A whole fried chicken is one of those things that can be incredibly tasty or incredibly bland. My own approach to chicken is similar to how I look at tomatoes or pizza: if they’re just so-so, don’t even care. But when they’re good, they’re really good, and I’ve made tons of versions trying to figure out how to cook a whole chicken.
For example, there is the method that requires flipping the remedy through cooking, or the technique that involves salting in advance, or the method that crams all kinds of flavors under the skin. I’ve tried almost all of them and I’m excited to report that the best fried chicken recipe is extremely simple. Aside from the basic EVOO + salt and pepper equation, there are three secrets I can count on to ensure the juiciest bird with crispy golden brown skin every time.
Read on for how to roast a whole chicken for the best results and scroll down for the recipe.
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Roast Chicken Tip # 1: Remove the backbone before roasting.
If you are wondering the easiest and fastest way to roast a whole chicken, the answer lies in the butterfly technique, also known as removing the spine. I ask the butcher to remove it when I’m at the supermarket to really make my life easier, but you can also do it yourself. First, remove the giblets, rinse and pat the chicken dry. Place your bird on a cutting board with its backbone up. It’s easiest to use kitchen scissors to cut along both sides of the spine. Throw away the backbone, flip the chest side up and gently squeeze with your palm to flatten the chicken. You are ready!
Why Do You Decorate Your Chicken Before Roasting? In short, this creates more surface area to come in direct contact with the heat, resulting in the crispiest, golden-brown skin we go for. Plus, it cuts your cooking time in half (always a bonus).
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Roast chicken tip no.2: Let rest for 30 minutes.
I know this seems like a very long time, but believe me: it’s worth the wait and makes the best fried chicken. I’m not sure where I originally picked up this weird little technique, but it really makes a huge difference. If you let the chicken rest after it comes out of the oven, all of these wonderful juices will spread all over the bird, making it super moist and flavorful. “But isn’t it getting cold?” You may be wondering. I did too, but luckily there is a solution for that. Just before serving, place the chicken in your preheated oven for five minutes. This is the perfect time to warm up without drying it out. Carve and eat!
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Roast Chicken Tip # 3: Have the Sauce Make Your Own.
One night Adam suggested that I throw some cherry tomatoes in the pan next to our chicken while it was roasting. I thought this was a strange idea because I knew in this heat the tomatoes would crumble and turn to mush – and I was right, but it turns out that’s what makes this one so well. This one simple step creates a slow-toasted tomato confit that looks almost like a sauce and is infused with a sweetness that compliments the chicken and creates a condiment that doesn’t require effort. Now I add flavor by cutting a whole garlic in half (squeeze the cloves on the chicken to get garlic paste instantly!) And adding lots of lemon wedges that caramelize in the oven to a candy-like consistency. Yum.
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Here, I line up this fried chicken with a coriander salsa verde that is drizzled at the end, but for simplicity you can skip this step entirely. The combination of tomatoes, garlic, and lemon is aromatic enough to stand on its own.
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Now that you know how to fry a whole chicken for maximum flavor and minimal effort, I’d love to hear if you try this recipe! Rate and check the recipe below, and tag us on Instagram so I can see your version.
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