The Perfect Roast Chicken

The term perfect has some pretty heavy expectations that come along with it. It implies that there is nothing better, it could not be improved in any way. I’m not one to throw the P-Bomb around lightly. However, I think I have perfected the roasted chicken. Yes, that’s right my friends. I, Laura of, have roasted the perfect chicken.

This is actually a technique I’ve been working on for some time. The recipe is based on Thomas Keller’s Favorite Simple Roast Chicken. Though I’ve only eaten at Bouchon Bakery (never Per Se or French Laundry), I have been a fan of his since I interned for his PR firm years ago and became acquainted with his work. If you ever want a wickedly delicious brownie, try your hand at his bouchons.

My recipe takes Keller’s basic idea of a very hot oven, no basting, and plenty of salt and tweaks it a bit with lemon, garlic and rosemary. It’s a pretty easy process and really pays off in the end. You’ll be especially happy when you have leftover roast chicken to use up throughout the week, who doesn’t love that?

The recipe calls for trussing, which I’m kind of meh about. I just took come cotton rope (who needs cooking twine?) and tied the legs together. Then I tucked the wings underneath the bird. This works for me, but if you feel like getting your truss on, do it.



The Perfect Roast Chicken

One 5-7 lb. chicken
1 tbsp. kosher or sea salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 garlic cloves, crushed

1.) Preheat oven to 450*
2.) Prep a slotted baking pan by thoroughly covering the inside dripping pan with aluminum foil. This will prevent a huge mess. However, if you like to make pan gravy, skip the foil. I like to use a slotted pan because it allows the chicken to get crispy on all sides (no floppy bottom – yuck).
3.) Rinse the chicken and dry it well with paper towels, inside and out. Set aside on the pan.
4.) In a small bowl, combine the salt, pepper, garlic powder, lemon zest and rosemary. Take 1/3 of the mixture and set aside in another small bowl. Add the lemon juice to the 2/3 mixture and combine to a paste.
5.) Take the chicken and create space between the skin and meat with your fingers. I like to really get in there, making sure to hit the thighs (on the under side), drum sticks and breast meat. Take the paste and rub into the spaces you just created. Rub some on the inside as well. Take the leftover 1/3 salt mixture and and sprinkle on the outside of the bird. Place the leftover lemon half and the two crushed garlic cloves inside the cavity.
6.) If you want, truss the bird. If you’re lazy like me, tuck the wings and tie the legs together (like described above).
7.) Bake in the oven for 50-60 minutes, or until the skin is golden and crispy and the meat is at 170*-180*. Don’t baste it our touch it in any way! I swear, it stays moist and delicious without all the fuss.
8.) Remove from oven and allow the chicken to rest for 15 minutes before carving.

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About sweetersalt

Salt = sodium = bad. Sweet = calories = bad. Well, isn't that just a bleak outlook. I firmly believe that without salt and without sweet we all just live in a world of lettuce. Plain lettuce. Fun? No. This blog is about life. Namely, my life. But, not that specific. I myself am simply not that interesting. I live an ordinary life, work an ordinary job and do ordinary things. But... life is all about experiencing that feeling you get when you really, really like something. If you don't feel a little warm in your heart when you walk into a farmer's market or try on a piece of beautiful clothing that fits you perfectly (that just so happens to be a great deal!) then you should probably keep on a' movin' from my little plot of internet. Sweeter salt is my metaphor for the good things in life, sprinkled over everything in moderation. Banana? Kinda boring. Banana smoothie - yum! White tank top? Yawn. Statement necklace layered over said tank - now we're talking! I live in Portland, Maine. I love cooking, eating out, riding my bike and approachable fashion. This blog does not chronicle my every waking moment. This is because you will probably not be entertained by the 10th day in a row that I eat the exact same salad for lunch. It does chronicle a healthy, active, fun-filled, colorful lifestyle, in Portland and beyond. It also covers dogs. Cute ones mostly.
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7 Responses to The Perfect Roast Chicken

  1. Jess says:

    I am a huge fan of the roast chicken! In fact, I think we are roast-chickened out because I made it SO much last winter. We had a Thanksgiving feast with a roast chicken about every week I think. And you’re right, the simpler the better, there is no reason to make a huge fuss out of it — it comes out great. I don’t tie mine up, I just throw it in the oven. What does tying it up do? Also, what do you think about stuffing? I used to hate stuffing but have come to love it, but have yet to make a stuffing that I like more than the 99cent box at Hannaford, which I know is gross.

    • sweetersalt says:

      I haven’t always tied it up, but I think it basically just helps the drumsticks to cook evenly along with the rest of the bird. I’m not convinced it’s really necessary though.

      I for one LOVE stuffing. But, I’ve never actually stuffed a bird with it, which I suppose is funny considering its name. My favorite recipe is a take off on this one (, which Ross’s Grammy insists I bring every year to Thanksgiving. I totally change it up though by using pork sausage. So delicious, but definitely not shoved into anything’s cavity. Eiww, cavity.


  2. Jess says:

    Well, when you put it that way, it is gross to think about stuffing an animal’s cavity with tasty treats. But, at the same time, we’re eating the beast, which is also gross and weird to think about. I do think that the chicken juices do season the stuffing nicely and I’ve done it before — even though it is gross and weird. I will have to try your stuffing recipe! Anything with pork sausage must be delicious! Sounds good!

  3. uke mochi says:

    That’s hilarious… I made this on Monday. Same exact recipe. Truthfully, it’s the best roast chicken I’ve made to date and has shown me that simple is truly better.

  4. Sues says:

    Yum! I definitely need to try this. I’m not the biggest roasted chicken fan UNLESS it’s absolutely amazing. So, I guess I need to attempt Keller’s :)

  5. That’s the perfect fall meal! Love roast chicken :-)

  6. Pingback: My Top 18 Recipes | sweeter salt

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