Total Time
1hr 5mins
Prep 5 mins
Cook 1 hr

A Thomas Keller recipe. This is delicious.


  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F Rinse the chicken, then dry it very well with paper towels, inside and out. The less it steams, the drier the heat, the better.
  2. Salt and pepper the cavity, then truss the bird. Trussing is not difficult, and if you roast chicken often, it's a good technique to feel comfortable with. When you truss a bird, the wings and legs stay close to the body; the ends of the drumsticks cover the top of the breast and keep it from drying out. Trussing helps the chicken to cook evenly, and it also makes for a more beautiful roasted bird.
  3. Now, salt the chicken — I like to rain the salt over the bird so that it has a nice uniform coating that will result in a crisp, salty, flavorful skin (about 1 tablespoon). When it's cooked, you should still be able to make out the salt baked onto the crisp skin. Season to taste with pepper.
  4. Place the chicken in a sauté pan or roasting pan and, when the oven is up to temperature, put the chicken in the oven. I leave it alone — I don't baste it, I don't add butter; you can if you wish, but I feel this creates steam, which I don't want. Roast it until it's done, 50 to 60 minutes. Remove it from the oven and add the thyme, if using, to the pan. Baste the chicken with the juices and thyme and let it rest for 15 minutes on a cutting board.
  5. Remove the twine. Separate the middle wing joint and eat that immediately. Remove the legs and thighs. I like to take off the backbone and eat one of the oysters, the two succulent morsels of meat embedded here, and give the other to the person I'm cooking with. But I take the chicken butt for myself. I could never understand why my brothers always fought over that triangular tip — until one day I got the crispy, juicy fat myself. These are the cook's rewards. Cut the breast down the middle and serve it on the bone, with one wing joint still attached to each. The preparation is not meant to be super elegant. Slather the meat with fresh butter. Serve with mustard on the side and, if you wish, a simple green salad. You'll start using a knife and fork, but finish with your fingers, because it's so good.


Most Helpful

We liked the flavor a lot-especially the salty crust. I basted it with butter mixed with dried thyme when it came out of the oven, since I didn't have much for pan drippings. The chicken was not overly tender, but it was home grown, so possibly just a tough bird? It was one of the better tasting roast chickens we've had, but I also had the problem of it smoking and sputtering while cooking, so probably won't make it again, unless I can make it in someone else's oven!

Kaarin October 25, 2006

This came out great! It was just a little salty for me so I will use a little less next time. The chicken was moist and tender. I didn't even need the butter! Thanks for sharing this recipe.

Greffete October 20, 2006

I can't believe that I actually pulled off that dinky bird tail and ate it! Yes indeed, it was crispy and fatty and you can be sure I'll eat it again next time I roast a chicken! Crispy and delicious is actually how I'd describe the whole bird when roasted in this unorthadox manner. The salt is definitely a key to a perfect final product. So...while praising this recipe, I also have to say that I will not make it again. For some reason the high heat setting caused my lovely, plump organic chicken to sputter and splash juices all over my new Viking range. Smoke actually poured from the oven when I opened the door to check on my fowl and I feared that the alarm would sound. Maybe it's my oven, since no one else has complained about this phenomenon, so I will only take away one star from an otherwise wonderful recipe. All my best to the chef.

Geema October 15, 2005

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