I used to be afraid of whole chickens…alive and dead! But no longer! They are such an easy, economical way to get lean protein. Despite the name of this recipe, there is no smokin’ involved. I leave that to the paprika. There are two hard parts to this chicken recipe: 1) remembering to thaw out the chicken 2) refraining from eating the entire skin. Wow, is it good!! Once you find out how easy it is to make this, the only thing that should be afraid are the chickens!
1-3 lb. whole fryer chicken
1 T olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350. Discard the giblets and neck that my have come with the chicken. Starting at the neck cavity, insert your fingers between the skin and meat and loosen as much as you can over the entire chicken. Combine the olive oil and the next 5 ingredients in a small bowl. Using your fingers, paint the meat with the oil/spice mixture. Press the skin back onto the chicken and rub the rest of the spice mixture over the skin. Place the chicken in a roasting pan, breast side down.*
Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Increase the temperature of your oven to 450 for 35 minutes, without removing the chicken. When the meaty part of the leg registers 165 on a meat thermometer, take out of the oven and let stand for at least 10 minutes. Now most recipes would tell you to discard the skin, but not me. If that’s your style go for it. But that’s my favorite part.
*I know what you’re thinking…breast side down? Is she crazy?! Well, that is what my Grandma always does with her turkeys and the breast is always so moist, so I must respect my elders here.