HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


simple roast chicken rubs/marinades

i'm currently doing part time private chef work for a family who really loves SIMPLE cuisine.
they have me make roast chicken every friday night. i've made a butter with herbs and garlic and put that under the skin. i've chopped herbs, garlic, and lemon zest and rubbed that under the skin and stuffed it with lemon halves, garlic, and herbs.

i personally love more complicated dishes. more spice. harissa rubs, curry, etc....
so i'm really at a loss of what else i can do thats simple, that is kid friendly, and different from what i've been doing.

help me pleaseeeee :)

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Here's a very simple method I learned at the CIA: combine one part Bell's seasoning with equal amount of Old Bay, and 2 parts kosher salt. Season chicken w/ S&P, oil, and then rub with seasoning inside and out.

    If they like simple and they want a roast chicken every Friday, I would think they would be pleased to see the same chicken each time. In fact, family legends are built on Grandma's chicken always made the same way.

    Me, I like 1/2 lemon, a small onion, garlic and herbs stuffed in the cavity.

    1. My mom made an awesome roast chicken with the simplest of rubs.....she would blend Season-all seasoned salt,garlic powder, paprika, black pepper and a little onion powder (very little onion powder)....never exact measurements. she would add a drop or two of water to make a paste and then rub that all over and inside the chicken. It was really simple but very flavorful and smelled oh so good when cooking. she would roast the chicken on a rack in a roasting pan with rough chopped celery, onions and carrots and then blend the roasted vegetables to make a sauce for the chicken. Can't get any simpler than that. As far as kid friendly, we were three kids and we certainly polished off those chickens. i should mention that she started out with kosher chickens, so i think they were pretty flavorful to begin with.

      1. Don't forget herbes de Provance, jerk seasoning, Montreal seasoning, and beer can chicken.

        1. try a nice creole injection and rub the skin with 50/50 olive oil and lemon pepper.
          my kids love it not as hot as you would think

          1. try this:

            2 T fresh rosemary, finely chopped
            1/4 tsp allspice
            2 cloves garlic, minced
            enough good olive oil to bind together

            Rub over and under the skin. very nice--from Julia

            I also like to use Busha Brown's jerk paste (Cost Plus)- water it down a bit and temper the heat with preserves like apricot or raspberry (for the kids). Nice combo of flavors and not too hot.

            1. Exactly what is wrong with elegant simplicity? Or comfort food? You're cooking for them. Make them happy.

              Years ago I started doing a simple roast chicken rubbed all over, including under the skin, with a liquidy paste of olive oil, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. My family and friends never tire of it, I don't have to think, it never fails, the house smells like a dream when they walk in the door.
              I rarely even bother with a roasting rack. I just lay the chicken on a bed of aromatic vegetables - onion, celery, carrots - and the drippings are divine for a quick pan sauce.
              I have dozens of other chicken recipes but I can do this once a week and never get a complaint. The leftovers are simple enough for any use. The carcass goes into a pot for a little bit of generic stock.

              1 Reply
              1. re: MakingSense

                absolutely nothing is wrong with simplicity. my job is to make them happy...but i also want to come up with new simple ideas to have in case they ask. so far they've loved my chicken 3 weeks in a row. hahaha :)

              2. If this family doesn't mind a bit of spice in their life, try taking Ferma hot red pepper paste (from Portugal) and mix it with crushed garlic, chopped scallions, lemon juice, s & p. Rub it in the cavity, under the skin, and on top of the skin. It's divine, and reminds me of the piri-piri chicken we enjoyed on our honeymoon (21 years ago!) in Portugal.

                1. Ground pomegranate seeds(available in south/central asian groceries)
                  Ground Cumin
                  Black Pepper
                  Olive Oil

                  This is a subtle sweet/sour flavor that is hard to pin down but very delicious and not a difficult taste to deal with.

                  1. Beer can chicken is a great idea, and I have yet to meet anyone who doesn't love it.

                    I like to use the original blend of Mrs Dash as a seasoning, with a little kosher salt and then stuff the cavity with aromatics.

                    Herbes Du Provence is another great idea, as is Penzey's jerk seasoning, Cajun spice, and and if your customers are adventurous, I have found the vindaloo or sweet curry blend make a interesting roast chicken.

                    Penzeys also have a Malay' satay spice blend and zataar is good, but the appeal can be limited unless your customers are well traveled.

                    1. Starting off with something very simple, and adding a hint of "something different" might get them to enjoy different flavors. If you can find Spike seasoning in your local market, that would add something different.

                      You also don't say if you make gravy at all - if you do, perhaps a different kind of sauce might jazz it up?

                      I've used this combination on turkey tenderloins - would work very well on a whole roast chicken, playing around with the quantities to keep it kid-friendly.

                      1 tsp garlic powder
                      1 tsp dried marjoram
                      2 tsp dried tarragon
                      1/2 tsp ground sage
                      1/2 tsp dried thyme
                      1-1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
                      1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
                      1/2 Tbsp paprika
                      1/2 tsp salt
                      1 Tbsp brown sugar

                      1. My favorite chix combo is shallots or onions - minced, crushed garlic, fresh crushed rosemary, dijon mustard, lemon zest and juice.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: niki rothman

                          is this all rubbed under the skin? sounds yummy

                        2. I have 2 ideas -(I frequently do Friday night chicken)

                          1) Mix of Garlic, Oregano, Basil Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar and let it marinate... or substitue the Balsamic for lemon juice...(at least 2 lemons for a whole chicken) Let sit for a few hours if possible.

                          2) A recipe that we found in Boston Globe Magazine section as a "pork rub"...since we don't do pork...it works great on chicken on the grill.

                          6 tablespoons Brown sugar
                          4 tablespoons ground cumin
                          4 tablespoons paprika
                          4 tablespoons kosher salt
                          2 tablespoons black pepper
                          2 tablespoons chili powder
                          1 teaspoon (or less) cayenne pepper
                          1 teaspoon mace or nutmeg

                          Toss spice mix & chicken into ziploc bag, let marinate for as long as possible in fridge.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: cheesehead in recovery

                            I tried the pork rub on grilled chicken last night. It was delicious; some nice heat, and the cumin and sugar together brought great flavor. SO and his best friend both said, "what's *this*?"...They Loved it.

                            Also, I served it alongside kohlrabi-mashed potatoes. Just kind of made the recipe up, though I'm sure it's been done before. Anyone do this, too? I've heard in Chicago they do another variation using mashed cauliflower into the potatoes. SO says they call it 'California mashers.' Anyway, for another thread...