Food Gold: Sammy Bananas' Roast Lemon Rosemary Chicken

Posted on Jan 21st, 2011 in Columns > Food Gold by Mr. Goldbar

OG Food Gold contributor Sammy Bananas returns!

Who Likes Chicken? Over the past few years I’ve been working on a simple but damn good recipe for Roast Chicken. The result is straightforward and hard to screw up, but a serious mouth waterer. I recently brought this chicken to the annual Fool’s Gold Holiday Potluck, and it seemed to be a hit! Food Gold head chef Elliot practically forced me to give up the recipe, and I’m happy to share. I’ve gotta give a shout here to my lovely girlfriend Mari, who introduced this approach to me, and has helped shape it into a winner. Read below to find out the juicy (and I do mean juicy) details!


– One 4-5 lb organic/swaggy chicken *Please spend a little extra time and a few extra bucks and go to a butcher to get this bad boy. The Purdue jumpoffs in the meat section generally have been frozen, and are also not organic and yadayada. Your roast chicken will only be as good as your raw chicken.
– 5 springs rosemary
– 2 cloves garlic
– 2 lemons
– Lots of coarse kosher salt
– Pepper to taste
– Olive Oil


– One roasting rack/pan: This might be something you don’t have, but you can get a cheap rack since the chicken is pretty light, and you can just use a high walled aluminum pan if need be (the kind they have at all grocery stores for 2 bucks)


1. Pre heat the oven to 375 degrees

2. Prep the bird: Wash the chicken inside and out under cold water and pat very dry with paper towels. Next, pour a lot of salt on the skin and within the cavity and rub around thoroughly with your fingers. Let the chicken sit for 10 minutes at room temperature, and then pat dry again, brushing off excess salt crystals. The salt helps both to flavor the skin and to help extract more water out to make everything extra crispy.

3. Make that rub, son. Zest the lemons, mince the garlic and chop one tablespoon of rosemary. Mix these together with a 1/2 tablespoon of salt and a dash of pepper to complete the rub.

4. Get under the skin: Turn the Chicken so that the legs are facing away from you and stick your fingers under the skin on top of the breasts. Slowly work your fingers between the breast and the skin to loosen the skin from the meat. This is going to be kinda gross at first, and even grosser when you have most of your hand stuffed in between raw chicken and chicken skin, but this is essential! Be careful not to tear the skin, but try and loosen as much as you can. Next, deposit all of rosemary/salt/lemon zest rub under the skin but working it in that space with your fingers. WASH YOUR HANDS!

5. Stuff the bird: Quarter the lemons you zested and stick them inside the chicken cavity, along with the remaining sprigs of rosemary. If you have some string or twine, cross the legs over the cavity opening and tie them together to seal up the goodies inside.

6. Oil it up: Place the bird breast side up on the roasting rack in the pan, pour some olive oil on top and rub thoroughly over the skin.

7. Cook: Place the chicken in the oven and cook for about 1hr. DON’T OPEN THE OVEN. It’s counter intuitive, but basting this bird will actually dry it out. If you like your skin crispy, turn the heat up to 450 for the last 10-15 min. Remove from the oven and let the chicken rest for about 10 minutes before carving.

8. Enjoy!