Perfect Roast Chicken

There are so many ways to roast a chicken that one could almost argue that there is no wrong way to do it. You can roast it at 350 the whole time. You can start it high and end low. You can cook it on high heat the whole time. You can flip it, or, not. You can gently place garlic and herbs under the skin. You can stuff citrus and herbs inside the cavity. Roast it on a bed of onions and root vegetables. You can truss it, brine it, baste it, or smother it with butter a la Julie Child.

I’ve tried all of the above, and honestly, they’ve all come out great. The only way I can measure which is best is by the amount of chicken that doesn’t make it to the platter when I carve it. By far, the following method results in the [ahem] “smallest chickens”

Salt it, put it in a hot oven, and walk away. Doesn’t get any simpler.

my favorite vessel for chicken roasting: cast iron dutch oven 

crispy skin perfection

Perfect Roast Chicken

1 organic or pasture raised chicken
sea salt

Preheat your oven to 425°

  • Rinse your chicken and dry it well, inside and out
  • Salt it liberally; a good coating. If you’re salt phobic, use more than you feel comfortable with.
  • Place in a roasting dish, or ideally, a cast iron dutch oven.
  • Insert into the hot oven, uncovered, legs first
  • Set a timer for 1 hour 15 minutes and WALK AWAY.
  • Go read a book, start a movie, waste time on Facebook or Pinterest, anything that makes you happy. Just don’t fanatically open the oven door and inspect the bird. It’s fine in there, I promise.
  • After an hour, check the temperature with a meat thermometer, if you have one. Insert it into the thigh, be careful to not contact the bone. Cooked chicken should be 165°, so you can take it out at 160 and it will continue cooking about 5 degrees.  If you don’t have a meat thermometer, wiggle the leg. No seriously. It’s a good indicator, because once the chicken is cooked, the leg will wiggle freely, as if it’s ready to be ripped off and eaten.
  • Using a pastry brush, baste the chicken with the fat (schmaltz!) in the bottom of the pan. Continue cooking for 5-30 minutes. (It could take as long as 1:45. My average chicken cooking time is between 75 and 90 minutes, depending on the size of the bird.)
  • Once cooked through, remove from the oven and allow to rest for at least 15 minutes before carving.


This entry was posted in 21DSD, Chicken, Dinner, Lunch, Paleo and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Perfect Roast Chicken

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  2. Okay…I’m trying this one tonight. In my cast iron dutch oven. I am positive it will be stupendously delicious!

  3. I made the chicken…followed your recipe to the letter – even added extra salt to adhere to the “more than you feel comfortable with” directions. And, wait for it….BCE!!!! Which stands for best chicken ever. I am actually not sure if we have enough for sandwiches tomorrow. Lovely, lovely chicken. Thank you, Simone! You completely rock.

  4. zenbellyblog says:

    BCE! Yay! So glad to hear it.

  5. Vanessa says:

    Hey, I’m confused about that last step when you coat it with the basting fat…. how long should I cook it for after that? 5 mins? 1 hr and 45 mins more?? That seems too much. Thanks

    • zenbellyblog says:

      Sorry if that’s confusing. After you baste the chicken, cook it for 5 to 30 minutes more, depending on how done your chicken is at that point. It’s tough to pinpoint the exact cooking time because each chicken is different, depending on size, how fatty it is, etc. The TOTAL cooking time will probably be somewhere around 75-90 minutes, but checking the temp with a meat thermometer is a good bet to be sure it’s cooked through.

      Does that help?

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