This recipe produces a flavourfully seasoned, moist roast chicken or turkey with a nice, crisp skin.
We used to raise our own chickens. They would run all over our yard in the summertime. A few times, if we didn’t get them inside soon enough in the evening, a fox took some of them. Yes, just like in the storybooks. In the fall, we would fill our freezer with the remaining 6 1/2 to 7 1/2 lb. chickens. Throughout the following year, I roasted chickens regularly.
We didn’t have chickens this year, though, because we went away for several weeks of the summer, the timing of our trip to Colorado being planned around the arrival of our newest grandson. I don’t miss chickens on my lawn, but I do miss them in the freezer. Am I allowed to say that?
Moist Roast Chicken
Not only does this method of roasting produce a moist roast chicken, but also leftovers for more quick meals. These days, I’m purchasing large chickens or small turkeys for our dinner table.
If you are looking for a nice variation on cranberry sauce to go with your chicken or turkey, you might like Easy Cranberry Sauce with Mango.
Size Makes a Difference
This is a recipe for a 7-pound chicken. However, it will work for any size of chicken or turkey. You’ll just need to adjust your cooking times according to the guidelines below.
If your chicken or turkey was frozen, defrost it in the refrigerator. These are approximate cooking times for an unstuffed, defrosted or fresh bird. They include the half hour of cooking at a high heat at the beginning.
- 4-6 lb. chicken – 2 hours
- 6-8 lb. turkey – 2 1/2 hours
- 8-10 lb. turkey – 2 3/4 hours
- 10-12 lb. turkey – 3 hours
- 12-16 lb. turkey – 3 1/4 hours
- 16 – 20 lb. turkey – 3 3/4 hours
- 20 – 24 lb. turkey – 4 hours
Check for doneness by inserting a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the meat not touching a bone.
Your chicken or turkey is done when the internal temperature is 165 F, according to Foodsafety.gov.
Although this recipe is very easy to make and gives great results, you should plan to start it two days before serving. That’s when you apply the dry rub, the secret to the amazing flavour! It’s fine for the meat to be partially frozen at this point. However, the seasoning will cling best to thawed skin.
This doesn’t take much time – just a little planning!
Roast Chicken or Turkey
- 1 7-pound whole chicken
- 1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
- 1 teaspoon dried sage
- 1 teaspooon dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- freshly cracked pepper
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 cup water
- Rinse the chicken thoroughly inside and out. Pat it dry with paper towels. Combine the salt and herbs and rub them all over the outside of the chicken. Place it in a roasting pan and cover. Refrigerate for 48 hours, turning it over once after about 24 hours.(If your roasting pan doesn't have a lid, you can cover yours with aluminum foil and pinch it snugly around the edges of your pan.)
- Remove the cover. Discard any liquid in the pan, and give it a rinse. Place the chicken or turkey on a rack in the roasting pan, breast side up. Season with pepper. Let sit at room temperature for two hours.
- Preheat the oven to 500F. Brush the chicken all over with melted butter. (You can melt the butter by placing it briefly in the preheating oven. Don't forget about it, though!) Roast, uncovered, on lower rack in oven until the breast is golden brown, 30 minutes.
- Remove pan from oven. Reduce temperature to 350F. Pour water into pan. Cover. Return to oven, and roast until the internal temperature reads 165 F, about 2 1/2 hours total cooking time for a 7-pound bird.
- Remove chicken or turkey from oven. Tilt to empty cavity juices into pan. Let rest, tented with foil, 20 minutes before carving.
An hour before your chicken or turkey has finished cooking, you may add some root vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, and onions to the pan for a complete meal.