The perfect roast chicken recipe doesn't require a lot of extra ingredients, just some kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. The perfect centerpiece to your holiday dinner, the steps to make this chicken are simple: You season the bird, then roast it at high heat until the skin is bronzed and crisp and the flesh juicy. If you have time to season the chicken ahead, you should; it makes a difference in flavor.
Tips for the best roast chicken:
—Less is more. You don’t need a ton of spices for a delicious roast chicken. Just be sure to thoroughly season both the skin and cavity of the chicken. Seasoning the chicken ahead of time is a good idea, so that the flavors penetrate the flesh all the way to the bone.
—Drying the skin thoroughly. Be sure to pat the chicken dry. If you have the time, we highly suggest leaving the chicken to rest in the fridge uncovered for at least 1 hour but preferably overnight. The result is noticeably crispier skin.
—Roasting at a high temperature. Roasting at a high temperature will get you that crispy skin and tender flesh. If you have the kind of oven that starts smoking at high heat, you can cook your bird at 400° instead of 450°, though you’ll need an extra 5 to 20 minutes to get it done.
—Trussing. This helps keep the white meat moist. For a shortcut trussing method, simply tie the chicken’s legs together at the ankles with one piece of twine.
—Leave it alone. Once in the oven, keep it undisturbed as much as possible. You don’t need to baste it, this can wait until the end.
—Checking for doneness. The safest and easiest way to check for doneness is to use an instant-read thermometer to check the internal temperature. You can take the chicken out of the oven when the breast is around 155°; the temperature will go up about 10° as it rests. Dark meat is safe when the meat thermometer reads 165°.
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Yields: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 1 hour 15 mins
(3 1/2- to 4-lb.) whole chicken
freshly ground black pepper