Dry-brine the chicken:
Sprinkle the chicken inside and out with the salt; set it on a wire rack and set the rack over a plate. Refrigerate uncovered for at least 2 hours (4 hours is better) or up to two days.
Roast the chicken:
Position a rack in the lower middle of the oven and heat the oven to 450°F. Cross the chicken legs and tie them together; tuck the wings under the chicken. Brush the breast side of the chicken all over with some of the olive oil; sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of the sugar and a few grinds of pepper. Set the chicken, breast side down, on a V-rack set in a small metal roasting pan (about 9 x 13 inches; don’t use ceramic or Pyrex). Brush the back side of the chicken with the remaining oil and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. sugar and a few more grinds of pepper. Have ready 1 cup water and turn on the exhaust fan.
Roast the chicken, breast side down, until the back is deep golden brown, about 30 min. Check frequently and if the chicken drippings appear to be burning, add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the water to the pan.
Remove the chicken from the oven. With a wad of paper towels in each hand, turn the chicken so it’s breast side up. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 tsp. sugar and add all or what remains of the 1 cup of water to the pan. Return the chicken to the oven and roast, breast side up, until the chicken is golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thigh registers 175°F, another 15 to 20 min.
Transfer the chicken to a cutting board to rest for at least 15 min. and up to 30 min. for chicken served warm (or up to 2 hours if serving the chicken at room temperature).
Make the sauce and serve:
Meanwhile, make the sauce. Remove the V-rack from the roasting pan and tilt the pan so the juices collect in one corner. Spoon off and discard as much of the clear fat as possible. Use the degreased pan juices to make Tomato-Jalapeño Pan Sauce with Hominy, Cilantro & Lime. (Or, for a different pan sauce, try one of the variations below).
When ready to serve, carve the chicken. Serve with the warm pan sauce.
For different flavors in the pan sauce, try Roast Chicken with Moroccan Apricot Pan Sauce or Roast Chicken with Lemon-Artichoke Pan Sauce.
nutrition information (per serving):
43, Fat Calories
390, Saturated Fat
77, Monounsaturated Fat
2, Polyunsaturated Fat