Lemon, Garlic & Basil Slow-Roasted Chicken

Slow-Roast Game Hen, Greek-Style

Slow-Roast Game Hen, Greek-Style

By Cat, Nov 2014 (Photo, right, by Cat)

See also: 1. Slow Roasting/Braising Chicken (About); 2. Brining Chicken; 3. Brining Poultry

Slow-Roasting provides lots of benefits, including:

  • Provides amazing juiciness and flavor;
  • Less damage to nutrients in the meat;
  • Minimizes glycation and its adverse, potentially cancer-causing affects.

I’ve not yet tested this particular recipe, but I’ve tested the basic method many many times.

How to brine a whole chicken

1. Prep whole chicken: If chicken is frozen, thaw in refrigerator  36 – 48 hours until totally thawed.  Remove neck and giblets from chicken & set aside.  Trim off excess fat, if desired.  Cut out tail, if desired.  Rinse chicken inside and out, then place in brining bowl or tub.  Measure the amount of water it takes to cover the chicken (you need to apply a weight to the chicken to keep it submerged).  Drain off the water.

2. Prepare brine, the amount you just measured (refer to Roast Poultry for more on this method). Use the following amounts per gallon of filtered water as a starting point.

  • Egg Test for Correct Amount of Salt in Brine1 1/2 cups Morton Kosher salt,
  • 3 Tbsp Rapadura or brown sugar

After mixing the brine, use the egg test, right, to determine if there is sufficient salt:

To mix the brine: Start with half of the water at skin temperature, to dissolve the salt and sugar. Then add remaining cold water.

3. Pour brine over chicken.  Rest in refrigerator or other cold place (about 40°F) for 4 hours.

4. Remove chicken from brine; discard brine, and rinse the chicken inside and out.  If not ready to roast right away, put chicken in a bag or covered container, in the refrigerator.  Be sure to remove it from the fridge and allow it to warm to room temperature before preparing it for roasting.

Lemon, Garlic & Basil Slow Roasted Chicken

This recipe is adapted from For the Love of Cooking (1), and roasts at 275°F for about 5 hours, for a 4 pound chicken.  I recommend brining first, for 4 hours.  Total time, including prep, about 9 1/2 – 10 hours.

Alternatives: Try fresh oregano instead of basil, for a Greek flavor. Use 2 – 3 tsp oregano leaves, or more, to taste.

Ingredients & Equipment

  • 3.5 – 4 lb roasting chicken (or 2 game hens, butterflied)
  • Brining liquid (see above)
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • fresh basil leaves (or oregano for a different flavor)
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 onion
  • 4 – 5 whole garlic cloves
  • unrefined sea salt, to taste
  • freshly cracked pepper, to taste
  • Equipment:
  • small bowl
  • roasting pan
  • bulb baster


  1. Prep: Brine chicken (see above) at least 4 hours.  Rinse well and pat dry.
  2. Preheat oven to 275°F.
  3. Chop 2 – 3 basil leaves; mince garlic.  Cut lemon in half and squeeze out juice (reserve spent halves).  Mix juice, minced garlic, chopped basil, and olive oil.  Rub all over bird, and directly on the breast meat (beneath the skin).
  4. Sice half onion into large chunks, and place into cavity of chicken with whole garlic, and squeezed lemon halves.  No need to truss closed.
  5. Sprinkle with salt and cracked pepper, to taste. [NOTE:  if you brined the chicken, go light on the added salt.]
  6. Slow-Roast: Place bird on a rack in a roasting pan (or over a layer of carrots cut into 1″ chunks).  Roast, uncovered, 3.5 – 4 hours, until meat is falling off bones, and an instant-read thermometer inserted in thigh (avoid touching bone) reads 170°F.  Baste every 30 minutes after the first 2 hours of roasting.  Skin will be sticky and slightly crisp.
  7. If you want crispy skin, don’t baste for the last hour, and increase oven to 350°F for the last 5 minutes of roasting.
  8. Remove bird to carving board and let rest 10 minutes before carving.


  1. For the Love of Cooking recipe (fortheloveofcooking-recipes.blogspot .com/2009/01/lemon-garlic-and-basil-slow-roasted.html) BEWARE: The linked page may contain malware.

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