3-1/2 to 4 lb chicken
1 head of garlic
1/2 stick of butter or 1/4 cup of olive oil
salt & ground pepper
1. Arrange a rack in the center of your oven and preheat to 425 degrees. Cut 1 lemon in half cross-wise and remove visible seeds.
2. Cut 1 head of garlic in half cross-wise.
3. Melt 1/2 stick of butter in microwave in a small bowl.
4. Place whole chicken on a cutting board and pat with paper towels to get as dry as possible.
5. With chicken breast facing up and legs pointing toward you, use a sharp knife to slice through loose area of skin connecting the leg and breast, making about a 3"-long incision. Continue cutting downward until you hit the joint that connects the thigh to the body, then stop (once you get through the skin, there’s not much there; if you are cutting through flesh, you’re too close to the breast). This exposes the leg joint, making it easy to tell if chicken is cooked. Repeat on second side.
6. Season surface of the chicken and inside the cavity with salt & pepper.
7. Transfer the chicken, breast-side up, into a skillet and arrange lemon and garlic, cut-side down around the chicken.
8. Drizzle chicken with melted butter and transfer to oven.
9. Roast until chicken is nicely browned and cooked through, checking for doneness after 45 minutes. To check, carefully remove skillet from oven (the handle is hot!), poke a knife into leg joints, and pierce the meat. If juices run clear, the chicken is done. If you see a rosy pink color, it needs more time. Continue to roast, checking every 5 minutes, until juices run clear.
10. Let chicken rest in skillet at least 15 minutes before carving—this will help the juices in the meat to settle. Transfer chicken to a platter. Pour all of the buttery pan juices over top of the meat and serve with roasted lemon and garlic alongside.