Bondage Birdy or Spread Eagle? Roast Chicken 101

Crispy skinned roast chicken

Crispy skinned roast chicken

Yes, I know. That title was very provocative, but it got your attention, didn’t it?!  I can go either way, bondage birdy or spread eagle.

My rule of thumb is if I am serving the chicken whole, and carving at the table, then I truss it up like a Mr. Slave from “South Park.”  But my usual way of roasting a chicken is to let it be free, spread eagle style.

I was taught in culinary school that you truss the bird so it cooks evenly, but in reality a chicken will cook evenly whether it is tied or not.  It’s really about the look.  A trussed bird looks neater and more professional.  Of course, I think my chicken looks delicious, but it would look really good with the legs neatly crossed and a bunch of fresh herbs as garnish.

What I prefer to do with my roast chicken is to cut it into 8 pieces after cooking, and return it to the pan it was roasted in along with all the tasty juices.  This keeps the chicken very moist, and flavorful.

The best thing about roasting a chicken is that you can season it any way you want.  The key is to make a spice or herb rub using a flavorful fat, such as butter or olive oil.  This insures you get crispy skin when the chicken is roasted.  Be creative or use spice mixes such as curry, poultry seasoning, herbes de provence, or any of the other herb and spice mixes to be found at your local supermarket or online spice retailer.

The only rules you need to know for roasting a chicken are:

  1. Rinse – rinse and dry your chicken well
  2. Rub – rub the inside and outside of your chicken with your spice mix
  3. Roast – always roast a chicken in 400 degree F oven


Chicken and spices

Chicken and spices

Roast Chicken 101

1 medium sweet onion, sliced

1 TB olive oil

1 tsp + 2 TB poultry seasoning

1 tsp Kosher salt

3 lb whole chicken, preferably organic or free range

Heat your oven to 400 degrees F. Place sliced onions into roasting pan, then sprinkle with 1 tsp poultry seasoning.

Sliced onions and spices

Sliced onions and spices

In small bowl mix olive oil, remaining poultry seasoning, and salt.  Rub the chicken inside and out with the spice mix.  Put the chicken onto the onions in the roasting pan, then place the pan into the oven.

Spiced rubbd chicken

Spiced rubbd chicken

Roast the chicken for about 1 – 1 1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear and the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.  The chicken should be nicely browned and the skin crispy.

Remove the chicken from the pan, and let rest for about 15 minutes on a cutting board.  Cut the chicken into 8 pieces (you get 8 pieces when you cut the breast in half) and return the chicken to the roasting pan with the onions and juices.

I suggest serving this chicken with rice, polenta or mashed potatoes to soak up the lovely pan juices.

Crispy skinned roast chicken

Crispy skinned roast chicken

Cheryl D Lee on Foodista

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