(Updated September 2020)
“Pasture makes perfect” and roasted pasture-raised chicken is a true classic. Cooking 3R pasture-raised chicken is a bit different than conventionally-raised chicken, including conventionally-raised chickens fed organic feed.
In addition to being flavourful and juicy, pasture-raised chicken tends to cook faster because the birds exercise their muscles on pasture and aren’t injected with water or salts after butchering. Their life outside also results in more “mouth feel” and reddish juices, even when the chicken is thoroughly cooked.
Traditional advice would say to cook pasture-raised chicken “low and slow” (i.e. 325°F for 3-ish hours), which produces a beautiful chicken. While high-and-fast (400+°F for less than an hour) also works, we prefer an intermediate approach, as it keeps the bird nice and juicy but we are usually looking for faster options. As always, exact cooking time depends on your oven, size of bird, and other food you have cooking in the oven.
There are many recipes and methods for cooking pasture-raised, and we encourage to you explore other roasted chicken recipe online. Just be sure the recipe is specific to “pasture-raised” or “pastured” chicken.
- 1 x 4-6 lbs pasture-raised whole chicken
- A generous rub of salt and pepper
- 2-3 tablespoons butter, ghee or olive oil
- Prairie Pollo organic poultry mix or other culinary herbs
- Vegetables for roasting – whole garlic, carrots, potatoes, onions, squash, etc. (optional)
- Preheat your oven to 375°F – or follow oven instructions if using convection, etc.
- Chop vegetables and place in bottom of roasting pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Prepare chicken by removing neck and giblets, pat dry and rub with olive oil, salt, pepper and herbs. There’s no need to rinse your chicken but patting it dry with a clean towel will help ensure you have nice crispy skin.
- Place the neck and vegetables at the bottom of a roasting pan, cast iron pan or dutch oven; and place the whole chicken breast side up on top of the vegetables. This way, the chicken fat and juices will seep into the vegetables for ultimate taste.
- Roast until chicken registers 165°F – around 1 hour. Juices may not run 100% clear but the legs should easily pull away from the body.
- Remove the chicken and continuing roasting vegetables, if needed (sometimes potatoes like the oven to themselves!)
- Allow chicken to rest before carving.
- (Use the drippings for a quick gravy.)
- Try not to fight over the skin – it is so good.
- Use bones, carcass, neck, and drippings to make a delicious stock.