Are you not smart? Do you need an overwhelming amount of information in order to complete a task? I can relate. Some people have a gift inside them where most things come easy, and the vast majority of us need to fuck things up a few times to learn our lesson. Back when I first turned on an oven I made plenty of disgusting food that I wouldn't even serve to my hungry pup.
The first dish I learned to master was the whole chicken. After multiple attempts of overcooking, over-seasoning, under-cooking and under-seasoning at some point I figured out the magic ratio of time & accouterments. Years later it served to pull me from a friend zone prison pit not even Bane could have climbed out of, and more importantly fed me through some hungry times.
Remove your chicken from it's packaging, rinse and pat dry before placing into a clean & dry pan. I use a roasting pan (duhhh), just about anything works however a deeper pan is particularly useful with the amount of liquid that results from the cooking.
Salt liberally, more Bernie than Hillary. Don't forget inside the chicken cavity!
Place a palm sized amount of herbs and spices in the cavity of the bird. Obviously not every bird is created equal and not all palms are uniform in size. The point being, do not fill the cavity of the chicken or it will take a full nine months to cook with a veggie fetus inside of it. I prefer using lemon and garlic, with the occasional sprig of rosemary if I am feeling randy.
The next step is something that may seem frivolous but could be the most important part of cooking a whole chicken (properly). Without tying the legs together the chicken tends to not cook evenly and the legs will dry out, especially with larger chickens.
Take a forearm length of cooking twine and pull it across the bottom of the legs pulling them up towards the ceiling.
Pull each end together and cross them over the legs creating a figure eight. Once you have created a figure eight, pull the ends in opposite directions, gather both ends together, make a knot and cut the excess twine. This process will pull the legs together sealing up the cavity and bringing the legs tight under the breasts.
To avoid the wing tips burning in the oven, push the wings beneath the bird. There is position that will lock these under the bird if you pull the tips toward the legs.
Once set down the bird belly down, the wing tips should assume the position above. You may have to repeat this process once handling the bird further.
Use extra virgin olive oil to coat the entire chicken, creating a substrate for the salt and pepper to adhere to.
Flip the bird over and salt and pepper the underside. Remember you may have to flip the wings back under the bird if you get a little rough with it.
Continue seasoning the birds face up, don't forget to hit the legs. Let stand on the counter for 20-25 minutes before cooking, feel free to cover temporarily with a piece of plastic wrap if your germaphobia decides to manifest itself in this instant.
Place in the oven at 400°F for 15 minutes and dial down the oven to 325°F for 20 minutes per pound. Remember all ovens are different and if you think the chicken is done place a meat thermometer in the breast, it should register an internal temperature of 165°F if done.
*This chicken was 5-1/2 pounds and was cooked at 400°F for 15 minutes, then for another 110 minutes at 325°F.
In case you missed it feel free to download the GIF below for your veiwing pleasure...