Roasting a whole chicken in a hot oven is one of the few reliable pleasures in life. Here’s our favorite basic formula; the seasoning is endlessly variable.
- 1 3–4 lb chicken
- 1 t kosher salt
- 2 T butter or olive oil
- + peeled and quartered onions, garlic cloves, and/or carrots
- + fresh herbs and/or sliced lemons
At least 12 hours in advance, sprinkle your chicken all over with the salt. Leave in the refrigerator uncovered; this lets the meat absorb the salt and the skin dry out.
When you’re ready to cook, heat the oven to 400°F.
Rub the chicken with butter or olive oil and set it in a roasting pan fitted with a roasting rack or on top of a bed of the onions, garlic, and/or carrots. Place enough herbs and lemons in the cavity to fill it. Roast the chicken for 60–65 minutes, until the skin is rendered, crispy, and browned and the middle of the breast and the joint where the thigh meets the body registers 160°F on a thermometer. Remove from the oven and let rest 10 minutes before carving.