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Crispy Skin Chicken with 5-Spice and Sichuan Pepper

Crispy Skin Chicken with 5-Spice and Sichuan Pepper


  • One 4- to 4 ½-pound chicken, rinsed and dried well

For the Seasoning Blend:

  • 1 ½ tablespoons Sichuan peppercorns, toasted, then coarsely ground

  • 1 tablespoon Chinese 5-spice powder 

  • 1 tablespoon salt 

  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger 

  • 1 teaspoon ground garlic

  • 1 teaspoon ground anise or fennel pollen 

For the Marinade:

  • ¼ cup light agave or Acacia honey 

  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce (Chinese light soy, not low-sodium soy) 

  • 1 tablespoon black vinegar (Chinkiang) or rice vinegar 

  • 1 teaspoon salt 

Before Roasting:

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder 

  • Non-aerosol cooking spray 

To Serve and Pass at the Table:

  • 1 tablespoon EACH salt and Sichuan pepper mixed with 1 teaspoon EACH sugar and ground garlic 

  • Celery hearts, ends trimmed and stalks separated and cut on the bias

  • Scallions, cut on the bias

  • 2 tablespoons EACH light and dark soy sauce and black vinegar, combined


Serves: 4

Loosen skin of chicken all over. This will help drain any moisture from under skin and yield crispier skin.  

For the seasoning blend, combine the ingredients in a small bowl.

For the marinade, combine the ingredients in another small bowl.  

Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of the seasoning blend into the chicken cavity, set the bird on a can on a plate, on a beer can chicken pan or on a bundt pan. Add the remaining seasoning blend to the marinade. Cover chicken with marinade and set in fridge upright overnight.  

Before roasting, rub the baking powder into the skin and let the chicken stand for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 425°F with rack at center.

Truss the legs and tuck the wings under. Place the chicken on a rack over a foil-lined tray, spray with oil and roast 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 325°F and roast 75 to 90 minutes more until very crispy and deeply golden. 

While the chicken roasts, prepare the spice blend, celery, scallions and sauce to pass.