What if I told you that the perfect roast chicken only needs three ingredients, is incredibly juicy and ready in under an hour? Seems impossible…right? Well, it is completely possible right in your own kitchen. All we need is a good roaster, some duck fat and seasonings. That’s it. Check out the recipe.
This perfect roast chicken recipe is: Gluten Free, Paleo, Low Carb and oh so juicy.
The perfect roast chicken recipe has crispy golden skin and incredible flavor.
For years now, I have spent a lot of time preparing chickens to roast. I would go through the “not fun” process of separating the skin from the bird. Sometimes I would use my hands. Other times I would use a spoon because my hands were too big to get under the skin without tearing it. I would load those birds up with butter, lemon, herbs and other aromatics. Roasting a chicken was an event… and not a pleasant one.
About six months ago, I learned about a different method for cooking chicken. No need to maul the bird like an angry bear to get delicious results. This method is so easy that I’m almost embarrassed to be posting this recipe up. The big difference is the fat used to cook the chicken. Let’s dig in deeper.
Traditional Roast Chicken
I was taught to use butter to make the perfect roast chicken. It seems like the most common ingredient I have read about and enjoyed on a chicken myself. Butter with a mix of citrus, fresh herbs, aromatics, salt and pepper. Sounds like most of the recipes you’ve seen or have cooked, right? Some recipes have the cavity stuffed with citrus and herbs as well.
After the chicken is thoroughly seasoned, most recipes call for the bird to be trussed (tied up). Trussing is supposed to ensure even cooking by securing the legs and covering the cavity. Supposedly this prevents the breast from drying out from the inside. Additionally, by trussing the bird you will have a lovely looking roast chicken. I love being in the kitchen, but I hate trussing a bird. It’s just another step in a process that is already too long.
The result of all this work? Sometimes the butter roast chicken would be delicious and other times it would be dry. There seemed to be no rhyme nor reason behind it. To me it felt like a huge gamble. Lots of work and time spent for a hit-or-miss result.
The Duck Fat Method
Now let’s talk about roasting a chicken in duck fat. Oh I love duck fat. Just about any recipe cooked with this silky substance will have unparalleled depth and flavor. The reason for this is straightforward: duck fat is both stable and has a high smoke point. As a stable fat, it will not have an altered flavor profile as it heats like butter or olive oil can tend to do. With a high smoke point we will be able to develop beautiful browning without even thinking about it.
For the perfect roast chicken, we need to make sure that our ingredients are going to behave the same way, every time we cook this recipe. Duck fat always acts the same. Unlike butter, there are no milk solids that can burn and we will not be taking it to a temperature where it will start to smoke. The duck fat method for cooking chicken is reliable, which I like.
Not only is it reliable, it is really easy. Are you ready for this? Just rub the duck fat all over the bird and apply a liberal coating of salt and pepper. That’s it. Nothing else needed. We put the bird in a cast iron dutch oven (about 10″ in diameter is what I used) and roast it for 1 hour.
We enjoy this perfect roast chicken recipe about once a week at our house. It always turns out juicy and the skin is just so crisp.
QUICK COOKING TIP: My suggestion is to not truss the chicken at all. Here’s why: we are going to roast the chicken breast side up for the first 15 minutes. After that, we are going to rotate the chicken. We’ll use tongs and pick up the bird by inserting one side of the tong into the cavity and the other on the breast meat. We need to be able to get into the cavity to make this process easy and safe. When we rotate the chicken, we’ll let it cook breast side down for the remaining 45 minutes. Not only will this make super crispy skin, but the juice from the dark meat will keep the breast meet tender and juicy.
Wow. What a lot of information about roasting a chicken. Let’s get into the meat of this perfect roast chicken recipe.
Perfect Roast Chicken
- 1 3-4 LB Whole Chicken rinsed & dried. Remove the giblet goodie bag too.
- 4 TBSP Duck Fat divided
- 1/2 TSP Kosher Salt
- 1/4 TSP Fresh Cracked Pepper
- Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
- While the oven is heating, coat the entire bottom of the chicken with 2 TBSP of the duck fat. Liberally apply salt and pepper.
- Place the chicken, breast side up, in a cast iron dutch oven or other high sided heavy pot. Coat the breast, wings and legs with the remaining duck fat. Liberally apply salt and pepper.
- Place in the oven and cook for 15 minutes. Turn down the heat to 375 degrees and remove the pot from the oven.
- Using tongs, flip the chicken so it is breast side down in the pan. Place back in the oven and cook for another 40-45 minutes or until the juices run clear.
- Remove from the oven and cover the pot for 10 minutes to allow the meat to rest.
- Carve and enjoy!
- Remove the chicken from the pot, tent with foil and set aside.
- Make a slurry of 1 TBSP arrowroot or corn starch and ¼ cup water.
- Heat the pan drippings at medium-high.
- Whisk the slurry into the drippings and stir for a couple minutes until thickened.
- Taste, adjust the seasonings and serve over the delicious roasted chicken.
Final thoughts on the Perfect Roast Chicken recipe:
My definition of perfect roast chicken is simple: crisp skin, juicy meat, great flavor and 100% repeatability. This recipe delivers on all fronts. If you want, you can add in some aromatics to the cavity of the chicken. Because we are going to be roasting at a high temperature, I would keep them inside the chicken to avoid burning.
If you reverse the method and start the chicken breast side down, you can add some dried herbs when the chicken is flipped. I’ve done this a couple times with pretty tasty results. My preference is still to start breast side up and flip half way through.
So here’s where we talk about what would go great with this recipe. If you are eating potatoes, roasted duck fat potatoes would go really well with this. I haven’t had a potato in about a year, so I don’t have a recipe for that. Instead, give my cauliflower puree or lemon butter haricot vert recipe. If you’re looking for something more hearty, take a look at my carrot and fennel puree. It’s a knockout and will elevate the perfect roast chicken to holiday meal status!
A quick last note: if you have no idea where to get duck fat, ask your butcher. If they don’t have some or know where to get it locally, Whole Foods has it in stock (no affiliate, I just know they have it!). However you make this perfect roast chicken recipe, I hope you enjoy.