Chicken: The Unsung Hero of Thanksgiving

Wayne Farms’ Chicken: The Unsung Hero of Thanksgiving

2020 took a lot away from us this year, including how we traditionally celebrate holidays. And with COVID-19 still posing a threat, the CDC is recommending we all take a step back from the typically large Thanksgiving dinner and ask that we keep our gatherings, well, smaller.

With fewer guests around the dinner table, many consumers are opting for smaller turkeys or cuts of turkey rather than the whole bird. In response to the shifting demand, farmers began prepping for the holiday season by producing smaller birds. However grocers are concerned it’s not enough to keep up with the increased number of consumers cooking from home this year as well.

Queue the unsung hero of Thanksgiving—chicken! The foodie world is currently buzzing with tons of alternative Thanksgiving meals in lieu of customary dishes, and chicken is one of those mentioned. Although it is not nearly as large as a turkey, chicken still holds the same grand appearance as a main dish. And on a busy day, such as Thanksgiving, the benefits to choosing chicken over turkey are endless: there’s less prep time involved, the chances of overcooking the meat are slim, and it can absorb more flavor because of its smaller size. Not to mention it’s economically more affordable than its competition.

And it’s not just consumers who can gain from switching birds. Operators can easily prepare more chicken at a time by putting two or three whole birds on a roasting pan, versus one turkey. Not to mention, having more inventory allows you to experiment with seasonings and glazes, of course that’s if you’re up for the challenge!

Nonetheless, we at Wayne Farms are here to help you make this Thanksgiving as successful as possible especially during, what has been, an unpredictable year. That’s why we asked Chef Frank Jock, from our corporate kitchen, to share a simple yet flavorful oven roasted chicken recipe.



  • Whole fryer chicken, approximately 3-½ pounds
  • 1 ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 large lemon
  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary


  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Meanwhile, remove all the chicken giblets and rinse with cold water. Then place the chicken in the roasting pan with the breast side up.
  2. In a small bowl stir together salt, black pepper, basil, oregano, paprika and onion powder to create a spice blend. Set aside.
  3. Using a pastry brush, apply the butter to the chicken, then sprinkle the spice blend from the previous step evenly over the chicken and inside the cavity.
  4. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice directly over the chicken skin. Next, place the lemon halves, thyme and rosemary sprigs inside the cavity.
  5. Roast the chicken for 45 to 60 minute, basting every 20 minutes to maintain moisture.
  6. Remove the chicken from the oven making sure it’s reached, at minimum, an internal temperature of 165° F. Do so by using a meat thermometer and inserting it where the leg connects to the chicken.
  7. Let the chicken rest for approximately 20 minutes before serving.

    From our kitchen to yours, may your holiday season be full of joy and have a happy Thanksgiving.