This is one of the tastiest and most simple roast chicken recipes I know. It's pungently savory, earthy and just lovely during the cooler months. It would be great for Thanksgiving for those who don't like turkey. Yet, with that said, you could just as easily give your turkey this method and have a beautifully burnished and crispy skin with tons of flavor through the meat. —HeidiMoyer
Preheat the oven to 400*. Prep the chicken by placing into a clean sink and removing anything that has been reserved inside the cavity. Do not rinse. Pat dry with paper towels, then lay breast-up in a roasting pan or large, deep baking dish.
Rub softened butter all over chicken, and up under the skin on the breasts, if you like.
Stir the za'atar, salt and pepper together in a dish. Rub over the chicken. Place sprigs of your favorite fresh herbs inside the cavity (I like sage and thyme), then tuck wings underneath. Tie legs together if this is something you typically do.
Roast in the oven uncovered for 15 minutes per pound, plus an extra 10 minutes. (If your chicken is exactly 5 pounds, it will roast for 1 hour and 25 minutes.) You don't need to baste it, but I won't stop you if you enjoy doing it.
Remove chicken. Check that juices are running clear when you insert a knife into the crook of the thigh or internal temperature has reached 160-165*. Tent with foil until serving.