Christmas Chicken

Christmas Chicken
Serves:Active Time:Total Time:
415 min + basting90 min + overnight brine


  • 1 whole chicken, 4-5 pounds (1.8 - 2.25kg)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt (12g)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder (4g)
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper (2g)
  • 1 lemon, zested and quartered
  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter (55g)
  • Olive oil, for brushing


  • Combine the salt, baking powder, black pepper, and lemon zest and use it to season the chicken inside and out.
  • Refrigerate the chicken overnight, uncovered.
  • Put a large cast iron skillet in the oven and heat it to 425°F.
  • Stuff the butter and lemon quarters inside the cavity of the chicken and tie the legs of the chicken together with twine. (If you don’t have twine, you can skip this step).
  • Brush the chicken skin with olive oil.
  • When the oven and skillet are hot, carefully place the bird in the skillet, breast side up.
  • Roast for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350°F.
  • Baste the chicken, then continue roasting for about 50 minutes, basting every 15 minutes, until a thermometer inserted into the meaty part of the thigh reads 155°F. Let rest for 15 minutes.
  • Skim about 4 tablespoons of fat from the pan, then transfer the chicken to a cutting board, tilting the cavity downward so all of the juices run out into the pan as you do so.
  • Use tongs to remove the lemons from the cavity and squeeze the lemon juice into the pan.
  • Use a rubber whisk or spatula to vigorously stir the buttery, lemony pan juices into a sauce. (Add a splash of chicken stock, lemon juice, or water to help it emulsify, if needed).
  • Carve the chicken and serve with a glass of eggnog.