Add the salt, sugar, garlic powder, and lemon zest
to the water, and heat until they dissolve. Pore in
the ice and refrigerate until cool. Add the washed
chicken. Brine for 2 to 3 hours.
Remove the chicken from the brine, and dry thoroughly
with paper towels. Place the two lemon halves in
the cavity of the chicken. Sprinkle the chicken
with black pepper and lemon zest. Cover the breast
and the top of each thigh with strips of bacon.
While preparing the chicken, place a 12" cast
iron skillet on the lower rack in the oven, and
preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Using heat protection,
carefully remove the hot skillet from the oven.
Place the chicken in the skillet, and return to
the oven. Roast for 40 minutes. Take the chicken
out of the oven and remove the bacon. Return the
chicken to the oven and roast of another 20 - 30
minutes, or until the thigh is at 160 degrees. Carve,
serve, and enjoy!
Feel free to use the juices left in the skillet
to make a delicious pan sauce. Just keep 1 - 2 tbls,
add some shallot, garlic, fresh thyme, a dollop
of dijon mustard, about a cup of chicken stock,
finish with some butter. A little lemon juice or
your favorite vinegar will also add a little zip.
Cliff Note: We make several variation
on this roast chicken. Usually putting a herb butter
under the skin before laying on the bacon. Use the
herb butter from this recipe
for one idea. But a compound butter with just garlic,
chives, and lemon zest is also delicious. The last
time we used an idea from TV, and roasted several
lemon halves at the same time as the chicken and
then used the juice from these lemons to make a
roasted lemon vinaigrette as a sauce for the chicken.