Split Decision Chicken

On weekends, we usually work out dinner menus for Sunday through Wednesday for the following week. Then Thursday is leftover night, while Friday and Saturday we dine out. (Of course, COVID put a big dent in that typical scenario for much of 2020.)

Recently, one Saturday morning I was creating the menu while simultaneously preparing a shopping list of necessary ingredients. Part way into process, The Mr. joined me to work out the details. Shortly afterward we hit the road to make our purchases.

As I mentioned, Saturday night is a dine-out event. As we enjoyed our repast at a nearby restaurant, I wondered aloud what we had planned for dinner the next day on Sunday? We just stared at each other open-mouthed, and realized that somehow, we had entirely overlooked that meal altogether, duh! So we made a split decision and decided to retrieve two chicken halves from the freezer as soon as we got home.

That begged the question of exactly what to do with said chicken halves, not to mention what sides to serve with it? I decided to make a butter-garlic rub for the chicken and roast some Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Shallots and garlic, all of which could go into a 425° oven. Hubby was going to throw together a baked rice dish which he could do entirely on the stovetop. Crisis averted.

I always keep a container of homemade roasted garlic paste in the fridge and decided to make a butter rub using the paste, rosemary and lemon zest. Our Lynn’s Split-Decision Roast Chicken not only spoke to our separate preferences of white versus dark meat, it resulted in a wonderful dinner full of flavor!

Lynn's Split Decision Chicken

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 2 chicken halves, each about 1 3/4 lbs.
  • 2 Tbsp. softened (not melted) butter
  • 1 Tbsp. roasted garlic paste
  • 1 tsp. minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • Salt and pepper


  1. If you’re starting with a whole chicken, cut out the back and split the chicken into two equal halves. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. Combine the other ingredients with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl. Lifting the skin of the chicken rub the butter mixture all over the breast, thigh and legs without ripping the skin.
  3. Oil a rimmed quarter baking sheet. Arrange the chicken halves, skin side up on the baking sheet, rub more oil over the skin and sprinkle on salt and pepper.
  4. After 30 minutes, baste the chicken with the drippings to help the skin brown and crisp. Check the temperature and return to the oven for about another 10 minutes. The thickest part of the thigh, without touching the bone, should register 170° when done.
  5. Remove the baking sheet from the oven, move chicken to a platter, and tent with foil for 5-10 minutes. If desired, cut the breasts away from the thighs to create 4 pieces total.


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