I was TER. RI. FIED. of roasting a chicken for a long, long, loooonng time. Touching meat was mildly uncomfortable for me. Touching a whole chicken and having to stick my hand up its butt to pull out innards was just, well, hard. I had branded myself as the ultimate eff-up home cook and roasting a chicken seemed right up there with the Harvard MBA I was never going to get. But now? I wish I would have mastered this skill sooner because it opened up a whole new world for me, cooking-wise.
But it really ain’t no thang and life experience is way more important than a fancy MBA. You totally got this roasting chicken thing! I am going to lay it all out for you: the easiest, simplest way to roast a chicken. And also, most chickens, now even the ones I pick up from the farm, the innards have been pulled out for me. (By the way, if you’re having problems finding good chicken, check out EatWild.com and search for your area.)
Almost every time I have taught myself how to do something new in the kitchen there was time spent outside the kitchen pumping myself up. Like a college football coach before a big game, I was giving a motivational speech to myself in the living room just to get the courage to step into the kitchen and try. Do whatever the hell you need to do to pump yourself up, no matter how silly, and give this a try.
First you need to wash your chicken. Rinse off any blood or stickiness and place in your roasting pan. Pat the bird dry with a towel or paper towel.
There are all kinds of people that say you have to put your bird in facing a certain way, tie the legs together and all kinds of other fancy shit I don’t do. I think back to all the times I wanted to try to roast a chicken but I was so worried about not doing it perfectly, that I just didn’t even try.
You can roast your bird with legs tied, ass up, head front, breast down, bird covered, bird uncovered, whatever.
IT DOESN’T MATTER. I know, because I have done it every way possible and it always comes out the same!
Once your bird is clean and dry, the absolute easiest and fool-proof flavors to use are lemon, garlic, salt, and pepper. Done and done, delicious.
I’ll cut up one whole bulb of garlic and one whole lemon and shove the pieces inside. Then I squeeze a lemon over the chicken. Then I sprinkle the bird with salt and pepper on top.
Sometimes I add uncooked bacon to the top. This increases the flavor, keeps moisture in, and, bonus! Keeps the skin from burning.
Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour and half. A little less if your bird is smaller, a little more if your bird is bigger. You will know when it is done, when the internal temp is above 160 degrees in several places. When you pierce the bird with the thermometer, the liquid should come out clear. If it still has blood in it, put it back in the oven for another 15 minutes or so. If you do not have a temperature gauge, get one now! They are cheap and will save you a lot of heartache.
You could chop up some vegetables and sprinkle them around the bird and roast everything together for an all in one dinner. Any leftover chicken can be made into chicken salad or chicken fajitas. Then of course, do not waste the bones and use them to make your own chicken stock. I am almost always not in the mood to make stock right after I cooked a chicken, so I put the entire carcass in a freezer bag and throw it in my freezer. The day I am in the mood to make stock I pull it out and throw it in my stock pot still frozen.
So go forth my friends. Roast a chicken. You can do it. I promise!
Here are a couple of other flavor combinations to get you inspired: