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BackstoryThis is my favorite way to roast a chicken - or any bird. It is adapted from a recipe by Mimi Hiller.
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. paprika
- 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- 1 tsp. thyme
- 1 tsp. white pepper
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 1 large roasting chicken, as big as you can find (about 5 pounds)
- 1 cup chopped onion
- Brine the chicken in vegetable stock for about a hour per pound prior to the dry rub. This takes this chicken even further over the top.
- In a small bowl, thoroughly combine all the spices. Remove giblets from chicken, clean the cavity well and pat dry with paper towels. Rub the spice mixture into the chicken, both inside and out, making sure it is evenly distributed and down deep into the skin. Place in a resealable plastic bag, seal and refrigerate overnight.
- When ready to roast chicken, stuff cavity with onions, and place in a shallow baking pan. Roast, uncovered, at 250 degrees for 5 hours. After the first hour, baste chicken occasionally (every half hour or so) with pan juices. The pan juices will start to caramelize on the bottom of the pan and the chicken will turn golden brown. I know it's tempting to take the chicken out before the 5 hours are up. Resist that temptation. If the chicken contains a pop-up thermometer, ignore it. Let chicken rest about 10 minutes before carving.
- Pan juices make incredible gravy or soup stock. Recipe works equally well with any fowl. Cornish Game Hens take about an hour to hour and a half. Turkeys take about 8-10 hours. Roughly an hour per pound, so if you get a 3 pound chicken, plan on 3-4 hours rather than 5.
- There are those that argue against slow roasting. I'm not going to say that there is no other way to make a roast chicken but this is certainly the best I've ever made. The meat is incredibly flavorful of moist and the skin is exceptional and the reason it's called "sticky" chicken.
- I've seen this recipe posted in a lot of places since I found it a number of years ago (couldn't find it here). I have made a couple of changes. I brine the chicken first. I'm a big fan of brining and for this recipe, I usually just use vegetable stock for the brine. Even without the brining, the original recipe called for 4 tsp salt in the spice rub and that was always way too much, in my opinion. Salt should enhance, not overpower.
- I've seen some people suggest doing it in a slow cooker. You'll get nice meat doing that but you will never get the delicious skin that makes this chicken what it is. I've also seen people who claimed you don't need to baste. If you aren't going to baste this chicken, use another recipe.
- I've also used a variety of rubs and aromatics. This is the original rub but it's the technique that's the key. Stuff the chicken with apples and rub a smoky, slightly sweet rub on the the skin and it's just as wonderful. Try Jamaican Jerk seasonings. A Thai rub is nice. It's the slow roasting technique that's the key.