There was a time in Manila when almost every street corner had a Lechon Manok stand.
It was a fad back then, though now, the real good ones prevailed and are still around...
Lechon Manok is roasted whole chicken, perfectly seasoned, fork-tender and wrapped and served on banana leaves.
It is roasted on an open indoor charcoal pit, and continuously basted - you could smell it a block away!
My take on this roasted chicken is different, because I don't have a pit to roast the chicken on -- but the taste is just as good.
I brine the chicken overnight in water-salt-sugar solution - and oven-roast for an hour to an hour and a half (depending on the weight of the chicken), basting from time to time with lemon-soy sauce-garlic mixture...
Brine solutions make the meat moist, tender and juicy.
It is also inexpensive -- no wonder it is a popular method of preparing turkey, pork chops and other cuts of meat that are to be roasted or oven-baked for quite a long period of time.
Tying a roaster chicken is not that hard, just remember that the wings and legs cannot be sticking out because they will burn before everything else gets cooked.
If you are not a fan of tying or trussing a chicken, tuck the wings backwards so they are not sticking out.
Make small holes on the skin across the drumstick and tuck each leg - and you're good to go.
YOUR SHOPPING LIST:
IN THE PANTRY:
1 Heat up 3 cups of water (from the gallon measure) and dissolve the salt and sugar, then mix to the rest of the water. Set aside to cool down.
2 Wash the chicken thoroughly and set on a deep container. Add the brine solution, making sure the chicken is fully submerged. Keep in the refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight.
3 Rinse the chicken well and discard the brine. Truss the chicken with a twine, making sure the wings and legs are tied close to the body.
4 Mix the soy sauce, lemon and garlic powder and baste the chicken.
5 Set the chicken on a roasting pan, and roast for one hour at 350 degrees Fahrenheit while covered with aluminum foil.
6 After an hour and a half, baste the chicken with the lemon/soy sauce. Increase oven temperature to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and roast for another 30 minutes, uncovered, to make the skin crisp.
7 Check for doneness by using a meat thermometer inserted on the chicken breast. It should read 165 degrees Fahrenheit or above.
8 Serve hot with the chicken au jus(liquid left on the roasting pan) on the side.