Basic Roast Chicken from the Draeger's Cooking School Files

By Draeger's Cooking School

Serves 4-6

1 4-pound whole fryer chicken
3 lemons
6 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
4 sprigs rosemary
½ stick unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 tablespoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Special Equipment:
Cotton kitchen twine
Instant-read thermometer


Preheat the oven to 450°F.
Remove the chicken from its wrapping. Remove the giblets. Rinse the chicken, inside and out, under cold, running water. Place the chicken on a clean cutting board and pat the chicken dry inside and out with paper towels. Allow the chicken to come to room temperature for about an hour, but no longer.

Slice 2 lemons about ¼ inch thick. Lay the lemons down in one layer in the center of a roasting pan, creating a bed on which the chicken will rest.

Take the third lemon and cut lengthwise into quarters, but not all the way through so the quarters stay connected. Stuff the lemon, the garlic cloves and rosemary sprigs into the cavity of the chicken.

Tie the legs of the chicken together using cotton twine. Using your fingertips spread the softened butter all over the surface of the chicken, spreading all over the skin. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes at 425°F. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F and continue roasting the chicken for 40 minutes more. Check the internal temperature of the chicken by inserting an instant-read thermometer into the thigh (internal temperature should read 170°F). Also, when the juices that run out of the bird are clear, the chicken is done.

Remove the chicken from the oven and tent with foil. Allow the chicken to rest for at least 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

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