Looking to save money on your grocery bill? Buy whole chickens. They can be had for much cheaper a pound than any chicken that has been sliced up for your convience. I like to roast the entire chicken, eat it that night, and save the leftovers to use in other dishes the next day or two. I buy what is called a fryer chicken, which is a young chicken (between 7-13 weeks old) that weight about 1 1/2 to 4 pounds. Before you roast your chicken, you should add some additional flavor. I do this with “a paste”. For the paste you will need:
4-5 gloves of garlic
The herbs of your choosing (rosemary, basil, tarragon, thyme are all good choices)
Olive oil or canola oil
freshly ground black pepper
Take your garlic and just give it a good smashing, no need to cut it into small pieces. Throw the garlic into a bowl, along with your herbs, a heavy pinch of kosher salt, several grinds of freshly ground black pepper, and a couple tablespoons of oil. Mix well to combine (if you are doing a larger chicken, you might want to make your paste in a food processor). You don’t need to perfectly measure everything here.
The first thing you need to do with the chicken itself is to remove anything in the cavity, giblets, heart, and neck. Once that is done, take your chicken and pull back the skin (do not remove it) in any places you can get it to go (you can use a knife to help you). Then rub your paste in between the meat and skin. Do this in as many spots as possible. Make more paste if you need to. Remember to wash your hands immediately after touching the raw chicken. Do not touch anything else before you wash your hands. Cross contamination is a major concern with chicken.
Set your oven to 350 degrees. Once your chicken is prepared set it in a roasting pan and insert a probe thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken, being careful not to hit any bone, and roast until the thermometer says 165 degrees and the juices run clear. There is a fine line between perfectly done chicken and dried out chicken. But if you under cook it that’s bad news too. So it may take some practice, but I always recommend that if you don’t feel comfortable pulling the chicken yet, then wait a little bit longer.
If you plan on eating the skin of the chicken, I would recommend starting the chicken at 450 degrees for 10-15 minutes, then reduce it to 350 until the chicken has reached it’s final temperature. You may also wish to flavor the skin, by sprinkling kosher salt, black pepper, and maybe some paprika on the outside before cooking.
Now it’s time to slice up the bird and enjoy! I recommend eating first the parts of the chicken that was closet to the areas in which you inserted your paste. If you have any leftovers and are planning to use them in other ways, it’s better to use the chicken that didn’t get as much seasoning the first time around.