I tried to make roasted whole-chicken yesterday, by patting dry inside out with paper towel and salting it inside out followed by roasting for 1 hour at 465 F. It was nice overall except that it's tasteless in the meat and rather just salty on the skin and bone. What have I done wrong? Is it because I didn't truss the chicken?

*The chicken was 4 pounds.

5 Answers 5


Not trussing is not your problem. I don't always truss a bird and often spatchcock (butterfly) them. I don't find that it makes a difference in the seasoning either way.

What I suggest is to season inside and out, but with about twice as much seasoning on the inside. Then season under the skin. Let the chicken set for about 30 to 40 minutes before cooking.

You may consider adding a small amount of stock to your pan. (I usually put about 1/4 inch.)

I usually start any whole bird breast side down, flipping half way through cooking.

Lastly, you may want to consider lowering the temperature and cooking it a little longer.


You placed salt on the surface of the chicken just before cooking, and then noted that it was salty on the surface but not deep inside. That's to be expected. If you left the salt on for a long time, it would start to eventually react and interact with the tissues deeper in the chicken, but that would be more like a dry cure, which draws moisture from the meat (think like a European ham or a USA "country" ham). But the dry cure takes a long time to dry out meat, so possibly just leaving it on longer will at least have some movement of the salt into the tissues via osmosis. Still, I think a more reliable method is delivering the salt along with water, because the water also gets delivered into the tissues.

That's why brining is the method to use if you want to infuse some of that salt and more moisture into a chicken, but it requires time to do its work.

How does brining work? Brining promotes a change in the structure of the proteins in the muscle. The salt causes the protein strands to become denatured, or unwound. This is the same process that occurs when proteings are exposed to heat, acid, or alcohol. When the protein strands unwind, they get tangled up with one another, forming a matrix that traps water.

In most cases, we add sugar to the brine. Sugar has little if any effect on the texture of the meant, but it does add flavor and promotes better browning of the skin

Cooks' Illustrated: The Science of Brining

For a whole chicken, they recommend a brine of 2 quarts of cold water with 1/2 cup of table salt for 1/2 hour to 1 hour. I've seen other articles they've published where they'd also have about 1/2 cup of sugar, as well. Yet others have a longer brining time, but a less intense solution. This one, at least, is a faster one, as far as the time you need to brine, vs the one I usually use.

Cooks' Illustrated: Brining Meat


Make a salty stuffing and stuff it inside the skin between the breast and skin. The salt won't get into the flesh on top because the skin protects it and sticking it inside won't do anything because salt doesn't rise, the steam does but leaves the salt in the bottom doing nothing but seasoning the very bottom which you don't eat. Stick a lemon in that whole instead.


Two things seem to be the most likely culprits:

  • You overcooked the meat (especially the breast)
  • You didn't use enough salt, and applied it only superficially. A better approach might be to apply the salt a day before roasting, effectively dry brining the chicken.

A challenge of roasting chicken is that the breast is easy to overcook (dries out beyond 150 F), while the thigh needs a higher temperature (170 F or more).

Also, if your oven is correctly calibrated, 1 hour at 465 F is probably way too long for a 4 pound chicken. I imagine your smoke alarm probably went off and you had very dry, stringy breast meat.


Just wipe chicken with dry ckean cloth from inside, than oil it from inside with vegetable oil and than put salt on your hand and spread all over inner part of your chicken. You need just littlebit of oil, enough to stick salt to chicken. Sorry for bad language not my native language.

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