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Salt-Rubbed Roast Chicken with Lemon & Thyme

By Tom Douglas From Moveable Feast Season 54, Ep.47
Scott Phillips

Servings: two to three.

I discovered this technique while on a trip to Germany, which must be why I like to serve it with spaetzle and red cabbage. But it goes with just about anything.


  • 3 Tbs. coarse salt
  • 1-1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh thyme; stems reserved for stuffing the cavity
  • 3-1/2 lb. chicken, excess fat trimmed, rinsed inside and out and patted dry with paper towels
  • 1 lemon, quartered
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted

Nutritional Information

  • Nutritional Sample Size based on three servings
  • Calories (kcal) : 730
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 420
  • Fat (g): 46
  • Saturated Fat (g): 18
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 8
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 17
  • Cholesterol (mg): 310
  • Sodium (mg): 5400
  • Carbohydrates (g): 4
  • Fiber (g): 1
  • Protein (g): 70


  • Mix together the salt, pepper, and chopped thyme. Put the chicken on a rack in a roasting pan and pat the mixture all over the skin. Refrigerate uncovered overnight, or for at least 8 hours.
  • Heat the oven to 400°F. Put the quartered lemon, garlic, and thyme stems in the cavity of the chicken. Brush the chicken with some of the melted butter. Roast the chicken, basting every 15 to 20 minutes. first with the melted butter until enough fat has collected in the bottom of the pan to use as basting liquid. The chicken is done when the thigh meat is 170°F or the juices run clear, about 1 hour. Let the chicken rest for 5 to 10 minutes. and then carve.


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