Cookbook writer Suzanne Zeidy cooks this juicy rooster—rubbed throughout in bracing, floral sumac—in a rotisserie, though an oven yields equally scrumptious outcomes. Enable no less than 24 hours for brining the rooster.

Featured in: “Lunch at the Desert’s Edge.”

Yield: serves 4

Time: 2 hours


  • ½ cup kosher salt, plus extra
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. black peppercorns
  • 10 rosemary sprigs, divided
  • 10 thyme sprigs, divided
  • 2 medium heads of garlic, papery skins discarded, plus 5 cloves (4 smashed, 1 finely chopped)
  • 4 medium lemons, thinly sliced, divided
  • 1 entire rooster (about 3½ lb.)
  • 2 Tbsp. floor sumac
  • 1 Tbsp. finely grated lemon zest
  • Freshly floor black pepper
  • ¼ cup olive oil, divided


  1. Marinate the rooster: In a small pot, deliver 4 cups of water to a boil. Take away from the warmth and stir within the salt, sugar, peppercorns, 5 of the rosemary sprigs, 5 of the thyme sprigs, the smashed garlic, and the slices from 3 of the lemons. Pour into a big bowl, add 8 cups of chilly water, then submerge the rooster within the brine, cowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 12–36 hours.
  2. Place a rack within the middle of the oven and preheat to 400°F. On a sheet of foil, place one of many heads of garlic, then drizzle with 1½ teaspoons of the olive oil and wrap to surround; repeat with the remaining head of garlic and switch to a roasting pan or giant rimmed baking sheet.
  3. In a small bowl, stir collectively the sumac and lemon zest. Drain the rooster, discard the brine, and use paper towels to pat the rooster dry in and out. Utilizing your fingers, gently separate the pores and skin from the flesh and rub the sumac combination underneath the pores and skin beneath the breasts, thighs, and drumsticks. Switch breast-side as much as the roasting pan with the garlic bundles.
  4. In a bowl, stir collectively the chopped garlic and remaining rosemary, thyme, lemon slices, and olive oil. Stuff the cavity with the rosemary, thyme, and lemon, then rub the skin of the rooster throughout with the oil combination and season with salt and black pepper to style. Bake till golden brown and a thermometer inserted into the thigh reads 160°F, about 1 hour 10 minutes. Switch the rooster to a chopping board (don’t discard the pan juices) and let stand for 10 minutes.
  5. To serve, carve the rooster and switch the meat to a platter, then tent with foil. Unwrap the garlic, lower the heads in half crosswise, and squeeze the cloves into the roasting pan. Whisk the garlic into the pan juices, then pour the sauce right into a bowl and serve alongside the rooster.

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