One 6 1/2- to 7-pound roasting chicken, rinsed, patted dry
1 1/4 cups fresh lemon juice (from about 6 large lemons)
Coarse kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
A few sprigs of fresh thyme
1/4 cup honey, heated to make it easier to brush
Marinate chicken in the lemon juice in sealable plastic bag, placed in a large bowl, so that if it leaks it will leak into the bowl. Refrigerate several hours to overnight, turning the bag occasionally so that the chicken stays well coated with the lemon juice.
Preheat oven to 450?F. Drain chicken from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle the exterior of the chicken and the cavity generously with salt and pepper. Place thyme sprigs into the cavity. Place chicken breast side down, on a rack in a roasting pan. Roast for 15 minutes at 450?F, then reduce the oven temperature to 375?F and roast for 45 minutes more.
Turn chicken breast side up on the rack. Use a basting brush or pastry brush to coat the chicken all over with honey. Lower the heat to 350?F and continue to cook until cooked through and deep brown, basting with any juices in pan and brushing with honey occasionally, about 55 minutes longer (test for doneness starting about 40 minutes). The chicken is done when the juices run clear (not pink) when a knife tip is inserted into both the chicken breast and thigh, about 165-170?F for the breast and 180-185?F for the thigh. Transfer chicken to platter. Tent loosely with aluminum foil to keep the chicken warm. Let rest for 15 minutes before carving.
Pour the pan juices into small saucepan. Spoon off fat. Reheat the pan juices. If you want you can thicken with a little flour or corn starch (create a slurry with corn starch or flour and a little water first, before adding to the pan juices). Season with salt and pepper. Serve chicken with pan juices or thickened gravy.