Of all the various roasts you can do, chicken is almost certainly the easiest. It's also probably the cheapest if you're cooking on a budget, but you can still it seem pretty fancy if you're out to impress someone.
One whole roasting chicken, 4-6 lbs.
Spice rub or salt & pepper
Large chef's knife
Cutting board and/or carving tray
Wire roasting rack (optional)
Make sure your chicken is thawed. If you are starting from frozen you can thaw a chicken slowly by putting it in the fridge for 36-48 hours, or my quickly by submerging it in warm water in a large bowl or your sink for 2-3 hours.
Pat the outside and inside dry with a paper towel. If you have time, you can also leave it unwrapped on the counter for a few hours before roasting; this will help the skin dry out and make it crispier when you cook it.
Make sure you remove the giblets, if your chicken has them. Most chickens are sold with the neck, the liver, and a few other bits in a small plastic bag stuffed into the main body cavity. You can boil these to make stock or cook them for gravy. Whatever you do you definitely don't want the plastic bag to melt inside your chicken.
Next, use your knife to cut off the wingtips. Make sure you knife is sharp and press down hard at the joint- you are going through cartilage and some small bones, so it won't just slide off easily.
Check the back end of the chicken- there's often an extra bit of skin and fat that is left on here. Trim it off as well but don't throw it out. If there isn't any or it's to small to cut easily, don't worry.
Your local grocery store will probably have a selection of at least 30 different spice rubs you can choose- it's almost impossible for any of them to go badly on chicken. If you don't want to buy one, just use some salt, ground pepper, and a dash or two of garlic powder instead.
Generally rub the skin of the chicken with the seasonings- make sure to get all the little crannies and the bottom as well.
Now we're going to tie up the chicken a little to keep it from drying out while it cooks. The best thing to use for this is actual kitchen twine, which is frequently red & white and often sold in the store around Thanksgiving. Almost anything will work (I've used both sewing thread and kite string in a pinch) so long as it's clean and NOT SYNTHETIC! You really don't want plastic string to melt and/or catch fire in the oven; that will ruin your dinner in multiple ways. This time I'm using some generic brown twine I had in my toolkit and praying it doesn't make the chicken taste to much like WD-40.
Anyway, tie a small loop around the ends of the drumsticks, pulling them together.
Tie a second, larger, loop around the body of the chicken, pinning the wings up close. You don't have to make this super-tight, just enough to hold things together. If you haven't already done so, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Now, take the little bit of extra fat and skin your trimmed off before and put it in the center of your roasting pan. It's going to help the chicken keep from drying out and sticking while it cooks.
Place the chicken in the center of the tray, breast-side up, right on top of the little pad of skin. If you've got a wire roasting rack, you can also use that, just be careful since it tends to make the chicken cooking a little quicker.
Bake at 350 degrees (Fahrenheit) for about an hour and 10 minutes. Closer to an hour if your chicken is on the small side, maybe an hour-and-15 if it's particularly large.
Bam! That's it! One roast chicken.
Take it out of the oven, cut off the string tying it together, and let the chicken sit for at least 10 minutes before serving, so that it cools off and so the juices stay inside. This is a a great time to use a carving board instead of a cutting board, if you've got one. Carving boards have a little groove around the edge that will catch any juice that drips out.
To learn how to carve a chicken, follow this finely crafted link!
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