Romance of the Chicken

Cut up pieces of a roasted chicken on a plate

The Perfect Roast Chicken has taken on some mystical characteristics over the years. Who can forget the Engagement Chicken, a creation of Glamour magazine? Many marriages and engagements are credited to a recipe that is suppose to produce a perfect lemony chicken. Of course, the story goes that a woman makes the engagement chicken for her partner, often a man, and he subsequently proposes. The whole story is cute. Romantic fantasies of a partner did not spur my perfect roast chicken journey. Instead, I use the Perfect Roast Chicken to test out the quality of bird sold at the stores.

Cut up pieces of a roasted chicken on a plate

I am very particular about chicken. My childhood in Nigeria eating flavorful chicken has set a benchmark for what I consider good chicken. One of the things I have found difficult to source in America is good chicken. I know it may sound crazy because every store sells chicken. But, not all chickens are equal. When I go buy chicken, I assess not just the color of the chicken but the size. Extreme sized chicken leave me feeling astounded. It just makes no sense to me.

A Spatchcocked whole roasted chicken on a roasting tray.

Even after I do find chicken that looks good, there is the test taste. My Perfect Roast Chicken recipe is the way I test out if a store sells good chicken. To me, good chicken does not need more than salt to taste good when roasted. I know this may sound shocking coming from me, the girl that loves herbs and spices. The goal of the Perfect Roast Chicken test is to determine if the bird is of good quality without masking its flaws.

No matter how much herb and spices one dumps on a piece of meat, if the meat is substandard, the outcome would be substandard. This is why the Perfect Roast Chicken recipe with just salt added on the chicken is such an important test. When I roast a good bird, the meat comes out of the oven moist. After letting it rest for a few minutes, the moisture is absorbed back into the meat along with the salt. One special thing about my recipe for roast chicken is the high heat at the beginning of the roast. The 500F temperature helps to crisp up the skin. By reducing the oven back to 400F, I am able to then do a longer roast on the chicken.

The Perfect Roast Chicken is often the underpinning of my meal prep. I love to make multiple chickens at once, carve it up and store in the freezer. Since the chicken is so moist when I cook it, the dry heat does not make it inedible when I reheat it. Of course, I have a trick for heating up my chicken in the microwave oven that preserves its integrity.

The Perfect Roast Chicken recipe produces a lovely juicy chicken that is well flavored from the bone to the skin. It may seem so easy to buy a rotisserie chicken from the store. Remember though, there is something overwhelming special about know exactly what is in the food.

A Spatchcocked whole roasted chicken on a roasting tray.

The Perfect Roast Chicken

My ultimate recipe for making a whole chicken in the oven. The chicken is spatchcocked to cut down on cooking time. The chicken is started off at a high heat to get the skin crispy before cooking at a lower temperature.  This recipe is incredibly simple and hands off.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Course Dinner, Main Course


  • 1 5lbs Whole Chicken
  • 3 tbsp Salt
  • 1/4 cup Vegetable oil


  • Preheat oven to 500F.
  • Spatchcock the chicken. This means simply cutting open the back of the chicken by detaching the backbone from at least one side. You can completely remove the backbone if you prefer. One that is done, pat the chicken dry, both inside and outside on the skin.
  • Pour oil over the chicken and then massage in oil with the salt. Be more generous with the salt than you think is necessary. The salt helps to flavor the chicken
  • Place chicken in the oven on a roasting tray. Cook at 500F between 7-10minutes. Then turn down heat to 400F. Roast at 400F for about 40-45 minutes. 
  • Take out the perfect roast chicken from oven and allow it to rest for at least 15 minutes before carving and serving. 
Keyword chicken, roasted chicken


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