I’ve made cooked quite a few whole chickens at home over the years. I made most of them using my rotisserie-style chicken method, so I didn’t really focus too much on the skin. I usually end up pulling it off and throwing it away! It occurred to me that I’ve never really made good crispy chicken at home. But when I came across this odd recipe on NewYorker.com, I took it as a sign that it was time to give crispy-skinned chicken a try!
The strangest part about this recipe is that it involves blow-drying your chicken. Yes, you will have to get out your hair dryer and point it at your chicken. (And yes, you will probably feel a little bit crazy while you’re doing it!) But this step is important because it helps get the chicken skin really dry. And drying out the skin is key if you want it to turn out really crispy and delicious!
While my skepticism about this method continued throughout the cooking process, it evaporated once I gave it a taste. All I can say is WOW! This chicken is everything a really good roasted chicken should be: crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside, and full of flavor. I couldn’t stop eating it! I highly recommend giving it a try for yourself. I think you’ll be just as pleased as I was (even if you have to endure a few odd looks for using your hair dryer in the kitchen.) ;-)
Perfect Roast Chicken
- 1 whole chicken (3-5 lbs.)
- Kosher salt
- 3-4 cups roughly chopped vegetables
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Salt-free seasoning mix of your choice
Sauce Ingredients (Optional, see Step 6):
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1/2 lemon
- 2 Tbsp flour
Step 1 – Salt The Bird
The first step is to prep the chicken, and you’ll need to do this a day or two before you plan on cooking it. But the good news is that this part is super easy! First, grab a few paper towels and pat the bird dry inside and out. (If your chicken comes with giblets, discard them or freeze them to use later on.)
Once the bird is dry, season it generously inside and out with kosher salt (using about 1/2-1 teaspoon of salt per pound.) Set the salted chicken on a wire rack over a large plate or platter, then place the whole thing in your fridge. Let the chicken sit uncovered for at least 24 hours, or up to 48 hours. After the waiting period, the skin will look translucent and will be firm to the touch.
Step 2 – Blow-dry It
A couple of hours before dinnertime, remove the chicken from your fridge. Grab your trusty hair dryer and use the Cool setting to blow air all over the chicken. This will help dry out any remaining damp areas (which is key if you’re going to get it really crispy!) Make sure to get the underside of the bird and inside the cavity too.
Step 3 – Prep For Cooking
Put your chopped veggies in a big mixing bowl and add the vegetable oil. Use your hands to toss the veggies until everything is evenly coated.
Next, use your oily hands or a pastry brush to rub down the outside of the chicken with the remaining oil. Add a bit more if needed to make sure the chicken is completely coated.
Then sprinkle your seasoning mix of choice all over the chicken in an even layer. (Remember, the chicken is already quite salty so using a salt-free seasoning mix is key! I used Lawry’s Salt-Free seasoning mix, and it tasted amazing on this chicken!)
Finally, arrange your veggies in a 12″ cast-iron skillet or a 3-qt baking dish. Place your seasoned chicken on top of the veggies, breast-side up.
Step 4 – Cook
Place the skillet or dish in the center of your cold oven. Turn the oven on to preheat to 350°F. Once the oven comes to temperature, set a timer for 10 minutes. Then increase the oven temperature to 375°F and let it cook for another 10 minutes. Continue to increase the oven temperature in 25 increments every 10 minutes, until you reach 450°F.
Once at 450°F, let the chicken continue to roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the breast reads 155°F. (It should take an additional 20-25 minutes or so, bringing the total cooking time to about 80 minutes total.) The chicken will be browned, crisp, and the veggies will be nearly charred.
Step 5 – Rest & Serve!
Using a pair of tongs, transfer the chicken to a cutting board. Let it rest for at least 20 minutes, or up to an hour. This will keep the juices inside from running all over the place when you cut into to.
Carve the chicken and serve. Yum!
Step 6 (Optional) – Make A Sauce
The chicken is delicious as-is, but if you want to kick things up a notch, why not serve it with a tasty sauce? Start by pouring the drippings into a pan or skillet over medium heat. Pour in the chicken stock and the juice from the lemon half. Continue stirring and cooking until the sauce starts bubbling. While the sauce is heating up, melt the butter and stir the flour in to make a roux. When the sauce starts bubbling, add the roux and stir well until the mixture is smooth and shiny. Adjust seasoning as needed, and serve along side your chicken and roasted vegetables.
Doesn’t that look good?? I like to think this photo almost speaks for itself, but you’ll have to give this chicken dish a try to find out! ;-)