Every week, I cook a big roast chicken to feed my family for the week. It is easy and only takes one pan to clean up! I include all my tips for cooking a whole chicken, including how long it takes in the oven, what spices are best to season the bird with, and how to make sure it doesn’t dry out.
Step-by-step Guide to do a whole Chicken
Ok, let’s begin with..
Separate the chicken
For best results, use a fork to pull out the breast meat. Separate each side of the breast meat so it cooks evenly.
Truss the chicken
Put trussing string in both sides of the bird to help keep its shape when cooking. You can put it in between all four legs or around just the thighs. I like to put it under each wing because this makes for easier carving when you are done cooking it. Have your butcher do this for you!
Preheat your oven
I like to preheat my oven to 425 degrees (F) for 15 minutes before cooking my chicken in there, but its ideal temperature is between 325 and 350 degrees (F).
Don’t overstuff the chicken
To keep it from drying out, stuff the cavity with fresh herbs, lemon wedges, and onion slices.
Season your chicken
When seasoning a whole chicken, I like to use allspice for most everything. My mother in law told me about this trick when I moved out on my own and she couldn’t believe that I’d never thought of it before. It makes such a difference in the flavor! Here’s how: Before putting the bird into the oven you can rub allspice all over it or spray it on using a flavor misting bottle, adding some liquid if you want it to be more liquidy and some water if you want more of a liquidy sauce.
Start your chicken in the middle
I like to start my chicken on the bottom rack first so the heat will evenly distribute.
Wash your bird
A proper wash is critical for a tasty meal. I use a mixture of lemon juice, salt, and water to do mine. The water helps rinse off any natural surface oils, and it seems to give it some more flavor.
Also Read: How to know if chicken is bad?
Place the whole chicken in the oven
I like to put my whole chicken in between two pieces of heavy duty foil for easy sliding. There are arguments for using aluminum foil, but I prefer using this because it seems to make it easier to get the damn thing out of the oven when I do serve it. When you get the chicken out of the oven, set it right on top of your clean turkey roasting pan and let sit for a few minutes before taking it out. This is a great time to make a gravy!
How long does it take?
It’s always best to plan ahead and follow these cooking times as closely as possible. The best way to tell if your chicken is done is by inserting a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the breast. If it reaches 165 degrees (F), your chicken is done.
Remove the whole chicken from oven
You can cook your whole chicken for as little as an hour or up to 2.5 hours depending on size. The longer you cook it, the more dry it will be so keep this in mind when making yours!
Serve & Enjoy!