Thomas Keller's Favorite Roast Chicken

Total Time
1hr 15mins
Prep 10 mins
Cook 1 hr 5 mins

Those of you who know your Chef's, must be familiar with the fabulous Thomas Keller. Also, I am a BIG fan of high-heat cooking ( I have a great high heat turkey recipe posted here #145046) and that is how this is prepared. It is taken from his book, and his comments are in the directions. I was going to remove them, but then I decided it is part of the charm of this great chicken meal. This recipe is some work, but well worth the effort! Cooks Note: To truss chicken, place it on a tray with legs toward you. Tuck wing tips under bird. Cut piece of kitchen twine about 3 feet long and center it on top of neck end of breast. Lift neck end of bird and pull twine down around wings and under chicken, then bring ends up over breast toward you and knot twine, pulling it tight to plump breasts. Bring ends of twine around ends of drumstick and straight up. Tie as before to pull drumsticks together and form a compact bird. Tie again to secure knot.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Rinse chicken in cold water, then dry very well with paper towels, inside and out. The less it steams, the drier the heat, the better.
  3. Salt and pepper cavity, then truss bird with kitchen twine to help it cook more evenly. (See Note.).
  4. Now, salt chicken -- I like to rain salt over the bird so it has a nice uniform coating that will result in crisp, salty, flavorful skin (about 1 tablespoon). When it's cooked, you should still be able to make out salt baked onto the crisp skin.
  5. Season to taste with pepper.
  6. Place chicken in sauté pan or roasting pan and, when oven is up to temperature, put chicken in oven. I leave it alone -- I don't baste it. I don't add butter. You can if you wish, but I think this creates steam, which I don't want.
  7. Roast it until it's done (165 degrees in the thickest part of the thigh), 50 to 60 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and add thyme to pan. Baste chicken with juices and thyme and let it sit for 15 minutes on cutting board.
  9. Remove twine. Discard wing tip. Separate middle wing joint and eat that immediately. Remove legs and thighs.
  10. I like to take off the backbone and eat one of the oysters, the two succulent morsels of meat embedded there, 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.
  11. Cut breast down middle and serve it on the bone, with one wing joint still attached to each. The preparation is not meant to be super elegant.
  12. Slather meat with butter. Serve with mustard on the side and, if you wish, a simple green salad.
Most Helpful

I skipped some of Chef Keller's final steps with the butter, herb, and the mustard. But after rinsing and blotting dry, then salting the cavity, this lovely organic little bird was trussed and then I let the salt rain down on it, just as Chef Keller advises. It then air-chilled overnight uncovered in the fridge, before roasting in the hot oven. Oh, it also had a generous sprinkling of pepper before roasting. Perfect after a little over an hour and resting roughly ten minutes. Both wings and leg/thigh quarter were devoured almost immediately, perfectly juicy. It was just as good as (and maybe even better than) what costs $37.50 at Le Pichet in Seattle. As for the leftovers, they are great in a Cobb salad with a walnut vinaigrette.

French Terrine June 12, 2014

Excellent! I thinly sliced some preserved lemons and stuffed them under the skin of the breast. I did have to put a bit of liquid in the bottom of the roasting pan for the last half hour of cooking as the drippings started to burn & set off the fire alarm! Sorry no picture buy we were too hungry to wait for the camera department to show up ;)

xtine February 06, 2008

I have never cooked a chicken at this high heat. But, it was wonderful! I had to put onions in the roasting pan because I love the smell of chicken and onions! My house smelled great!! My husband thought he went to heaven! Our chicken was 4 pounds so of course it took longer but it was worth it! The salt coating really was fantastic! Salty and crunchy! Yum! And I love Thomas Keller!

susie cooks November 03, 2006