I’m a huge fan of trying to eat natural, unprocessed foods exclusively, which means I tend to stay away from deli meats. Roasting a chicken is an easy way to ensure I have leftovers on hand through the week should I want a sandwich or a topping for a salad.

To be honest, this is my second attempt at roasting a whole chicken; the first one wasn’t too successful, but it did make good leftovers. Depending on your oven and your preference with the crispness of the skin, you may need to tweak any recipe you find on roasting a whole bird. This recipe is what worked for me. But, I plan on continuing to test out different ingredients and cooking temperatures with future birds.

Directions

  1. Position an oven rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F. Remove the giblets from the chicken, wash the chicken inside and out with cold water, then let the chicken drain, cavity down, in a colander for 2 minutes.
  2. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Rub grapeseed oil over the entire bird; this enhances the browning of the skin. Place the chicken breast-side down in a medium roasting pan fitted with a rack. Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper inside and out.
  3. Prick 3 whole lemons three times in three different places on each with a fork and place them deep inside the cavity. Chicken cavity size may vary, so if one lemon is partly sticking out, that’s fine. (Tip: If the lemons are stiff, roll them on the countertop with your palm before pricking to get the juices flowing.) You’ll be impressed how the lemons enhance the flavor of the meat. Yum!
  4. Place the chicken in the oven, lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F, and roast, uncovered for 20 minutes.
  5. Remove the roasting pan from the oven. Using tongs or two wooden spoons, turn the chicken breast-side up. Return to the oven and roast for about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the meat thermometer reads 180 degrees F and the juices run clear when the thigh is pricked with a fork. Continue roasting if necessary. Keep in mind that cooking times in different ovens vary; roasting a chicken at 350°F takes approximately 18-20 minutes per pound.
  6. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before carving.

Ingredients

  • 4 lbs whole chicken (organic and free-range chicken is my preference)
  • 3 lemons
  • Fresh grounded sea salt
  • Fresh grounded peppercorn
  • Grapeseed oil