One of our favorite meals as a family is to oven-roast one of our home raised chickens. My father-in-law salt-and-sugar brined this chicken so it was already tender and flavorful and I wanted to give the chicken a treatment that would complement that as much as possible. The solution was a twist on the typical garlic and herb rub, by adding some brown sugar into the mix as well.
You will need:
- 1 whole chicken – skin on
- 5 Tbl butter
- 1 tsp minced garlic (hint – we used way more than that. Because – Garlic!)
- 1 tsp ground sea salt
- Italian herbs that you prefer (I love rosemary, oregano, thyme, marjoram, and parsley on chicken. I used a pre-mixed blend of Italian herbs and seasonings in the photo but often play it by ear according to my mood.)
- Brown sugar – I used about 1/2 cup.
To oven-roast your chicken, get the oven good and hot – 425 degrees!
Place the bird breast side down in the roasting pan. The pictures always show the bird breast side up, but you get better juiciness through the white meat if you roast it breast side down. I don’t know if this is just an Italian thing or what but it works. And don’t bother trying to flip the chicken…that sounds like a hassle to me!
Pour the melted butter (or bacon grease – if you cook bacon in the mornings you should save the grease.) over the chicken. You want to cover the entire bird with the juices so it will sear the skin when you cook it!
Rub the salty, sugary herbs all over the bird. You can place an aromatic herb or fruit in the body cavity such as a lemon slice or branch of a rosemary (my favorite) but you don’t have to.
Put the chicken into the super-hot oven (425 remember) for 15 minutes. When the timer goes off (don’t forget to set it!) turn down the heat of the oven until it’s only 375 degrees.
Cook at the lower temperature until you reach a safe temperature for poultry with the meat thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh. It should take between an hour and an hour and a half, depending on the size of your bird. If your chicken’s skin starts to look a little toasty you can cover with foil, but that may extend the cooking time a little bit.
I always baste the chicken as it’s cooking because I can’t help but check it out while it’s cooking.
The resulting bird is juicy and flavorful – even the typically drier white meat portions. So. Good. With chicken this delicious who needs turkey?