Roast chicken, you either love it or you overcook it. It can go so right and it can go so wrong. I’m on the side of absolutely love it. Typically I like dressing it up with interesting spices and bright savory flavors. This sumac lemon roasted chicken is light enough for summer and hearty enough for cold weather. It’s the ultimate weeknight meal, and if you spatchcock your bird (which you should), it takes only an hour to cook.
I’d much rather cook an entire chicken than bits and pieces. I love having a leftover bird to snack on for the rest of the week. The flavors get better the longer it has time to sit in the fridge and it makes one helluva good chicken salad the next day. Although the skin is only good on day one, I’m a cook with the whole bird kind of person.
If you’ve ever wanted to know how to get that crispy skin, all you have to do is dry brine the bird in the fridge for up to 8 hours before you go to cook it. So if you plan on making a chicken for dinner, you can spatchcock the bird in the morning, rub salt over every surface of the skin, place in the fridge, go to work, come home and rinse the salt and season as desired.
The dry brine pulls ou the moisture from the skin allowing it to crisp up like your favorite fried chicken and it seasons the skin perfectly. You hardly need additional salt when you apply this method.
I’m also a huge proponent of using Middle Eastern Spices on my roasted chickens. I’ve recently gotten into cooking Indian food, and love experimenting with the warm spices of the Middle Eastern cultures.
What does sumac taste like? It tastes zesty like lime and lemon zest mixed with a roasted smokey paprika flavor. It’s wonderfully hearty and serving it with roasted lemon only helps bring out that brightness. I like buying mine online here because it’s generally more affordable than in specialty stores like Whole Foods. I haven’t found this spice at other mainstream grocery stores so beware if you’re trying to find this at Kroger, Publix, Ingles, and the like.
- 1 Whole Roasting Chicken
- 3/4 cup kosher salt
- 2 parts sumac
- 1 part dried thyme
- 1 part garlic salt
- 1/2 part pepper
- olive oil
- 1 lemon halved
First, spatchcock your chicken by cutting the spine out and pressing firmly with your palm on the breast bone to break the breast bone. Spatchcocking the chicken enables you to roast your bird more quickly.
Once spatchcocked, sprinkle the kosher salt over every inch of skin and place on top of a cookie sheet in the fridge and let it chill for 8 hours until you're ready to cook.
When ready to cook, remove chicken from fridge and rinse and dry thoroughly before seasoning.
Mix the sumac, thyme, pepper, and garlic salt in a small bowl.
Using your hands, rub the olive oil over every inch of the skin. Next sprinkle the seasoning on the skin and press firmly in with your hands. You should be able to cover all the skin with your mix.
When ready to cook, place your cast iron in the oven and bring to 450°F. Once the oven has reached temperature, carefully remove the cast iron from the oven and add olive oil to lubricate the bottom.
Carefully put the chicken skin side down, the pan should sizzle.
Put the cast iron back in the oven and cook for 45 minutes and add two halves of the lemon.
After 45 minutes, remove the cast iron and carefully flip the chicken with tongs and a spatula. Cook for an additional 15 minutes, skin side up or until a thermometer inserted in the breast reads 160°F.
Remove from heat and squeeze roasted lemon on the chicken when ready to serve.