Just about everything that is onerous and terrifying about roasting chicken goes away when you slow-roast. Since the low, long cooking guarantees awesomely sticky skin and juicy, tender flesh—albeit of a meltier and, to me, tastier sort than you get from hot-roasted birds—there’s no smoke alarm smashing, nor is there a need to salt the chicken in advance, which smart people say helps promote, well, juicy, tender flesh. You don’t even need to let the bird come to room temperature before you pop it in the oven—an hour or so of waiting swapped for an hour or so of extra roasting time.
And you can even stuff the cavity with herbs and lemon without worrying about derailing skin-crisping or coat the skin with spices or sauce without worrying about burning. In other words, the technique requires no forethought, no fuss, and perhaps best of all, no thermometer, the typical five-minute window of perfect doneness stretched to half an hour, maybe more. In fact, this method requires only a timer. If the chicken isn’t delicious at 2½ hours, then your oven is busted, and no recipe can help with that.
- Preheat the oven to 325°F.
- Pat the chicken dry with paper towels inside and out. Season the chicken with salt inside and out. Wash your hands in scalding hot water until chafed, 10 to 15 minutes. Drizzle the olive oil all over the chicken and rub with your hands. Wash your hands several more times, as needed.
- Set a timer for 2½ hours. Roast the chicken breast side up in a heavy skillet, doing nothing, until the timer goes off. Let it rest on a cutting board for about 10 minutes, reserving the fatty, sticky stuff left in the skillet. Carve the chicken according to the approximately 1 million videos available online. Spoon on some of the fatty, sticky stuff, season to taste with salt, and serve.
JJ Goode helps great chefs write cookbooks.