Slow Roasted Lemon Chicken

March 22, 2011

Author Notes: This recipe is based on "sticky chicken" recipes you see on the internet, but I season the chicken differently and make a lemon pan sauce while the chicken is resting. This fall-off-the-bone roast chicken stays amazingly moist. It's remarkably good at room temperature and makes for great sandwiches!

Tip: Feel free to substitute the rub mixture for 3 tablespoons Cavender's Greek Seasoning.

Food52 Review: This chicken is seriously slow roasted. It takes about 8 hours from start to finish, but requires very little active time and no part is particularly difficult. The spice rub is fabulous, though I did find that I didn't need the full 3 tablespoons on a 4-pound chicken. The chicken is tender and surprisingly moist, and makes for wonderful picking at a picnic. It had all vanished before I got the chance to try making it into sandwiches. Stephanie Bourgeois

Serves: 4 to 6
Prep time: 3 hrs 15 min
Cook time: 5 hrs 10 min


For the rub mixture:

  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons granulated garlic
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

For the chicken:

  • 1 4- to 5-pound whole chicken
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons rub mixture (see above)
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 8 garlic cloves (up to 10)
  • 2 tablespoons flour (optional)
  • 2 cups chicken broth (optional)
In This Recipe


  1. In a small bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the rub mixture until mixed well. Set aside.
  2. Wash and dry the chicken and rub all over with the juice of both lemon halves, reserving one used half.
  3. Rub the chicken with the olive oil.
  4. Sprinkle the rub mixture and the paprika all over the chicken and pat in a bit.
  5. Place the garlic cloves and reserved half lemon inside the chicken cavity. Cover and refrigerate for 1 to 3 hours.
  6. Roast the chicken for 5 hours (yep, that's right) at 250º F (that's right, too). After 1 hour, the chicken will start exuding some juice. Tip the chicken to drain juices from the cavity and baste with a brush. Do this every 45 minutes while the chicken is roasting.
  7. After 5 hours, remove the chicken and serve. Optional: Make a pan sauce in the roasting pan by adding the chicken broth and flour until thickened. Scrape up the fond in the bottom of the pan into the sauce. Sometimes I remove the garlic cloves and mash them into the sauce. Pour the sauce over the chicken to serve. This sauce is purely optional, but is wonderful on the chicken.

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