Juicy and tender roast chicken could not be easier.
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This will happen as there is steam between the skin and the meat itself. It is still better to let the bird rest though and not worry so much about the crispy skin.
You want to know what I do...I eat the skin before I cover it...shhh...don't tell anyone :-)
I think it was partly the bird itself (from a small purveyor) and partly the recipe, but this was one of the best roast chickens my family has ever eaten. I rubbed the bird with truffle salt, some truffle oil and some kosher salt and pepper, inside and out, and then put a fresh lemon from our tree as well as a few garlic cloves on the inside of the bird.
The skin, as you all noted, was not crispy at the 1:15 time, but I put it back in the oven at 450 for the last 15 minutes and the skin crisped up and the bird was still super tender.
The soup I made with the carcass today was also one of the best I've ever made!
Before I started using this method I followed Joy of Cooking's advice to use cheese cloth and do other complex things. Now, that chicken was very good, but prep time was a drawn out ritual. Consequently, I roasted only one or two chicken a year.
Using this technique, we've had at least one a week for the past month. It's so simple! Today, my son used the recipe for his high school nutrition class. I'm pretty sure he'll get good scores for this dead-simple recipe.
I had read somewhere that it was best to grill a chicken low and slow at 225F for 2.5 hours. The chickens came out alright but there was a heavy chicken fat flavour that just hung over everything. Also there was some yellow fat that didn't disappear and was not appetizing.
Last night I decided to try cooking the chicken hotter and faster using this recipe as my guide. I rubbed the chicken with some salt and spice and mounted it on a tall beer can with half the beer deposited into my belly. I also added an aluminum foil pouch with hickory directly on the active burner to get some smoke. The bird roasted at 350F for exactly one hour and I have never had better results. The breast temperature was 175F and the drumsticks 190+ but the chicken was not dry at all. I made a pan sauce with the drippings and sauteed some veggies while the bird was resting.
I guess low and slow doesn't work for everything. Or maybe it takes a lot longer. I understand that the grocery store roasted chicken cooks for 4-6 hours? Anyway, this one hour method was as good or better than the best roasted chicken I have ever had.
You are right, low and slow isn't ideal for everything. When roasting at higher temperatures, meats are usually coated with a bit of oil to help keep it moist. Poultry comes with a natural, thick layer of tissue or skin that acts as insulation to the meat. A chicken’s skin with its melting fat underneath helps to baste the meat and keep the moisture in. It also insulates the bird’s flesh from the outside oven heat, which is why a chicken can be roasted at higher temperatures with great success. Plus, who doesn't like crispy skin on a bird? With low and slow cooking, you won't be able to achieve this. Hope this helps!
I tried cooking a basic roast chicken in a big cast iron skillet with 3" deep sides -- it's all I had available. After I started, I noticed the oven rack was a bit high -- perhaps around the top 1/3rd of oven -- but figured it would not make a big difference in cooking time.
The chicken took over 2 hours to cook even at 400 degrees. I was wondering if either the skillet or the position in the oven would affect the cooking time like this. I expected it to cook in about an hour.
I realize that oven temperatures can vary, but this seemed pretty out of whack even considering minor temperature differences. I'm beginning to think the rack height was significant. Any ideas?
I agree with Jim. I just recently got myself an oven thermometer and found that the temperature can be off by as much as 75 degrees. My particular oven was set to 450 one day and the thermometer never registered more than 375. I was stunned! It also explained why a number of oven dishes had not come out as expected.
Thanks. I am beginning to suspect the temperature as well. I made another batch of two roasted chickens this weekend. At 90 minutes, the thigh barely registered 160. The breast meat was tender, but I suspect a tad underdone as it got closer to the red meat/thigh. I made sure I had the right oven position this time and used a rack for better heat circulation.
I just ordered the #1 cheapo oven thermometer from Amazon, so we'll see what happens.
Funny thing -- I used to make roasted chickens all the time as a 13-year old kid who came home from school before the rest of the family. I just put it in the oven sprinkled with some garlic powder. I can't remember how long I kept it in the oven, but must've followed my mom's advice of x minutes at y temp. I didn't think it would be so hard to return to my roots :)
Sounds like a thermometer might shed some light onto the situation for you. You should also know that cooking 2 birds rather than one can sometimes take a bit longer, if there is not enough room for the hot air to completely circulate the birds.
I think the reason roasting a chicken was easier for you when you were a kid was because you were likely not over thinking it. You just put it in and then took it out when it was cooked. Your mother probably knew the temperature of her oven and how long it took to cook a certain size bird. Cheers!
Thanks for the suggestions. I feel a little like Meryl Streep in "Julie and Julia" where she tried cutting piles of onions until she learned how to cut them correctly. I've gone through 3 birds this week, and will do some more this weekend after I get my new thermometer :)
Chickens are so cheap. We are now using them instead of buying expensive smoked turkey slices. Much better quality.
I am also thinking now of getting a rotisserie attachment for our gas grill. First, though, I want to master the oven technique. For those of us in the Pacific Northwest, tending a grill on a rainy deck in the winter is not fun :)
Nice work Bill. Ask any seasoned chef how many chickens he (or she) has cooked and they will say 100's if not 1000's. Too many people these days think that they can just make something once and that should teach them all there is to know. Even with good instruction and chef support it still comes down to actually doing it yourself. Things need to be made so many times that it just becomes second nature.
Unfortunately, the world today is often about "what is the next best thing?", especially when it comes to cooking. Just think of how many dishes our grandparents made. They were so good at what they did because really many of them only made a few different dishes. I can still taste my Nana's Shepard's Pie. She made it every week, without fail and without a recipe but again it is because she made it 100's of times.
Anyways, I just wanted to say good for you and keep up the great work. Cheers!
I have a rotisserie, and I can cook 2 birds in around 2 1/2 hours...they turn out juicy and yummy every time! (I also eat the skin right away! Why waste it?) A lesson on rotisserie cooking would be fun! I have trouble trussing them...do I season then truss, truss then season, when do I put it on the spit? I feel like I'm wrestling with them every time....
I just found this new recipe on another site (sorry -- hope that's not forbidden): http://www.cooksillustrated.com/recipes/detail.asp?docid=31237
They have a unique method of cooking a chicken quickly without drying it out. Basically, you cook it in a 12" pre-heated skillet at 450 degrees for about 30 minutes. Then turn off the oven and let the residual heat cook it the rest of the way.
I tried it last night and it worked pretty well. Although, I only had a cast iron 12" skillet, which smoked up the house quite a bit when I preheated. I figured that might happen, but the chicken turned out well. A nice stainless steel pan would have worked better, had I had one.
I am always looking for unique, fast ways to cook dinner, so thought I'd drop along this tip in case anyone else is as determined to perfect roast chicken :) Comments welcome.
I just made this recipe and it came out well. I have a couple of questions.
1. I measured the temperature of the thickest part of the thigh several times. When it measured 135 I cooked for about 10 more minutes. Then after 10 minutes the thigh was 170! Oops. The end result was that the bird was certainly done but the breast meat was a bit too dry, still quite good but not as moist as I know it could have been. Was there any carryover cooking to blame? And does the 165 reading take carryover cooking into account?
2. I stuffed the cavity with some lemon wedges, half a head of garlic cut in half lengthwise (cutting through each clove instead of through the root), and some rosemary and thyme. I've had good results with this in the past and it worked fine. But, it does seem to create a lot of extra moisture. I'm afraid that this extra moisture might negatively affect my potatoes and carrots roasting below (see #3) - what do you think? Any considerations for putting lemon wedges inside the cavity?
3. Can you recommend an ideal technique for roasting potatoes and carrots underneath the bird? I know you cover it, but I found that they got mushy. Flavorful, but mushy. I gave them 10 minutes in the oven at 475 after the bird was out and resting, which helped, but it also dried out the potatoes a bit. One time I made a roast chicken and I don't know how I did it, but the potatoes cooked underneath the chicken turned out crisp on the outside and full of molten potato and chicken juice in the middle. It was amazing, but I don't know how to replicate it :)
Finally, thank you, Rouxbe is amazing and I have really improved my cooking skills thanks to your wonderful videos and instruction.
Sounds like you did a good job. The first thing I would say is to keep practicing. The thing about cooking is. the more you do it, the more you learn.
To answer your questions:
1) Yes, carry-over cooking could have been to blame a bit for the breasts being a bit drier. But yes, the 165 does take into account the carry-over cooking. That doesn't mean it didn't go up higher though.
2) Stuffing the bird also changes how the bird roasts. It doesn't allow the heat to get right inside and as you mentioned it does add moisture. The added moisture will change how your vegetables roasted. See the lesson on Roasting Vegetables for more tips and information on how to successfully roast vegetables.
That doesn't mean you cannot stuff a bird with these types of ingredients, it's just important to know and understand what happens when you do.
3) The ideal technique for roasting potatoes and carrots is to roast them separately. If you want to do it under the bird then you might want to use a rack and perhaps not stuff the bird.
You may also want to check out the lesson on "How to Roast a Basic Chicken" and also the lesson called "Enhancing a Basic Roast Chicken" as these may answer a few questions for you as well.
But again, one of the best ways to learn is to practice. So watch the lessons and then go ahead and roast some chickens. The more of them you cook, the more comfortable and confident you will be with your results! Hope this helps. Cheers!
Some people prefer to rinse prior to cooking just to remove any bits or blood from packaging; some people don't. If you choose to rinse poultry, please refer to the lesson on How to Roast Chicken. Poultry, especially when cooked using a dry-heat cooking method, must be patted dry prior to cooking. Cheers!
I have a few questions..
1) is whether you recommend roasting chickens with convection on or off?
2) is there any average time per kg of meat at the given temperatures? like 30 minutes per kg or so? (if it is around I couldn't find it, sorry)
The above questions relate to a failed test today which really frustrated me & brought me back to basics. I've made roast chicken many times, I even bought a v-rack (which I'd never heard of) to keep the skin crispy and turn it as suggested in the enhanced/improved method...always with excellent results, though I often use a higher oven temperature (220ºC with convection).
But today, for a 1kg 600g fryer chicken, which I had brined, air dried in the fridge and left 30 min at room temp., I roasted it for about 50 minutes. 20 minutes on one side (with breast facing the door), then 15 on the other and finally 15 more facing up...and since it didn't get as much colour as I wanted I turned up the heat to 240ºC.
I tested the temperature in the thigh and it was well above 75ºC, but when I carved it..the breast were raw! Thus,
3) is this normal? That the thighs cook sooner than breasts? or is it just that since they were facing the door most of the cooking time, they did not have time to cook? If that is the case...I will be happy to know that I can roast it for much longer without overcooking the breast for better skin colour & crispness.
Sorry for the dissertation! Hope you have some advice to avoid making the same mistake again! Thanks