Spice rubs and chicken were just born for each other.
Especially when grilled or roasted on high heat.
The spices takes on a deliciously smoky accent, and the meat is piping hot and succulently juicy.
(Bonus points if you left the skin on & get to enjoy all that crispy goodness).
You’ve seen me do spice-rub baked chicken breasts, which I love for their ease and simplicity, but a whole bird slathered in rub & roasted on high heat?
That’s a whole new experience.
There are a few keys to deliciously juicy spice-rub chicken.
- The heat has to start out lower. Typically, I blast my roasted chickens on high heat to get that extra crispy golden skin. But when you’ve covered the bird with a spice rub, you’ve got be careful not to burn those spices. Since chickens take awhile to cook, it’s best to start out on low heat while the tender flesh cooks.
- Crank up the heat at the end. Once the bird is almost done, say, after an hour or so in the oven, then you can turn up the heat and let the skin crisp up and brown the spices a little.
- Stuff the cavity with aromatics. Since we aren’t going for the same cracklin skin that an unseasoned bird has, we can stuff that cavity of the bird until it’s overflowing. My favorites are lemon and shallot, which impart a slight onion & citrus flavor to the meat as they cook. I avoid stuffing the cavity on my basic roasted chickens, since the steam from the vegetables can hinder the crisping of the chicken skin, but I’m not worried about that w. my spice rubbed chicken.
- Let it rest after cooking. Once the bird reaches an internal temp of 165 degrees, let it rest out of the oven for a bit before you slice into it. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, instead of spilling out all over your cutting board.
Once the bird is done, serve it with some delicious sides.
- 3 1/4 lb fryer chicken
- 2 small lemons, quartered
- 1 large shallot, quartered
- olive oil, for seasoning
- 1/2 tablespoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon ground paprika
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Mix together all of the spice rub ingredients in a small bowl, and set aside.
Remove the chicken from any packaging it might be in, and discard any of the innards that might be in the cavity. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, and set on a roasting rack inside of a roasting pan. Drizzle the chicken with olive oil, and rub all over with your hands.
Stuff the cavity of the chicken with the lemon and shallot, then sprinkle the chicken all over with the spice rub. Also use your fingers to separate the chicken skin from the breast area, and rub some of the spice rub under the skin. Use as much or as little of the rub as you want, to taste, probably around 1/4 cup. If you don't use all of the rub, you can reserve the extra for another use, if desired.
Place the roasting pan in the oven, and let the chicken roast for about 1 hour. Increase the heat to 425 degrees Fahrenheit, and roast for another 30 minutes or so, or until the skin is crispy and the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. If it's not quite there yet after the 90 minutes, continue cooking until it reaches the proper temperature.
When the chicken is done, remove it from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before carving. Enjoy!