There are some foods that, when you really nail them—like really, really hit them exactly on the head—they can change your life. Take brownies, for one. You get the exact texture—the perfect mix between fudge-y and cakey—and it's transformative. (I, for one, love .) Scrambled eggs are another—I've explained my , but I won't tell it again here, as I already feel myself getting too far off topic.
But roasted chicken is, as far as I'm concerned, the end all/be all. The perfectly roasted chicken can be a life-altering experience—it's the kind of thing that you make for someone when you want them to fall in love with you. It's not even just about the taste, which can be beyond heavenly in that salty/savory/juicy way. It's about the absolute ease in the entire experience: You take a whole chicken, and with salt, pepper, and heat that's strategically applied in the exact right way, you turn it something mind-blowing. It doesn't seem like it should be possible.
Everyone has a favorite recipe, and at the risk of sounding obnoxious, I take issue with a lot of them. First, I'm impatient, so I don't want anything that takes a lengthy amount of time. (Most recipes ask that you roast for at least an hour and a half.) Second, I'm supremely lazy—so I also don't want to rub the bird with anything annoying, or stuff it with anything hard-to-find. (I recently made , which requires a coat of compound butter and being filled with a million different herbs. After peeling my twelfth clove of garlic and stripping my tenth stem of fresh oregano, I found myself cursing at her like a trucker. The endless seasoning had zero effect on the flavor of the bird—it did, however, make my hands smell like garlic for five days.)
This recipe beats all of them.
Here's why. It requires nothing more than a sharp knife, and salt and pepper. Plus, it's done in an hour—no matter how big the chicken is. (I know that sounds insane, but trust me: I've made this recipe with nearly every size chicken, and it always comes out perfectly cooked.) The end result is a chicken with the most insanely savory skin—a little crispy, perfectly browned, crunchy with salt—and meat that's always juicy and (dare I say it?!) .
The secret is in the way it's roasted. I learned about spatchcocking (literally the worst word EVER) from something I read about Tyler Florence years ago ... I think. I'm actually not sure. Spatchcocking means to cut the bird down the back—along both sides of the spine—and then splaying it out on a roasting pan. This technique is NOT HARD, so please don't be afraid. It is, however, super weird: stare at it long enough, and a spatchcocked chicken starts to look like a naked lady.
Once it's cut, the chicken is then roasted on a really high heat (425 degrees F) for 20 minutes, and then turned down (to 350 degrees F) for the final 40 minutes. The high heat makes the skin crisp, the low heat makes the meat tender. You do nothing but wait.
This recipe is the winner winner of all chicken dinners—and I implore you to take the roast chicken challenge and see how it can transform your life. Some suggestions: make this when your boss is coming over and you want a raise. Make this when your best guy friend needs to realize that you're the love of his life. Make this when your husband needs a reminder of why he married you in the first place.
Or just make this for yourself, when you've finally decided that your life needs changing.
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