Simple, whole-roasted chicken slathered with a quick and easy butter mixture and roasted in the oven. Perfect for family dinners and entertaining!
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Roasting a whole bird can seem intimidating. I totally get that. In fact, I can 100% relate. I was once intimidated as well..it is a whole chicken after all. But, I’m here to assure you, this is something you can do, and it’s something you can do very well. Promise. Plus, there are so many good reasons to do it. Number one being it’s tasty. Real tasty. The number two reason? Once you get the hang of it, it really does become one of those simple, fix-and-forget it type of meals that you can whip up lickety-split, any night of the week.
HOW TO PREPARE A WHOLE CHICKEN
The first thing you’ll do is set your chicken out on the counter about 30 minutes before roasting. This helps to take the chill off of the chicken, keeping it from going into the oven ice-cold.
HOW TO SEASON ROASTED CHICKEN
While the chicken is on the counter, you’ll start on the seasoning for your chicken, which will mainly be composed of a compound butter. Compound butter may sound like a fancy, technical term, but it actually translates to something like “butter with stuff mixed into it.” Not so fancy anymore, now are you compound butter?
USE A COMPOUND BUTTER
Compound butters are perfect for whole-roasted chickens, and they usually consist of both butter and an oil. If you were to use solely butter on your roasted chicken, you’d likely end up with a very burnt, dry chicken. No thanks. However, we want to use butter for our roasted chicken because it just so happens to be so very delicious and flavorful. So, butter for flavor, and oil to raise the smoke point, and the chicken will be both delicious and a beautiful golden brown.
SPICE BLEND FOR ROASTED CHICKEN
So, here’s the deal: Chicken on its own is bland. Like, seriously, seriously bland, and it really needs a little help from its friends. Butter has already entered the mix, now it’s time for the dry seasoning.
The best (and simplest) dry spice blend for roasted chicken is a mix of kosher salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. I use my TAK House Seasoning on not only chicken but pork and turkey as well. I make a big batch, store it in one of those cute little hermetic spice jars (or use an airtight, plastic container), and keep it in the spice cabinet. It lasts for months, and poultry seasoning just doesn’t get any better than this.
However, if you don’t want to throw a spice blend together, you could always use your favorite store-bought spice blend in its place, just make sure there is sodium in it.
The seasoning goes into the butter and oil mixture, and it gets all mixed up. That’s all there is to a compound butter. If you wanted to get extra fancy, you could add a few teaspoons of freshly minced, poultry-friendly herbs like thyme, sage, and/or rosemary to the mix.
RUB IT IN, RUB IT IN.
Oh yes, it’s time to rub. And I hate to say it, but you’re gonna have to get all up in there. So take off the rings, and get ready to get under that skin — all the way down to the thighs, then back up and over, until the whole thing is wonderfully and beautifully smothered in the compound butter.
Lastly, you’ll sprinkle the outside of the chicken once more with your dry seasoning blend (cause remember — chicken is bland), and then it’s ready to bake…or is it?
TO TRUSS OR NOT TO TRUSS
Trussing the bird is really up to you. It prevents the wings from getting dried out and promotes even cooking for the drumsticks as well, but if you don’t want to mess with butchers twine, I don’t blame you. Is the chicken better when you truss it? Yes. I do believe it is. Will it absolutely ruin your chicken not to truss it? No, I really don’t think it will. You decide.
HOW TO BAKE A WHOLE CHICKEN IN THE OVEN
The best temperature to bake whole-roasted chicken is at 400°, and the best way to bake a whole chicken is on a roasting rack situated in (…you guessed it…) a roasting pan!
I use this All-Clad roasting pan and rack. I’ve had it for years. It’s durable, it works, and it’s pretty to look at. Bonus. However, if you don’t have a roasting pan and rack, and you aren’t necessarily in the market to buy one either, you could always get crafty.
Make a thick ring of aluminum foil (large enough for the chicken to sit on and high enough for it to be elevated by about a 1/3 of an inch), and place the aluminum ring in the cast iron or oven-safe skillet.
The point of the rack (or aluminum ring) is that you want the chicken to be elevated above the bottom of the pan so that air can circulate underneath it. This promotes even-cooking all the way around the bird.
HOW LONG DO YOU ROAST A WHOLE CHICKEN
The question everybody wants a simple answer to, and I’m so sorry to say, but…it depends. It depends on the temperature of the chicken when it went into the oven. It depends on the exact weight of the chicken. It depends on the actual temperature of your oven. Just cause it says 400°, doesn’t always mean it’s actually at 400°— ugh, right?!
The chicken could take 1 hour and 15 minutes to come to the proper temperature, or it could take 1 hour and 30 minutes. This is where your instant-read thermometer comes in handy.
The chicken is properly cooked according to the USDA once the thermometer registers 165° in the breast and 175° in the thigh.
However, once large cuts of meat are pulled from the oven, that hunk of protein is going to continue to cook as it sits on the counter, and will likely go up at least 5-10° more. So! Having all the information, you can now make an oh-so-educated call as to when to pull your chicken.
Then, you’ll tent it with foil and step away for 15 minutes or so. Allowing the bird to rest, will also ensure that the juices redistribute throughout the body, making for a more juicy and flavorful bird.
Wow. You’ve really learned a lot today. I’m impressed. You are now more than ready to completely conquer whole roasted chicken. And let me assure you: When whole-roasted chicken is done right, there is nothing better. The skin gets super crispy while the inside stays moist and succulent, and the flavor is truly remarkable. Treat the family or impress your guests, and as always, enjoy.
Simple, whole-roasted chicken slathered with a quick and easy butter mixture and roasted in the oven.
- 4 ½-5 pound whole chicken
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter room temperature
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 teaspoons TAK House Seasoning or your favorite spice blend separated
Preheat oven to 400°. Set chicken out 30 minutes prior to roasting so that it is not going into the oven cold. Have ready a roasting pan and rack.
In a bowl, stir together butter, olive oil and 2 teaspoons of seasoning. Set aside until ready to use.
Place the chicken on a cutting board and pat dry with paper. Using your fingers, gently release the skin from the tip of the chicken breast and begin to separate as much of the skin from the flesh of the chicken (without ripping or breaking the skin) as possible, working all the way down into the thighs and into the legs as well.
Take half of the butter mixture and massage it underneath the skin of the chicken, again, rubbing it all the way across the breast and into the thighs and legs as well. Take the other half of the butter mixture and massage it all over the surface of the chicken. Sprinkle with the remaining seasoning.
Truss the chicken (if you'd like) and place it on the roasting rack. Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes - 1 ½ hours, or until the internal temperature registers between 165°-175° when a thermometer is inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, at least a ¼” from the bone.
Once the chicken has reached desired temperature, place on a cutting board and allow to rest for 15 minutes before carving.
Remember, depending on the size of your chicken, it may be necessary to either decrease or increase the cook time.