I am often asked: What is the best way to roast a chicken?
Roasting a whole chicken is something everyone should know how to do. My steps to a perfect roast chicken are: brine, rinse, dry, roast, rest. It sounds like a lot, but it’s not.
Brining ensures moistness. For a 4- to 5-pound chicken, make a brine with about 1 gallon of water and 1 cup kosher salt. Sometimes, I change it up and use ½ cup kosher salt and ½ cup sugar. You also can substitute cider, juices, beer or wine for some of the water.
Dissolve the water and salt in a big pot and submerge the chicken in it. Put in the refrigerator and allow it to soak for about 5 to 6 hours. For a whole chicken, figure about one hour of brining time per pound.
After brining, take the chicken out, discard brine and rinse the chicken inside and out under cold water. Place it on a platter, pat it dry and place it back in the refrigerator for an hour to dry the skin. Take it out of the refrigerator an hour before roasting.
Season the chicken inside and out with salt and pepper. If you like, you can add savory vegetables to the cavity: a cut-up onion, a celery rib or two with some leaves attached and a few cloves of garlic.
Place the chicken on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Using a rack ensures that the chicken browns and the skin crisps evenly on all sides. Use kitchen twine to tie the legs together.
Add some chicken broth or water to the bottom of the pan to prevent the pan drippings from burning.
I always start out at a high temperature of about 400-425 degrees for the first 20 minutes and then drop it to 350 degrees for about another hour. Or start low and then increase the temperature to brown the chicken evenly. Either way works.
The chicken is done when it reaches 165 degrees in the breast and thigh. Remove from the oven and let it rest about 10 minutes before carving.