Baking chicken can sometimes be tricky as you can dry up the breast before the whole chicken is cooked through. This post will show you how to bake a chicken properly.
The chicken in this recipe has been treated in a dry brine overnight. Although that is not a requirement it is highly advisable. You will end up with a wonderfully moist and succulent chicken if you follow those simple steps in advance.
There are some basic steps to follow when baking chicken. I think the most important one for me is to start baking chicken breast side down. This really makes sure the breast meat does not dry out.
Here are some simple but successful steps for baking chicken properly:
Serves six to eight
1 whole chicken – 4 to 5 pounds
1 TBS brown sugar
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. cayenne (optional)
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 TBS yellow mustard
1 cup bbq sauce of your choice (I am using my homemade bbq sauce with apple juice)
The night before cooking your chicken, sprinkle it liberally with salt – being extra generous in the thigh and wing area – and place it in a bowl. Loosely cover the bowl with a large grocery plastic bag and refrigerate it overnight. This is called dry brining. The next day, remove the chicken from the fridge and proceed as follows.
Place the chicken on a board and butterfly it by removing the backbone. You will need kitchen shears for this. After the bone is removed, break the breast bone. Make sure to disinfect the shears and the board when you are done. Place the butterflied chicken on a rack inside a roasting pan.
Place the brown sugar, paprika, cayenne (if using), garlic powder and yellow mustard in a bowl. If you are not dry brining the chicken, you might want to add a little salt. Mix it well and coat the chicken skin, generously. Make sure to add the rub under the wings and thighs as well. Let the chicken sit, at room temperature, for 20 minutes. If you do not like leaving chicken unrefrigerated , go ahead and place it in the fridge for 20 minutes.
Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
Place the chicken in the oven and cook for 30 minutes. Remove it from the oven and spread ½ a cup of bbq sauce on it. Place it back in the oven and cook it for 15 to 20 more minutes. Take it out and spread the remaining bbq sauce on it.
Place the chicken back in the oven and cook it for 15 to 20 more minutes – until a meat thermometer placed at the thigh area, close to the bone, registers 165 to 170 degrees or you have clear juices running from the thigh area.
Allow the chicken to rest for 15 to 20 minutes before you carve it, so the juices settle. Carve it and serve it with extra bbq sauce. Enjoy!
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