I'm keeping this post short & sweet because that's exactly how this recipe is meant to play out — drama free & delicious. You basically take all of the yummy things pictured above and rub them on / stuff them inside a chicken. Then you sit back and let the bird do its thing in the oven & something pretty magical happens — out comes a tasty, crispy chicken full of flavor & juiciness. (Super crispy, if you have tastebuds like mine!)
Admittedly, this was my first time cooking a WHOLE bird — which was a bit laughable while handling it at first. I also may or may not have googled what "giblets" looked like. So whether you're an old pro or it's your first rodeo like me — let me introduce you to my new favorite way to cook chicken.
Here's what you do:
- Place a cast iron skillet (10 to 12 inch) on the middle rack of the oven and heat it to 475 degrees.
- In a small bowl mix the salt, pepper, lemon zest & brown sugar — set aside your spice rub.
- Remove the chicken from any packaging and drain out any juices or blood. Reach inside the chicken's body cavity and remove the bag of giblets. (Most chickens will have giblets saved inside, but some will not, don't freak out over them either way! If you do find them, you can throw them away or save them if you want to make stock or gravy later on. If you're still confused about the extra bits inside a chicken, read more here.)
- Pat the chicken throughly with paper towels or a clean kitchen towel to remove all liquid. (Don't forget behind the wings & legs and inside the body cavity too!)
- Rub the outside of the chicken with butter or olive oil & then coat it with the spice rub.
- Stuff the inside of the chicken with the halved lemons, garlic cloves, and fresh herbs.
- Remove the hot skillet from the oven and place it on top of the stove — place the chicken, breast side up, in the skillet. (Be careful here — the skillet will be very hot and the chicken should sizzle when you drop it in!)
- Transfer the chicken back into the oven and roast for 30 minutes. (Check the chicken at 20 minutes to make sure it's not burning or smoking, if so reduce the oven temp. by 25 degrees.)
- Remove the skillet from the oven and place it on the stove — carefully turn the chicken over onto its back. (Try using two flat wooden spoons or spatulas.)
- Return the chicken to the oven and roast for another 10 to 20 minutes. (Depending on size of bird.)
- Finally, turn it back breast side up to roast for another 5 to 10 minutes to crisp the skin.
- Check the chicken for doneness by inserting a thermometer into the meatiest part of the breast — it should be at least 165 degrees. If it's not quite done, roast it longer. (If the skin is already browned, cover the chicken with foil before returning it to the oven.)
- Transfer chicken to a plate and cover with foil. Let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes before carving the chicken.
A few other ideas / food for thought:
- After moving the chicken to the plate you can use the pan drippings to make a sauce — just add a few spoonfuls of water, stock or white wine and heat the skillet on a burner over low heat. (Use the back of a spoon to scrape all of the yummy-crusty-brown-bits from the bottom of the pan!)
- This recipe will serve four, but if you have leftovers the cooked chicken will keep in the refrigerator, tightly wrapped, for up to three days.
- Make sure you measure out the ingredients and prep the spice rub BEFORE you handle the raw chicken so you don't have to worry about cross-contamination and such.