An adage exists that every home cook should know how to roast a chicken. This may conjure a vision of a 1950s housewife carrying a tanned but juicy slow-roasted chicken to the dinner table, the only evidence of her culinary feat in the apron she wears over her tea-length swing dress.
No matter your gender, you too can emerge triumphantly from the kitchen with a whole roasted chicken and sides to boot without breaking a sweat. The stylish 1950s housewife made it look easy because she learned that it could be easy. Learn from her savvy and stay mum about the fact that you could flip through a book or scroll on social while you watch the oven do the work.
How to Slow Roast a Chicken
All you need for the slow-roasted chicken is a whole chicken, salt, pepper, and extra virgin olive oil. Preheat the oven, wash and dry the chicken (clean out the cavity), then massage the seasoning and rich olive oil onto the skin and just under the skin of the bird. Place on a roasting tray and bake until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 165ºF.
Also read: Slow-Roasted Garlic Chicken
Slow-roasted chicken takes time—a few hours in the oven. Cooking the chicken slowly in the oven gives it the juicy flavor, tender texture, and crisp skin similar to a rotisserie-cooked chicken. The low and slow approach where you cook the bird covered for half of the entire cook time helps ensure moist, evenly cooked meat.
To make it a meal, roast some vegetables either in the same roasting pan as the chicken or on a separate baking sheet while the chicken cooks. We used cabbage, carrots, and onion, but you could also roast squash, potatoes, bell peppers, turnips, parsnips, green beans, or broccoli. Adjust the bake time for whatever vegetables you use and how large or small you cut them; if you want soft but not pulverized veggies, don’t plan to cook them for three hours.
FAQs About Slow-Roasted Chicken
What Size Roasting Tin or Dish Should You Use?
Use whatever roasting tin, dish, Dutch oven, or cast-iron skillet you have. As long as the chicken fits into the vessel, you’re fine. Note that this cooking method suggests covering the chicken for the first two hours of the total cooking time. If you prefer not to use aluminum foil to cover your chicken, look for a roasting tin, dish, or pot that has a lid that will fit over the chicken.
How Long Does It Take to Cook a Slow-Roast Chicken?
Also read: How to Roast a Chicken
A three-pound chicken should take about three hours to slow roast in the oven at 300ºF.
What Are the Signs That the Chicken Is Cooked?
Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the bird and let it read the internal temperature for 30 seconds. If the temperature reads 160-165ºF, the chicken is done.
If you don’t have a meat thermometer, remove the bird from the oven. Slice into the bird near one of its thighs. If the juices run clear, the chicken should be cooked. The chicken breast meat should be even white in color. You may see some slightly pink-colored meat in the darker thigh meat; this is normal.
How Do You Avoid a Dry Chicken?
Nobody wants to gnaw on dried-out chicken meat. Follow these tips to ensure you bake a juicy bird every time:
Lather the bird in fat. Pour on plenty of olive or avocado oil on the outside (and just underneath) the skin to keep it moist. Butter also works well to keep the bird juicy and crisp the skin. Cook the chicken breast-side down for the first two hours. Rest the chicken breast on the bottom of the roasting rack or pot for the first half of the total cook time.
Cover the chicken. This will allow the juices dripping from the thighs, wings, and cavity to run down the breasts and keep them moist. When the chicken is cooked, remove it from the oven, cover it, and let rest.
Don’t cut into the chicken for 15 minutes so the juices stay inside the bird and not spilled onto your cutting board and counter.
For more information, please see more information about Slow roasting a whole chicken in the oven