This rotisserie style roasted chicken is the most flavorful & tender roasted chicken – EVER!
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Winter Storm Elliott – and I’m finally blogging!
So, we live in a part of the US that doesn’t get a whole lot of storms with “names,” if you know what I mean – no hurricanes or tropical storms here! Sure, we get completely dumped on with lake effect snow every winter, but it doesn’t usually make national news. The week before Christmas, our little corner of the world DID, in fact, make the news, as we experienced a “Bomb Cyclone,” and an actual named winter storm/blizzard that came our way! My little people are Michigan born and bred, and *love* the snow – so they were pretty much in seventh heaven for this experience with all the snow play they could endure!
Hunkering down and perfecting recipes!
Over the past couple of months, I’ve taken a little blogging break to refresh, as well as recipe test and perfect some new content for you! The winter storm had us pretty homebound for a number of days, and I was able to get some real work done – including a this recipe that I have been working on for a YEAR!
A pretty hefty claim….
The *most* flavorful & tender chicken – EVER. I know that is a lot to claim, and I can truly say that after a year of working on this recipe, I use this chicken method almost every week now, simply to hear the rave reviews from my family, and completely devoured chicken every single time. Picture the most tender, flavorful rotisserie chicken made right in your home! It is truly mouthwatering – and I don’t say that about a lot of chicken recipes. But there are a couple of very simple secrets to getting the flavor, and I’ll show you just how to do it!
Flavor and Moisture Secret #1 :: The Salt Brine
I know what you’re thinking...I don’t have TIME to brine! I’m not talking about a fussy water bath, or salt water brine here though. This is literally rubbing the whole chicken in a ton of sea salt, and letting it sit in the salt all day. It’ takes minutes to prep – if that. You’ll rinse and pat dry your chicken, then set it up on a wire rack. Then sprinkle all the sea salt over the skin, and inside of the cavity of the chicken. The salt will get drawn into the chicken making every. single. bite – insanely flavorful. Like the best rotisserie chicken. This “dry brine” method is something I have done with my Thanksgiving turkey for years, and it really works well for a whole chicken too!
Flavor & Moisture Secret #2 :: Mayonnaise
I know, I know…but hear me out. Typically we butter or olive oil the outside of the bird, correct? Mayo is really just olive oil, seasoning, and a little egg…basically the same fatty covering to encourage a crispy, roasted skin! The mayo makes the *best* protective coating for the chicken to get brown and crispy, and it tastes so good too! I add just a few herbs – you can use whatever you want! Then rub down the chicken and it’s ready to roast. If you don’t happen to keep mayo in the house often, butter will work as well. If you have the mayo – try it at least once! You won’t be sorry!
Flavor & Moisture Secret #3 :: The Roasting Method
My original roasted chicken recipe is a more low and slow method. It uses liquid in a pan with a lid to do more of a “braise” than a true roast. It works well for pastured chickens that are lean, but it does take all afternoon to cook. Great for a Sunday…not so great for a weekday! This roasting method works just as well with lean, pastured chicken, but it is more of a higher intensity heat for a shorter duration. The sea salt brine locks in moisture – and I promise you will not have a dry chicken here! Simply roast the chicken for a little over an hour, and you’ll be good to go.
Flavor & Moisture Secret #4 :: Let the Chicken Rest
I’m making a whole separate section for this step because I want you to figure this time into your “cooking” time. Once your chicken reaches an internal temp of 165 degrees within about 1 hour and a half, then you want to pull the chicken out to rest for a full 30 minutes before carving it. FIGURE THIS INTO YOUR COOKING TIME so you aren’t disappointed when you have to wait another half hour for dinner! It is worth the wait to let all of those juices redistribute into the bird so that when you DO carve the chicken, it is so juicy and not dry at all.
How do I use this roasted chicken?
Dear momma, this is a GREAT prep day chicken for your week. Sure, it makes a yummy Sunday dinner, but you can make one or two of these chickens on the same day and use it like you would a store bought rotisserie chicken.
- Top your salads for lunch
- Pack it like a deli meat sandwich for the kids’ lunchboxes
- Use it to toss in a stir fry or soup for dinner
Tools you might be interested in!
Because I know I’ll get some questions about the pan & wire rack, what kind of mayo I used, and even meat thermometer recs, I’m going to leave those right here!
- For 1 whole chicken, a “quarter” baking sheet and wire rack work great! If you are doing 2 chickens, you’ll use a larger sheet pan.
- I get my avocado mayo at Costco. Most regular grocery stores where I live carry these healthier oil mayos now, but look around and see what you can find. You could also make your own! I have a classic mayo recipe in my cookbook, The Little Lunchbox Cookbook!
- If I could become a spokesperson for this little smart meat thermometer…I would! And I don’t particularly like “selling” things! This “Smart MEATer” would be fun to put on your birthday list for this year. I just pop it into the breast before I put the chicken in the oven, and it alerts my phone of the internal temp, and how long it will take to reach 165 degrees! That is a game changer, and takes the guess work out of how many pounds equals how many minutes! See the image below to see how small this thermometer is, and how it goes right into the meat so easily.
Mayo Roasted Chicken :: The most flavorful & tender roasted chicken – EVER!
Dry Brine the Chicken:
- Cover your chicken in salt for at least 4 hours before cooking. This is called a dry brine. I salt my chicken in the morning and leave it uncovered all day until ready to cook for dinner. You can even do this up to a day in advance.
- To do the salting (dry brine), rinse your whole chicken and pat it dry with a paper towel. Cover the chicken skin with the sea salt, including sprinkling some of the salt on the inside of the chicken. Leave the chicken on a wire rack on a small baking sheet. The chicken will drip some of it’s liquid, so it is best to not just set it on a plate, or it will sit in all the liquid and the bottom skin will not get nice and dry to crisp up.
- Leave the chicken UNCOVERED in the fridge to brine. The chicken will need to be at ROOM TEMPERATURE before roasting, so be sure to take it out of the fridge an hour or so before roasting.
Prepare the Chicken for Roasting:
- Once the chicken has brined in the salt all day, AND has come to room temp for at least an hour, pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees for a conventional oven, or if you are convection/air frying do 400 degrees.
- DO NOT rinse the salt from the chicken. I promise it will not be too salty – chicken needs the seasoning, and the salt was pulled into the chicken meat so that every single bite is flavorful.
- Mix the mayo, garlic powder, thyme, and coconut aminos in a small bowl, and then brush over the outside of your ROOM TEMPERATURE chicken (top and bottom).
Roast the Chicken:
- Roast the chicken at 425 degrees for about 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 hour and 40 minutes depending on the size. Use a thermometer to get the internal temperature to 165 degrees. I recently got a Meater, and it just stays in the chicken while it cooks, and tells me on my phone when it is done – SO nice!
- Once the chicken has roasted and reached 165 degrees internally, pull the chicken out from the oven and let it rest on the counter for 30 minutes before carving. If you cut the chicken right away, the juices will leave the meat, and it will dry out. This resting time allows the juices to redistribute – it is SO worth the wait so count this time into your cook time so you aren’t disappointed when you can’t eat it right away!