I never roasted a chicken until I tore this article out of Health magazine in 2007. By Peggy Knickerbocker.
3.5 to 5 lb roasting chicken, preferably natural or organic
1 tsp kosher salt
2 rosemary sprigs
3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 T olive oil
Step 1: Wash & Salt
When you get your bird home, unwrap and rinse it inside and out with cold water. Pat it dry with paper towels. Sprinkle it all over with 1 tsp kosher salt. The salt makes the meat tender and enhances the flavor (and doesn’t make it salty). Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to roast (up to 1 day). Bring the bird to room temperature an hour before roasting; then put the fresh rosemary and garlic in the cavity. Sprinkle chicken with black pepper.
Step 2: Preheat & Roast
Heat oven to 450. On the stovetop, preheat a cast-iron skillet large enough to hold the chicken over medium-high heat. (I just wrap the handle of a heavy duty skillet in foil.) Add olive oil to the pan, and place the bird, breast side up, in the pan. Then place the hot skillet on the middle rack of the oven. (For an easy side, toss new potatoes or red creamer potatoes in a little olive oil and add them to the skillet after about 20 minutes.) Roast about 1 hour for a 3.5 lb bird and up to 90 minutes for a 5-pounder.
Step 3: Test for Doneness
After about 50 minutes, use a meat thermometer to check the temperature in the thickest part of the thigh; it should reach 180. Two other quick tests for doneness: Wiggle a chicken leg; if it’s loose, it’s done. Or cut into the crease where the thigh meets the body; if there are no signs of blood and the juices are clear the bird is done. If it’s not done, continue to roast another 10 minutes or so.
Step 4: Rest & Carve
Put the chicken on a cutting board with a lip so the juices won’t overflow, and let it stand 10-15 minutes. Then sprinkle additional black pepper over the top and carve, starting by removing the thighs and legs and then the wings. For the breast, carve from the outside to the inside, in thin even slices.