Mesquite Roasted Chicken

27 Jan

Roasted chicken, in my humble opinion, is one of the world’s perfect comfort foods. Nothing says “comfy at home” like a plate of simple roast chicken with a side of potatoes and a green veggie. Of course, the chicken has to be tasty and juicy, which we covered a few weeks back. Simple and tasty, it is among my favorite dinners.

My family disagrees.

My family disagrees with loud abandon, actually. There is much eye-rolling on roasted chicken night. There is picking at plates and whining and a general aura of disgust when I roast a bird and set it lovingly before them at 6 p.m.


Because I don’t know what in the world is wrong with all of them and because I regularly cook their favorites even when they’re not my personal favorites, we continue to have roasted chicken. Life is hard and they will deal and Mommy is, despite the grousing, happy. But that doesn’t mean I don’t occasionally pity them and think about shaking things up from time to time.

The other night was one of those days. I had a whole chicken in the fridge and a bottle of mesquite seasoning in the drawer and a family full of Mexican food lovers, and one thing led to another, and a new twist on roasted chicken was born.

The concept is the same as perfect roast chicken. You’re going to put the bird in a hot oven with some citrus and some savory things inside it and some onion underneath it. Only before you do that, you’re going to let it sit in the fridge overnight with mesquite seasoning rubbed on and underneath its skin.



This may be my new favorite way to cook a chicken. Seriously. It’s slightly different than anything you’ve had before, in the most wonderful way. DS had his customary drumstick. DD shredded hers up and put it into a leftover taco shell with some cheese and salsa. This would be great in taco soup or a quesadilla or enchiladas or just the way I had it–all by its lovely self on the plate with some vegetables.

DH and I ate half of the white meat the night I made this. Last night, I diced up the rest and made a big pot of Perfect Corn Chowder, with a loaf of sweet white bread. I’ll have leftover soup today.

This is a nice twist on routine roasted chicken, and the leftovers are perfect for any kind of Mexican or Southwestern chicken dish you like. To make it, you’ll need:

1 roasting chicken, giblets removed

1 onion, thickly sliced

1 head of garlic, cloves separated but not peeled

1 lime, quartered

About 2 tbsp of mesquite seasoning

2 tbsp butter (don’t try to use olive oil unless you enjoy cleaning your oven)

Several hours, or the day before, you plan to eat your chicken, rinse it and pat it dry. Loosen the skin around the breasts and thighs, cutting small slits in it as necessary to work your fingers underneath it. Use your fingers to rub the mesquite seasoning onto the meat and over the skin. Close the skin back up with toothpicks:

About two hours before you’d like to eat, heat your oven to 450 degrees and spray a roasting pan or simple 9 x 13″ baking dish (with high sides) with cooking spray. Lay the onion slices and all but 4 cloves of the garlic on the bottom of the dish, covering at least its center. Pull the chicken out of the refrigerator.

Put your lime quarters and remaining four cloves of garlic inside the chicken.

Melt the butter and gently brush it all over the outside of the chicken. Lay the chicken breast-side down (that’s probably not how your mom did it, but keeps the white meat juicy) on top of the onion slices and garlic cloves in the dish. Roast the chicken for about 90 minutes, or until the internal thigh temperature is 170 degrees (please use a meat thermometer when you roast poultry. Salmonella is not fun.). Pull it out of the oven, let it rest 20 minutes, carve and enjoy.

One Response to “Mesquite Roasted Chicken”

  1. mary m January 27, 2011 at 10:24 pm #

    Yummy! This sounds so good right now. I might have to raid my parents freezer for a chicken (I think my dad bought a few last week…)

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