This method for Roasting a Half Chicken takes mere minutes and always results in juicy, tender meat. Fast & easy to prepare plus flavorful – that’s my kind of meal!
As I was telling my friend on Faceboook the other day, I love roasted chicken. To me, it is one of those things that screams comfort food. Part of it is that the house smells so amazing when it is cooking.
But, I don’t like to prepare roast chicken. I don’t like to get it out of the bag because all of that gross juice gets all over my hands. I don’t like fishing in the cavity for the “goodies” that other people like to cook, because then I get raw chicken up past my wrist. And, I don’t like the juice that collects in the cavity as the chicken roasts in the oven.
The whole process just grosses me out.
Enter the half chicken…
I usually shy away from buying half chickens because they make me feel bad. I know. I’m nuts, but it’s true. There is something a little sad about a half chicken’s little wing and leg.
But despite the feelings of sadness I experience when I see a half chicken, I have been buying them lately because the prices have been pretty great. In fact, I have decided that roasting a half chicken is my favorite way to roast a chicken. I seldom buy the whole chicken anymore, I just purchase two halves. I think they cook more evenly anyway.
When I get half chickens at the store, they are pre-seasoned. I always wash them off and season them myself. I season my half chickens one of three different ways:
- Sometimes I season the skin before browning, like I did in these photos. This gives a nice blackend-smokey flavor to the skin.
- Sometimes I season the skin after browning, and other times, I pull back the skin and season the chicken meat instead of just the skin. Then, I stretch the skin back down over the meat and secure it with toothpicks so that it doesn’t shrink-up in the oven, exposing and drying out the meat. Then you cook it. Have I mentioned that roasting a half chicken is my new fave? Just so you know, seasoning the skin makes the skin taste good, but it does not season the meat.
- If you don’t eat the skin then you’ll want to try the third method and season the meat under the skin.
After seasoning my chicken, I pre-heat my oven to 350. Then, I heat up my cast iron skillet, and laying the half chicken wing and leg side down, I brown it 6-7 minutes per side.
Here’s something I learned in a cooking program I attended for a year:
- roasting on high heat cooks fast, browns the meat, and results in more moisture and product loss.
- roasting at a lower temperature, results in less browning, longer cooking time, less moisture loss and less product loss. So, brown in a pan or skillet first.
After browning both half chickens, I put them on a sheet pan with some lemon and rosemary. The lemon and rosemary don’t flavor the chicken, they just make the house smell amazing while the half chicken roasts. Look at all the yummy goodness! I’ll tell you again because it’s worth mentioning… roasting a half chicken is the bomb diggity. (Yes, I just said that)
You could serve the half chicken whole and carve it at the table, but I much prefer to get my big old chef’s knife out and cut it right down the middle – between the leg and wing – cutting right through the bone. It’s not hard to do, you just need to get your weight above the blade and give it good thrust downward with one hand on top of the back of the blade to hold it stable.
The chicken can be cut up into smaller pieces. From here, it’s pretty easy to find the joints and cut them apart to separate into wing, legs, thighs and breasts – real easy. And this is partly why roasting a half chicken is my new favorite way to cook a whole chicken. It’s less messy, it cooks more evenly, it’s nice and juicy, it’s easier to cut and serve, and the flavor is amazing.
Have I convinced you?
Roasting a Half Chicken
- 2 half chickens
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 2 teaspoons Garlic and Herb Seasoning Blend or more, or your fave
- 1 whole lemon cut
- 2 sprigs rosemary or thyme or marjoram
- Let the chickens sit out on the counter for 30 minutes to come to temperature before starting. Rinse the half chickens and dry them completely with paper towels. Place them on a sheet pan and coat the whole outside surface with oil. Determine which method of seasoning you want to use.
- Method one: Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Liberally sprinkle the seasoning blend all over the skin of the chicken, making sure to get under the wings and legs. When the skillet is hot, add 1 tablespoon oil, swirl it around to coat the pan, and add one of the half chickens, skin-side-down and cook for 6-7 minutes until good and browned. The heat on the skillet may need to be turned down to medium during cooking to prevent excessive smoking. When browned, return the half chicken to the sheet pan and brown the other chicken half.
- Method two: Heat a skillet on medium-high heat. When the skillet is hot, add 1 tablespoon of oil and add a half chicken, skin-side-down and cook for 6-7 minutes until good and brown, Remove the half chicken to the sheet pan and brown the other. When both half chickens have been browned and returned to the sheet pan, season each liberally with the seasoning blend, making sure to season under the wing and leg area.
- Method three: Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Peel the skin back on one chicken half and season the meat as best as you can, trying to get in the hard to reach areas, too. Stretch the skin back down into place and secure with a toothpick. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the skillet and place the chicken half skin-side-down for 6-7 minutes to brow. Meanwhile, lift the skin on the other chicken half and season the meat. When the first chicken has browned, return it back to the sheet pan and season the outside of the skin with more seasoning blend or salt and pepper. Do the same for the other chicken half when it is done.
- Roasting: Preheat oven to 350. Squeeze lemon juice over the chicken. Place a few sprigs of rosemary, thyme or marjoram on the sheet pan as well as the sliced lemon. Place the sheet pan into the oven and roast for 40-50 minutes, or until the internal temperature reads 165 on an instant read thermometer. Remove from the oven and let sit at least 10-15 minutes before cutting and serving. Enjoy!