Chicken is a staple in our weekly meal rotation, but I’ve only ever cooked chicken breasts or chicken strips. I’ve heard that cooking bone-in chicken parts (thighs, wings, etc.) yields juicier and moister chicken, but cooking a whole bird has always intimidated me. I guess it doesn’t take much for me to be intimidated? Hah. This week though, I decided to face my “fears,” and go for it!…And I’m so glad I did.
I couldn’t find a recipe that looked like exactly what I wanted (you know based on all my experience of never having cooked a chicken), so I sort of made up my own. First open your chicken, remove the innards (I squealed unpleasantly and immaturely the entire time I did this.), rinse well under water, and pat dry. Place the chicken on a baking sheet lined with heavy duty aluminum foil. Cut up 1 to 1 1/2 sticks of salted butter and allow it to soften. While your butter is softening, slice the top inch off of a head of garlic and rub the exposed cloves all over your chicken.
Slice the top inch off of 2-3 more heads of garlic and deposit them into your chicken’s…butthole? Rear cavity? Hahah. I’m sorry. I felt wildly inappropriate anytime I did anything in this “area” of my little chicken and laughed awkwardly the entire time. Liberally season the inside of the chicken with seasoned salt, kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper, as well.
When your butter is softened, add in 2-3 Tablespoons of seasoned salt (I used Lawry’s), and Kosher Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste (I probably used 1-2 teaspoons of each). Stir the seasonings into the butter until they’re well mixed in and it looks like the sickly orange color below. It will look better after it’s cooked…promise. Spoon the butter mixture onto your chicken and smooth it all over including any crevices (like the “armpit” beneath the wing). I felt like I was frosting a hideous cake, and that’s basically how it looked when I was done! I’m a wizard in the kitchen, what can I say?
Cook your chicken in the oven for around 1 hour at 425 degrees. My chicken was just over 3 pounds, and it was fully cooked after an hour at this temperature. If your chicken is closer to 5 pounds, it will probably take around an hour and a half. Be sure to check that your chicken’s internal temperature is 165 degrees to ensure it’s cooked completely. The seasoned butter should have created a beautiful brown skin all over the exterior.
Once you’ve confirmed your chicken is fully cooked, remove it from the oven, loosely cover it with foil, and let it rest for at least ten minutes. After what will feel like forever, you can finally carve into your little birdie and enjoy the moist, juicy meat! I was amazed at how easy this was, and I felt silly for being so intimidated! Louis has coined this his new favorite meal that I make, so I’m marking it down as a success!
Another perk of cooking a roast chicken at home is that you get to smell the delicious scents wafting throughout the house! I had Christmas music playing while I cooked, so it felt just like the holidays to me. (Even though we eat turkey not chicken….eh. Poh-tay-toh, Poh-tah-toh.) While the chicken is in the oven you can use that hour to whip up some garlic mashed potatoes, green beans, or a yummy salad to accompany it. I hope this encourages anyone else who is nervous to try out a new recipe! Happy cooking! (Not really, I hate cooking, but as it’s a necessity of daily life, might as well make the best of it 😉 )