Kowalski’s has received Best Rotisserie Chicken awards multiple times, including as recently as last October. It’s so convenient. It’s a wonder anyone ever roasts a chicken at home anymore; it can be messy, time-consuming and stress-inducing. But I find cooking a whole chicken to be one of the truest tests of any chef and immensely satisfying.
The challenge alone is reason enough to give it a try (the bigger the challenge, the more glorious the victory). And this sort of culinary triumph is the kind that begs to be shared, making roast chicken an impressive meal choice for an occasion such as a birthday, dinner party or maybe even Valentine’s Day. Combined with some crispy smashed potatoes and your choice of green vegetable or salad, you need only a bottle of red (or white) Burgundy wine to complete this most comforting, perfectly mouth-watering mid-winter feast.
My technique involves a spatchcocked chicken (meaning the backbone has been removed and the bird is pressed flat). This helps the chicken to cook more evenly (no overcooked breasts or undercooked thighs) and quickly—in under an hour. If you don’t want to cut out the backbone yourself, you can simply ask for a spatchcocked bird at the Kowalski’s service meat counter.
Simple Roast Chicken
- 1 qt. water, very warm
- ½ cup plus 2 tsp. kosher salt, divided
- ¼ cup sugar
- small handful whole Kowalski’s black peppercorns
- ice, as needed
- 4 lb. (approx.) whole roasting chicken
- 2 Tbsp. Kowalski’s extra virgin olive oil, plus more for oiling the pan
- 1 tbsp. Kowalski’s signature classic garlic and herb rub (from the meat department)
- 2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary, plus a few sprigs for garnish
- 2 tsp. fresh lemon zest
- ¼ tsp. freshly ground Kowalski’s black peppercorns
- lemon slices, for garnish
In a large mixing bowl, combine warm water, ½ cup salt, sugar and whole peppercorns; stir until dissolved. Add ice until mixture is cooled and measures about 2 qts.; set aside. Arrange chicken breast-side down on a cutting board. Using kitchen shears, cut along one side of the backbone, from the cavity end up to the neck. Repeat on other side of backbone; remove backbone and discard. Turn chicken breast-side up. Using both hands, press down firmly and quickly to crack the breast bone and flatten the bird. Place chicken in a large pot; cover with brine mixture. Refrigerate chicken for at least one hour (up to 24 hrs.). Remove chicken from brine; discard brine. Place chicken breast-side up in a cast iron skillet coated lightly with oil. Rub chicken with oil; season with rub, remaining salt, chopped rosemary, lemon zest and ground pepper. Roast in a preheated 450 degree F oven until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh registers 160 degree F (about 40 minutes); let stand, covered, for 10 minutes (temperature should increase to 165 degree F before serving). Garnish whole bird with rosemary stems and lemon slices; serve in the pan with tools for carving at the table.
Rachael Perron is the culinary and brand director for Kowalski’s Markets, where she specializes in product development and selection, culinary education and communications. Find more at kowalskis.com.