Tie the drumsticks together with some butcher twine so the chicken retains moisture. You can also fold the wings under the bird so they don’t dry out. Roast breast side up on an elevated wire rack, uncovered.
This is a savory recipe that takes little time to prepare — the result may very well be the most super-juicy and aromatic chicken you’ve ever enjoyed. My wife is not fond of rosemary, so I had to cut back on the amount of fresh aromatics used to stuff the bird. Ensure you have an accurate poultry thermometer. I use an instant-read Weber® digital probe. It’s quick and easy. For consistent results, I always check the internal temp of the breast because it has more mass than the thighs and will take longer to cook. Allow the bird to rest before serving so it stays juicy. Enjoy—
1 whole fryer chicken (about 5.5 to 6 pounds)
5 tbs. Trader Joe’s lemon-infused XV olive oil
Mike’s Backwoods Holler spice rub
1/2 lemon, sliced
2 tbs. salted butter
4 large cloves garlic, peeled and finely-chopped
1/2 small onion, roughly chopped
1 small bunch of fresh poultry spice (includes stems of sage, rosemary, thyme)
3 large carrots, peeled, quartered and cut into 1/2″ planks
6 medium Crimini mushrooms, washed, stemmed and halved
1 cup chicken stock
butcher twine for tying the drumsticks
About 3.5 hours before serving, rinse the chicken and inner cavity in cold water. Discard the giblets from the cavity. Pat dry and place on a serving plate.
Brush down the entire chicken with 5 tbs. olive oil. Next, generously sprinkle the spice rub over the bird, ensuring all surfaces are evenly covered, including the inner fold of the wings and drumsticks. Leave on counter for one hour so the bird has a chance to warm up. I don’t need to remind you to religiously clean all prep surfaces with disinfectant to avoid spreading salmonella bacteria. WASH YOUR HANDS with hot soapy water.
Preheat oven to 425° F. About 2.5 hours before serving, stuff the cavity of the bird with the lemon slices, chopped onion, garlic, butter and poultry spice. The poultry spice is quite aromatic so watch how much you use. Carefully tie the drumsticks together using butcher twine. Place the bird in a medium roaster pan with a wire rack on the bottom. Layer the carrots and mushrooms around the bird and add 1 cup chicken stock to the pan.
Bake uncovered at 425° for 15 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 375° and bake for an additional 110 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the thickest part of the breast reads 165° F.
Remove and set aside covered for ten minutes before serving, which will allow the juices to reincorporate.
General cooking time for roast chicken is 20 minutes per pound. Shown is a 5.5 pound bird. Therefore, total cook time for a bird of this weight is 110 minutes. You will need to ADD 15 minutes, on average, if the bird is stuffed. The initial increased temp of 425° makes little difference in the end time result. My calculation was pretty accurate: 125 total minutes / 60 = 2.08 hours + a 10 minute rest before serving. Your results will vary so experiment and have fun.
Adding the carrots and Crimini mushrooms is optional. There are two drawbacks if going this route.
1. The vegetables will be saturated in the chicken fat drippings. To retain the flavor and eliminate the fat, strain the vegetables from the pan and allow to blot dry on a paper towel. Then keep warm in a covered serving dish.
2. The mushrooms will tend to shrink a lot, so either half them or leave them whole.
One disadvantage of tying the legs together is that you can’t do the twist test to check for doneness. Go by the internal temperature of the breast — as a cross-check, pierce the inner thigh with a paring knife. The juices will run clear when the bird is done.
Save the leftover chicken for homemade soup. Click here for my recipe.
Save the drippings (skim off the fat) and use for stock or gravy.