My Big Fat Greek Chicken

"My recipe for Greek-style baked whole chicken is a bit labor-intensive, but so delicious."
photo by The Spice Guru photo by The Spice Guru
photo by The Spice Guru
Ready In:
2hrs 5mins




  • PLACE a 5 1/2 - 6 lb. roasting chicken into a colander placed in sink; REMOVE and discard the innards from the cavity from chicken; RINSE chicken inside and out with chicken in the colander; LEAVE chicken in colander in sink.
  • INSERT a V-shaped rack into a roasting pan to suspend chicken while baking, for even browning; SET aside; PLACE oven rack in the second low position, or to where chicken will be 5 inches below the top of oven; PREHEAT oven to 425°F .
  • GRATE 1 1/2 teaspoons outer fresh lemon zest using a fine shred grate; SQUEEZE enough lemons to yield 1/4 cup; RESERVE 2 squeezed lemon halves; CUT one small onion in half; CUT 1 head of garlic in half crosswise.
  • INTO in a small saucepan add: 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon butter, 1 tablespoon garlic salt, 1 tablespoon dried Greek oregano, 1 tablespoon wild thyme honey, 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh grated lemon zest, 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin, and 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground white pepper, for the BASTE.
  • TIE one bunch (about 20 sprigs) fresh oregano together tightly on the lower stems using a twist-tie; IMMERSE oregano into the BASTE mixture; BRING mixture in saucepan to gentle boiling for one minute; REDUCE heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes; REMOVE saucepan from heat; LET mixture stand to infuse the fresh oregano essences; STRAIN liquid from oregano sprigs in baste solution, remove sprigs using tongs and reserve.
  • RUB the chicken skin all over with the halved garlic heads for the BOUQUET to season, reserving the garlic sections; LEAVE chicken in the colander; STUFF the cavity of chicken with the fresh garlic head halves, the small onion halves, 2 reserved lemon halves and the reserved fresh oregano sprigs; RUB 1 tablespoon tempered unsalted butter evenly over entire outer surface of chicken; FOLLOW with one tablespoon extra virgin olive oil; GENEROUSLY season the inner cavity of chicken with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper; TIE drumsticks together at ends with kitchen string; WRAP drumstick and wing tips with foil; TRANSFER chicken onto the V-rack inserted in roasting pan.
  • SET oven timer to 25 minutes; BAKE chicken uncovered at 425°F until timer sounds; REDUCE oven temperature to 355°F ; SET oven timer for 40 minutes; CONTINUE baking chicken until timer sounds again.
  • REDUCE oven temperature now to 325°F; CAREFULLY slide out oven rack wearing oven mitts; REMOVE foil from drumsticks and wings; MIX the BASTE solution with basting brush; BRUSH chicken evenly with the BASTE solution (don't worry about the chicken underside, as the baste will drip down to season); RETURN chicken into oven and close oven door.
  • REPEAT the BAKE, BASTE, and TIMER procedures every 15 minutes so chicken has been basted 3 times in the remaining 45 minutes (TOTAL BAKING TIME IS EXACTLY 1 HOUR, 50 MINUTES); CUT and remove string from drumsticks.
  • CARVE, serve, and feast!

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