Martha Stewart's Perfect Roast Chicken

Since Hubby got his smoker, I've been buying whole chickens and all sorts of other meats and keeping them stockpiled in our chest freezer in the garage. I typically forget about everything that's out there and when Hubby feels like smokin', he pulls things from there.

I'd been seeing quite a few food bloggers doing roast chickens recently and I really wanted to try my hand at it. I spent over an hour searching through different recipes, and let me tell you, there are a zillion recipes out there for roast chicken. Some require tons of ingredients and some barely require more than the chicken itself. I came across this recipe on Ezra Pound Cake.  I love the things that Rebecca does and I am a huge Martha fan. It didn't hurt either that the recipe called for rosemary and lemons.

I was a tad bit nervous/anxious/excited about roasting my first chicken. I'd never roasted anything other than veggies and I had defnitely never "trussed" anything.

It didn't help that I have kind of a weak stomach. Not in the sense that consuming certain foods doesn't sit well, but in that the view/thought/feel of certain things can send my stomach flip flopping. Textures can cause me big issues. Things like bananas and cottage cheese - nope, not happening.  The sight of a whole fish (head intact) on the plate in front of me, yep that'll do it too.

Pulling the innards out of a chicken is one of those things. I'd never done that before and Hubby wasn't home or else I'd be pleading with him to take care of it for me. Hubby's surgical gloves that he bought to use with all the different meats he puts on the smoker, came in VERY handy. I also used another pair of those gloves when stuffing the chicken and rubbing it with the butter.

I followed this recipe pretty much line by line, except that I had read somewhere that after rinsing the chicken and removing the innards, you should pat the chicken dry and place it uncovered in a dish in the refrigerator for 1-2 days.  Supposedly this aids in the crisping of the skin. I didn't have 1-2 days, but I did let it sit in the fridge for about 8 hours.

This chicken was absolutely fantastic. And I don't know that fantastic does it justice. The skin was super crispy and flavorful, and the chicken was deliciously moist. The lemon, garlic and rosemary definitely came through for sure - but not overpoweringly so. And when it comes down to it, roasting a chicken is really not hard at all - I'm sure next time I can prep a chicken in a jiffy, having done it once now.

PS! Don't skip the pan sauce. I wanted to because the chicken was calling out to me, but that pan sauce is rich and sinful!!!

Martha Stewart's Perfect Roast Chicken

Adapted from “Martha Stewart’s Cooking School”

Serves 4

For the chicken:
1 fresh whole chicken (about 4 pounds)
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 lemon, cut into 1/4-inch rounds
4 sprigs rosemary
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

For pan sauce:
1/2 cup dry white wine or chicken stock
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

To prepare the chicken: Heat oven to 450 degrees F. Remove giblets and liver from cavity; discard. Let chicken rest at room temperature 1 hour. Trim excess fat from cavity. Rinse chicken thoroughly under cold water, inside and out, then pat dry, making sure the cavity is as dry as possible. Season cavity with salt and pepper, then stuff with lemon, rosemary and garlic. Rub skin with 2 tablespoons butter. Tie chicken’s legs together with twine. Season all over generously with salt and pepper.

To roast: Place chicken in a large ovenproof skillet or small roasting pan (fitted with rack, if desired). Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh (avoiding bone) registers 165 degrees F, 50 to 55 minutes. Transfer chicken to a platter. Let rest 10 minutes.

To make pan sauce: Spoon and discard fat from juices in pan; pour accumulated juices in chicken cavity and plate into pan. Place pan over medium-high heat. Pour in wine or stock to deglaze pan, stirring and scraping up browned bits with a wooden spoon. Cook until reduced by half, then pour through a small fine sieve into a liquid measuring cup. Return to skillet and add 1 tablespoon butter, swirling pan until melted and incorporated.

Carve chicken and serve with pan sauce.


  1. This roast chicken looks gorgeous! I love homemade roast chicken, there's nothing like taking the sizzling chicken out of the oven and waiting to carve it out.


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