want to check your chicken at about the 30 minute point for a smaller chicken and at the 45 minute point for a larger chicken. I ended up cooking mine for about 60 minutes once it was all said and done, so just trust your thermometer and measure the chickens temp from the thickest point of the breast and thigh, avoiding the bones.
When your chicken reaches about 160 Degrees F, remove it from the oven and move the chicken to a cutting board. Cover the chicken with aluminum foil so that the carry over heat will cook the chicken the rest of the way to 165 degreed F. It is VERY important to let your chicken rest and continue to cook, so that you get a juicy chicken verses and overcooked and dry one. Let the chicken rest for at least 15 minutes.
In the meantime, season the root vegetables with salt and pepper, toss to coat and return to the oven to continue to cook and crisp up for 15-20 minutes. If you so desire, you can serve your chicken and veggies with rice, or whatever starch you like. I chose wild rice because it just looks so pretty!
And that’s it! Carve your chicken up (let me now in the comments down below if you want more details on how to carve a chicken!) and serve with the roasted vegetables, wild rice and a nice dry wine! I hope you enjoyed this how to Tuesday….and I’ll see ya next time!
Perfect Roasted Chicken
- 1 4-6 Pound Baking Chicken
- 1/4 Cup Butter, unsalted & room temp
- 2 tbsp Kosher Salt
- 1 tbsp Black Pepper, ground
- 1 Lemon or Lime, Sliced
- 1-2 Fresh Thyme Sprigs
- 1 Fresh Rosemary Sprig
- 1 Fresh Tarragon Sprig
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Remove chicken from packaging and remove the small bag containing the giblets (neck, heart, liver, etc) from the inside of the chicken, discard. Wash thoroughly with cold water.
- Place chicken on cutting board and pat dry with paper towel.
- Using your finger tips, separate the skin from the meat of the chicken breast. Next, rub chicken with unsalted butter, especially under the skin, completely coating the chicken.
- Liberally salt and pepper the chicken, including the body cavity.
- Place slice of lemon or lime (any kind of citrus you like), between the breast meat and the skin, any left over place in the cavity of the bird.
- Do the same as above with the herbs, making sure some of the herbs touch the meat of the chicken.
- Next, using butchers twine, tie the chickens legs together to keep the citrus in the cavity. Make sure you tie the legs securely together, they can cross over each other as necessary.
- Now, tuck the wings of the chicken up and under the back body of the chicken. This will prevent them from burning in the oven.
- Place the trussed chicken on a bed of root vegetables (I used onions and carrots, but you can use whatever you like) and place in a preheated oven for 45-60 minutes (depending on the size of the bird).
- Check the temperature of the breasts and thighs (avoiding the bone) with a thermometer at the 45 minutes mark, and cook until the temperature reached 160 degrees F.
- Remove chicken from oven and move the chicken to a cutting board. Tent with aluminum foil to allow the chicken to continue to cook to 165 Degrees F.
- Return root vegetables to the oven and cook for another 15-20 minutes.
- Serve chicken with vegetables and wild rice. Enjoy!
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