Roasting whole chickens is great for several reasons: per pound they’re cheaper than boneless skinless breasts, cooking meat on the bone makes it juicer, and the leftover carcass supplies bones for bone broth. Making sure each part of the bird cooks at the same rate is tricky and has been known to cause mass frustration amongst cooks everywhere. This recipe takes a cue from Cooks Illustrated’s techniques of using a preheated pan and finishing with low heat for more even cooking. The tallow withstands high temperatures and yields a brown, crispy skin.
whole chicken, 3.5-4 lb.
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tbsp melted tallow
*meat thermometer required
Preheat oven and 12-inch skillet (cast iron works great) to 450 degrees F.
Mix salt & pepper in a small bowl. Water is the death of flavor, so thoroughly dry your bird. Check again that it’s really dry.
Pour tallow over entire chicken, including underside. Yep, this is messy business. Working quickly before the tallow hardens, sprinkle on salt and pepper. Make sure to give extra spicy love to the breast, legs, and thigh.
After oven is preheated, carefully remove skillet. IMPORTANT!!! Leave potholder draped over the pan’s handle so you don’t cook your own flesh. Trust us- it makes your chicken taste bad.
Carefully place chicken inside the pan, breast side up. Place pan in the oven with breasts near the door and legs in the back, because the back of the oven is hotter. Roast until breasts measure 120 degrees and thighs are 135, which takes around 30 minutes. Turn oven off and let chicken cook for around 30 minutes more, until breasts are 160 and thighs are 175.
Let chicken rest for 15 minutes before carving. If you feel like getting your chef groove on, make a pan sauce with the drippings.