Who can resist a crisp, juicy roasted bird? As it cooks, it releases a wonderful aroma and a symphony of sizzles and crackles. Our recipe for Basic Roast Chicken is one that you will serve with pleasure again and again.
Rinse and dry the bird (see our technique for Storing Chicken), then secure the legs and wings as shown below. Season the skin and set on a rack in a roasting pan. To allow the underside to brown, it’s best to elevate the bird on a rack so that it sits above the drippings.
The key to a perfectly roasted chicken is to cook it long enough so that it reaches a safe internal temperature (180° in the thigh) yet is still moist and tender. Although a thermometer is the most accurate indicator, you can also judge doneness by jiggling the drumstick in its socket (it should move easily) and by piercing the thigh with a fork to check if the juices run clear and that there is no sign of pink in the meat.
Tying Drumsticks to Tail
Lay the bird, breast-side up, on the cutting board. Cut off a 12-inch length of kitchen string. Overlap the legs, then loop the string around the ends and the tail; pull tight to secure. Tie in a bow (the string will be cut away before the bird is carved and served).
Twisting Wings Under
Fasten the neck skin to the back with metal skewers or toothpicks. Pull the wings out, twist the tips under the bird, and push the wings in against the body.
Rubbing with Seasonings
Brush the entire bird with butter or oil as directed in the recipe. With your fingers, rub the seasonings onto the skin, then pat to adhere.
Basting the Bird
To add flavor and moisture, and to encourage browning, use a bulb baster or large spoon to occasionally baste the chicken with pan juices as it roasts. Do this quickly, as the oven temperature drops each time the door is opened.