People often find the task of roasting a whole chicken in the oven a daunting one. They think it will take forever like when you cook a Thanksgiving turkey. However, roasting a whole bird takes significantly less time and is not quite the intimidating task as people would think. A chicken is different from a 15-pound turkey. You really do not have to fret quite as much over if it is done in the center as long as you adhere to the proper heat and cook time for that heat.
Why Roast a Whole Chicken?
Other than the obvious reason, because it is delicious, there are actually a few reasons why you should start incorporating whole chicken roasts into your meal rotation. people often overlook buting chickens whole when shopping at the grocery store because they imagine them to be as expensive as a Thanksgiving turkey. In actually, whole chickens are quite cheap. For example, the last time I went to the store I needed a whole chicken for roasting and a package of chicken breasts for fajita ranch chicken wraps (which were delicious, by the way).
Can you guess which was cheaper?
Most people would think the chicken breast was cheaper. I mean, you are clearly getting less meat so logic dictates it should be cheaper. The whole chicken cost me $5.93 for a 5.43 pound bird while a pack of three boneless skinless breasts cost me $6.03! That is kind of insane, but there is a reason for the price to be higher.
Think of every process a piece of meat has to go through as another dollar added onto the price. It doesn't really add on a whole dollar, but for the sake of this explanation it does. A whole chicken just has to be gutted, cleaned and packaged. Where a package of three chicken breasts requires one and a half chickens to die, be gutted and plucked, after which they remove the breast meat, remove the skin, and remove the bone, and packaged. All that additional processing raises the price because meat companies have to pay someone to do all that additional work. Plus an extra chicken had to die, I do not know why I can never just find a pack of two chicken breasts, as that is all I really need.
But anyway, the main reason to buy whole bird is it is cheaper and if you have a small family to feed, you can split it into two meals. well, maybe. I only feed myself and my spouse and we end up eating the whole thing.
How to Roast a Whole Chicken with Basic Seasonings
This is a basic recipe to roast a whole chicken with. It's very savory and pairs well with stuffing and gravy. though because I use a small 5 pound chicken, you sadly cannot cook the stuffing inside of it. It is simply too small.
What you will need:
- A whole chicken (again, I am for 5 pounds but for bigger chickens I have simple cook times below)
- Butter or Olive Oil for basting
- Rosemary (fresh or dried)
- Salt and Pepper
- Garlic salt or granules if you are using a strong salt like sea salt
- Onion powder
Start by taking your whole chicken out of the packaging and giving it a solid washing in cold water just to get any extra blood or things it picked up in the factory off. If you bought your chicken frozen, allow two days to defrost in the refrigerator before cooking.
Place your chicken in a roasting pan that will allow juices to pool and not leak over the sides. Melt down your butter or break out the olive oil. It honestly does not matter which you use. I have used both and it tastes the same. It just makes the herbs stick better and the skin crisp nicer. Slather your chicken in melted butter or olive oil and start sprinkling your herbs on.
Some people who baste with butter mix their herbs into the melted butter, this works very well for everything but the rosemary. That needs to be sprinkled on and for better flavor, stuffed into the inside of the chicken carcass.
Now for the baking. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
I always bake with the breast side down for the first 30 minutes, just to give the back some time to crisp and bake those herbs in. After the first 30 minutes, flip the bird so that it is breast side up and give it a basting.
Bake an additional 20 minutes per pound of chicken. For example, if I cooked a five pound bird I would cook it the first 30 minutes, flip it then cook five more 20-minute intervals, basting every 20 minutes. So I would bake for another hour and 40 minutes. using this scale, I have never had a chicken with pink on the inside, and they are always moist.
Roasting a Whole Chicken Barbeque Style
This is a twist on the whole roast chicken recipe. I love barbeque, but I really dislike grilling so I create barbeque recipes for the oven instead.
What you will need:
- A whole chicken
- Barbeque sauce ( I use sweet baby rays, but you can use what you like)
- Chili powder
- Olive Oil
- Onion Powder
- Garlic Salt
Start this out the same as the previous recipe. Give your chicken a solid washing and place it in your baking pan. Slather your chicken in olive oil or butter. I use olive oil for this, just because butter tends to not dry as well and makes the sauce run off.
Sprinkle on the herbs and prepare to get your hands dirty. Unlike the normal recipe, the herbs used in this one tend to clump together (I'm looking at you, chili powder). This can burn on the skin and create a undesirable texture to it. So get your hands in there and rub the spices into the skin and spread them around as best you can.
Bake as you did in the previous recipes. Oven at 400 degrees, bake breast side down for 30 minutes, flip, reseason if necessary, and bake an additional 20 minutes breast side up per pound of chicken.
The last 60 minutes, take the chicken out and baste with barbeque sauce every 20 minutes. This give the barbeque sauce a chance to bake in and caramelize as you add new layers.