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Dorothy Dean presents: Don’t be a chicken – slow bake this rotisserie bird in an oven

UPDATED: Tue., June 1, 2021

By Audrey Alfaro For The Spokesman-Review

Today celebrates the golden and juicy spit-roasted bird with National Rotisserie Chicken Day.

Hailed annually on June 2, this foodie holiday was founded by Boston Market, a chain of casual eateries, in 2015 to promote healthy eating and its famous rotisserie chicken.

Rotated continuously over a heat source, rotisserie-style slow cooks chicken to tender and tasty perfection. Found in a grocery store deli or the back of Costco, rotisserie chicken is a convenient and delicious option for dinner or other recipes that call for precooked chicken.

And, surprisingly, you can get those same delectable results – no spit required – in your own oven. Simple and foolproof, this low-and-slow cooked recipe yields an amazingly moist and savory bird that will have you saying, “Winner, winner, chicken dinner!” (And by low and slow, I mean 250 degrees for 5 hours.)

This comfort food classic starts with a 4- to 6-pound chicken that’s rinsed, patted dry and slathered with olive oil and a mixture of spices, including paprika, garlic powder, lemon pepper and thyme.

The cavity of the seasoned chicken is then stuffed with lemon, onion, garlic and any other aromatics you’d like (parsley, cilantro, rosemary). The bird is then covered in plastic wrap and heads to the refrigerator for the flavors to meld overnight.

About five to six hours before you plan on eating, the chicken is placed on a rack in a roasting pan and heads to a 250-degree preheated oven for a leisurely 5-hour roast. It’s basted twice during the process, and the pan is also rotated to ensure even browning.

This method yields an impressive golden bird that’s equally juicy as it is delicious. Served with a drizzle of pan juices, it’s perfect for family meals or holidays. Leftovers can be used for salads, sandwiches, tacos and casseroles. You can also experiment with seasonings to suit the flavor profile for the type of cuisine, along with accompanying side dishes, you’d like.

Slow-Baked Rotisserie Chicken

1 (4-6 pound) whole chicken

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon lemon pepper

½ teaspoon dried thyme

½ teaspoon black pepper

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

½ onion, quartered

½ lemon, quartered

4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

For basting:

½ cup chicken broth mixed with 1 tablespoon melted butter

Remove and discard the giblets from the chicken cavity. Rinse and pat dry the chicken with paper towels. In a small bowl, mix together the salt, paprika, garlic powder, lemon pepper, thyme, black pepper and cayenne pepper.

Rub the chicken all over with the oil and sprinkle it generously with the spice mixture inside and out. Place the onion, lemon and garlic (and other aromatics, if using) into the cavity of the chicken. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, or at least four to six hours.

When ready to cook, preheat an oven to 250 degrees. Place the chicken on a rack in a roasting pan and bake for five hours, basting it a few times during the cooking process, until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.

Rotate the pan after each time you baste the chicken to guarantee even cooking. Remove the chicken from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before transferring it to a cutting board to slice and serve.

Audrey Alfaro can be reached at spoonandswallow@yahoo.com.

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