home cooked dinners by the season

Rosemary Lemon Split Roast Chicken

Rosemary Lemon Split Roast Chicken


  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 (3-1/2 to 4 pound) whole chicken, cut in half (ask the meat department to do this for you or see the note below to do this yourself)


Whisk together all ingredients except chicken. Put each split chicken in a re-sealable plastic bag; divide marinade evenly between bags. Seal bags, removing as much air as possible and massage marinade around chicken to coat evenly. Refrigerate overnight.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. convectional or 425 degrees F. conventional.
Remove chicken from marinade, discarding marinade. Heat a large heavy bottom skillet (I use my cast iron skillet) over medium heat. Once heated, put chicken skin side down in the skillet and cook until browned, about 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a baking sheet or roasting pan, skin side up (chicken halves can be browned in two batches if using a small skillet; wipe skillet with a paper towel between batches). Sprinkle chickens with salt and pepper.
Roast until chicken is browned, meat is cooked through and juices run clear (an instant reading thermometer when inserted in the meat should read 165 degrees F.) about 45 minutes. Remove from oven and allow sitting 15 minutes to “rest” (this allows the juices to settle in the meat so they don’t run out when chicken is cut). Cut chicken into pieces, following the outline of the leg, wing, thigh and breast.


To split a whole chicken into two halves:

*I like to wear disposable gloves when cutting a whole chicken.

If there are giblets inside of the chicken, remove and discard or save for another use. Place chicken on a flat work surface, breast side down. Using kitchen sheers (scissors) or a sharp knife, cut closely along each side of the chicken backbone from one end to the other; save backbone to make chicken stock or discard. Turn chicken over laying it flat and with breast side up; cut evenly through the breast from one end to the other.