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Remove the giblets from chicken; discard or save for another use. If you like, rinse the chicken thoroughly on outside as well as inside the body and neck cavities. Let any excess water run off. Pat dry with paper towels. To prevent overbrowning and for a neater appearance, twist the wing tips under the back of the chicken. Set aside.
In a small bowl, combine salt, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, white pepper, thyme, black pepper, sage and cayenne. Remove 1 tablespoon of the spice rub; set aside.
Use your fingers to rub the remaining spice rub all over the chicken's skin and inside the body cavity. If possible, reach under the skin. Place chicken in a sealable plastic bag; seal and marinate in the refrigerator for 8 to 24 hours.
In a medium bowl, combine the reserved 1 tablespoon spice rub, lemon wedges, onion wedges, garlic and sugar. Squeeze a wedge of lemon over the mixture. Cover and chill for 8 to 24 hours.
Preheat oven to 425°F. Place the chicken, breast-side up, on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Stuff the cavity with the lemon and onion mixture. If you like, add 1 sprig of rosemary inside the cavity. Roast, uncovered, for 15 minutes.
Reduce the oven temperature to 250°F. Roast, uncovered, for 1 hour. Use a squeeze-style baster or a pastry brush to baste the chicken with the pan juices. Roast, uncovered, for 2 1/2 to 3 hours more, basting with pan juices about every 30 minutes. Continuing roasting until the drumsticks move easily in their sockets and the chicken is no longer pink. (An instant-read thermometer should register 180°F.)
To serve, transfer the chicken to a large serving platter. If you like, garnish with lemon twists and rosemary sprigs.