There’s More Than One Way to Roast a Chicken

After reading Ruhlman’s post “America: Too Stupid to Cook” I decided that it was ridiculous that I wasn’t roasting my own chicken.  The convenience of buying a chicken already roasted by the market had become habit.  But that was lazy and (stupid) and there was really no reason why I wasn’t taking on this task at home.  Anxious to try it (embarrassingly, for the very first time) I bought a chicken, pulled out the gizzards, etc, rinsed it and patted it dry.  I rubbed my chicken with olive oil & fresh thyme/rosemary, stuffed it with lemon halves and onions, gave it a good sprinkle of salt and pepper and shoved it in a hot (450 degree F.) oven for 1 hour.  The whole thing took about 10 minutes to prepare and then I got to drink wine and visit with my family while my kitchen filled with the most delicious scent of roasted chicken.  The chicken came out so much better than those grocery store roasted chickens, I had some leftover meat to use for another recipe, and I used the carcass to make the most amazing chicken stock (for soup).  Why doesn’t everyone do this?  The convenience-factor that our society pushes upon us is trumping the small amount of effort it takes to make it yourself. Will I ever buy an already roasted chicken again? Of course, but if I’ve got an hour to play with I will most definitely do my own.

For my second roasted chicken, I wanted to try some new methods… my recipe is called Slashed Chicken with Bacon-Herb Butter, based on this recipe and recommended by Kim.


Slashes are cut into the chicken on the top and the bottom, and then a fresh herb-bacon butter is literally rubbed onto the chicken and into the slashes. Sage leaves and sliced garlic are pushed in there too. I halved a lemon and popped it into the cavity of the chicken. Meanwhile, your oven is getting nice and hot with a Dutch oven in there heating up too.

Acting on a Twitter tip from Sarah, I roasted the chicken breast-side down, which is supposed to keep the white meat more moist.

I roasted my 5 pound chicken at 450 degrees F. for an hour, uncovered. At that point I popped an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh. At 165 degrees I pulled it out and let it rest with a tent of foil wrapped around it (the temperature continued to rise another 5 degrees or so). It turned out perfect. The meat was very tender and the flavors… the sage, the garlic, the bacon… were well permeated into the meat. This is not the kind of chicken you get when you purchase one of those bulk-roasted chickens at the market, that’s for sure. It’s much, much better.

This recipe can be found here: Slashed Chicken with Bacon-Herb Butter

Apparently there are more than a few ideas for roasting a chicken! Here are a boatload suggestions for how to make the perfect roast chicken, from my foodie friends on Twitter:
*Rub the outside with coconut oil, salt & pepper and stuff the cavity with rosemary, apple, celery and onion.
*Coat with dijon mustard and put sliced onion underneath the bird. Afterward, use the onion & dijon drippings to make gravy.
*Instead of throwing away the flaps of fat, cut them and insert them between the breasts & skin. This helps keep the breasts juicy.
*Brine the whole chicken in milk & lemon zest.
*Cut out the backbone, flatten & cover with a paste of fresh thyme, lemon zest, garlic, olive oil, salt & pepper.
*Rub pesto underneath the skin.
*Cover the bird with tons of orange zest & put orange halves inside the cavity too.
*Rub a paste of bacon fat, butter and garlic under the skin.
*Make a compound butter with homegrown herbs and rub under the skin. Stuff the cavity with onion, garlic, gizzards, olive oil and seasonings.
*Roast the chicken in a giant le Creuset (pot) with a tight cover of foil underneath the lid.
*Cover the chicken with bacon- it will turn out moist and flavorful.
*Rub lemon and kosher salt on the outside. Try anchovies too!
*Use high quality fresh chicken & rub with lemon juice and fresh herbs (tarragon or thyme & garlic).
*Roast the chicken on top of apples, onion, garlic & rosemary. Salt and pepper the chicken and then pour 1/2 cup of apple cider into the roasting pan. When chicken is roasted, slice it up & serve it with the apple-pan-stew.
*Use the Zuni Cafe recipe.
*The Ad Hoc at Home cookbook by chef Thomas Keller recommends taking the chicken out of the refrigerator 1 1/2 to 2 hours ahead of time to bring the chicken to room temperature. This apparently allows the meat to cook more evenly.
*Two people recommended this: after rinsing, pat chicken dry and let sit, uncovered, in the refrigerator for about 1 hour before roasting. The skin gets extra crispy using this method.

Leave a Comment




31 Responses to “There’s More Than One Way to Roast a Chicken”

  1. 1

    nina — March 1, 2010 @ 2:10 AM

    You are so right, it is dead simple, bu the flavors are just so much better than bought And there is something so homely and comforting about having a roast in the oven….
    Well done on your first attempt!!!

  2. 2

    Julia — March 1, 2010 @ 6:03 AM

    Wow, that looks super good. And so easy. I can’t wait to try this!!!!

  3. 3

    LilSis — March 1, 2010 @ 7:26 AM

    I love roasting chicken. I used to do it more until I discovered that I like the beer can chicken cooked on the grill even better.

    This slashed version with the herb butter and bacon looks amazing! :-)

  4. 4

    Josie — March 1, 2010 @ 7:34 AM

    About time you got on the roasted chicken train! :) It really is stupid easy. I like roasting trays of thighs/breasts to have a bunch of shredded meat on hand (I freeze it). You can use those bones for stock too.

  5. 5

    The Double Dipped Life — March 1, 2010 @ 7:45 AM

    I’m one who has never roasted an entire chicken either!! If I don’t have a roasting pan- what do I do? (besides buy one!)

    • Lori Lange replied: — March 1st, 2010 @ 9:05 AM

      Double Dipped- use a disposable pan, or even a 9×13 pan will work just fine.

  6. 6

    Angela — March 1, 2010 @ 8:16 AM

    Try putting it into a crock pot overnight. Cooking while you sleep is so satisfying.

  7. 7

    Maria — March 1, 2010 @ 9:04 AM

    I’ve never roasted a chicken, never want to, but I guess it is a good thing to know:) Maybe the hubs can try this one:)

  8. 8

    The Cooking Bride — March 1, 2010 @ 10:36 AM

    I HATE the roasted chickens you buy from the store! They are touted as “fresh,” but I’m sorry, four hours under a heat lamp is NOT fresh. They are usually over-priced, small, and dry as stale bread. You are right, it is SO easy to roast your own chicken and you can usually get at least two meals out of one chicken.

  9. 9

    Joan Nova — March 1, 2010 @ 12:40 PM

    That is some plump looking bird! I can’t imagine what bacon butter did it – pretty incredible I’m thinking. Other twitter suggestions sound interesting too, especially the coconut oil rub.

  10. 10

    Cheryl — March 1, 2010 @ 1:24 PM

    I haven’t roasted a chicken in so long, but now I’m feeling the urge to seeing that picture!

  11. 11

    courtney — March 1, 2010 @ 3:06 PM

    LOL! Im amazed at people. The other day I tweeted Im roasting a chicken Provencsl style with zuchhini, tomatoes, garlic,etc. Soemone asked for the recipe.Im like I just threw it together, no recipe. Its amazes me people cant do the basics. Great post.

  12. 12

    courtney — March 1, 2010 @ 3:06 PM

    And I always use evry but ti make soup in the end.

  13. 13

    SweetwaterGifts — March 1, 2010 @ 3:08 PM

    I’m so glad you tried it. If people just realized that roasting a chicken only takes 10 minutes of effort and an hour of sitting…I’m sure more people would attempt it.

  14. 14

    Gwen — March 1, 2010 @ 3:49 PM

    Roasted chicken is one of our favorite dinners! I have several recipes that I use, but I will have to try the slashed version! That is a new one!

  15. 15

    Barbara — March 1, 2010 @ 4:22 PM

    Ruhlman’s post was excellent. And I agree, there are times when take out is the only answer. But I get really made when I hear someone say, I don’t know how to cook. Because if you can read, you can cook. I imagine what they mean is they don’t LIKE to cook. That’s whole different story.
    I’ve been making a roast chicken recipe from Ina Garten for years. Although let’s face it…butter, salt and pepper is all you really need to roast a decent chicken. We foodies can do all the experimenting.

  16. 16

    Elizabeth — March 1, 2010 @ 8:45 PM

    I’ve roasted my chickens breast side down for a long time (most of the time) and everyone always gives me the eye roll, or a harrumph, or an all knowing stare, but I show them when both white and dark meats are melt in your mouth juicy and tender!

  17. 17

    sharon — March 1, 2010 @ 10:11 PM

    What a beautiful bird! Great question – I don’t know why I don’t do this more often.

  18. 18

    SinfulSouthernSweets — March 2, 2010 @ 2:20 AM

    This is just beautiful. I have done the slashes on pork roast with garlic and green onions, but for some reason its never occured to me to try this with chicken. But, I certainly will now! Thanks!

  19. 19

    The Double Dipped Life — March 2, 2010 @ 6:50 AM

    Thanks for the help on the pan!

  20. 20

    Alta — March 2, 2010 @ 10:08 AM

    Love this version. I love roasting a chicken – I’m very simple – dry it REALLY well, and roast it kind of like Zuni cafe – just some salt and rosemary. only I spatchcock mine. I would love the way the meat would taste on this version! I would miss crunchy skin though – my sinful treat!

  21. 21

    Shari — March 2, 2010 @ 12:25 PM

    Thanks for the inspiration! Your chicken looks great!

  22. 22

    Sarah Caron — March 4, 2010 @ 3:47 AM

    Oh my goodness, that made me drool. Slashing the chicken is pure genius!

  23. 23

    WizzyTheStick — March 4, 2010 @ 7:24 PM

    Wonderful roasted chicken. It really is dead easy.

  24. 24

    Jen Schall — March 5, 2010 @ 9:00 AM

    Your chicken looks great! I started roasting my own chickens last year and haven’t turned back. I will make one on Sunday and then use the leftovers for sandwiches and other dishes throughout the week.

  25. 25

    doodles — March 5, 2010 @ 4:05 PM

    I just put two birds in the oven…………one for dinner the other to make a chicken salad for company lunch tomorrow.

    Tis is just so good all sortsa ways.

  26. 26

    Wendy — March 8, 2010 @ 12:06 PM

    That chicken looks fantastic! I love the idea of butter and herbs stuffed EVERYWHERE.

    I’m also looking at buying a dutch oven, myself – what size is your dutch/french oven you cooked your chicken in?

  27. 27

    Rza — December 10, 2011 @ 10:37 AM

    I used the veggie and citrus pulp from my Juicer to roast the chicken. Came out so good :)

  28. 28

    Elizabeth L — September 15, 2012 @ 3:31 PM

    I roasted a chicken today and there was a bunch of juice left when I was done…is this safe to use as a base with the bones to make a chicken stock or do I need to throw it out and start over with the bones and water, etc? Thanks!

    • Lori Lange replied: — September 16th, 2012 @ 6:06 AM

      They’re cooked juices, so they should be fine!