Roast Chicken - A method against the trend
Staying with old friends over the weekend, and on Sunday, my hostess - who is a great cook - asked would I mind if she did something simple for dinner, a roast chicken.
Since it's possibly my fav dish, I agreed heartily, and she immediately got to work and switched on the oven. It was only mid-afternoon, and I asked what time she planned to have dinner at.
'Oh the chicken will be done about 7.00, so we'll eat shortly after that'. That meant a three-hour cooking time!
I asked her what temperature she was cooking the chicken at and she told me 300F, which I scarcely believed. 'Well, I don't like it all dried out, and I like it really falling off the bone, so I like to cook it slowly'.
Of course we debated the pros and cons of high versus low temperature. I was intrigued by the idea of a slow roasted chicken, how it would taste, and whether it really wouldn't be dried out.
Here's what she did:
sprinkled liberally with sea salt, and herbes de provence
No trussing, and nothing in the cavity
Covered generously with thick-cut canadian bacon on the breast
Before putting it in the oven, she put a foil tent over the breast, which she removed about half an hour before taking the chicken out.
The result was one of the most delicious, moist, and tender roast chickens I have ever eaten. It made me think a lot about the 450F oven I use for mine (which is really closer to a true 430F).
Wonder if any other Hounds use a slow roasting method?
Fascinating...so did it really take 3 hours? And very important--how crispy was the skin? Thanks for bringing this up.
I've only done it the last couple of times so I don't have it down to an exact science yet but I'm pretty sure I used 20 min. per pound at 300F as a guideline- but really let the thermometer be the determining factor. I take it out at 170F in the thigh, but you could probably go to 175F with good results if that seems too low to you. I have a spare fridge so I can let the bird sit uncovered for a day to dry out, and coat it with canola oil (as well as some s&p) before roasting. So far I haven't seen the need to either tent or raise the temp at the end to crisp it up (a big bird will be in the oven for a long enough time, I guess.)
Yes, I have - for even longer (5 hours) at a lower temp (250°). It's called "Roast Sticky Chicken" - very much like a rotisserie chicken from the supermarket - and has been bandied about on AOL cooking message boards for a long time. Here's a sample recipe:
The only thing I would HIGHLY recommend is cutting WAY back on the salt amount - 4 tsp. makes the chicken completely inedible. 1 tsp. or less would work in the rub mixture. I also cook it to an internal temp slightly lower.
A friend swears by this recipe which calls for 3 tbs of salt....
Salt-Rubbed Roast Chicken with Lemon & Thyme Recipe #51888
From Tom Douglas of the Dahlia Lounge in Seattle. I admit it - when I first saw the amount of salt in this recipes I thought, "WHAT?" but Chef Douglas is incredible so I decided to trust him and try this recipe just like he said to. What can I say - it's just delicious. My favorite way to roast a chicken now. You will be converted, too, once you try it. Great with mashed potatoes.
1⁄2 day 8 hours prep
3 tablespoons kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped freesh thyme, stems reserved to stuff into the cavity
3 1/2 lbs chickens, excess fat trimmed,rinsed inside and out and patted dry with paper towels
1 lemon, quartered
4 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Mix the salt, pepper and thyme.
Lay the chicken on a rack in a roasting pan and rub the mixture all over the skin on both sides.
Refrigerate uncovered overnight or for at least 8 hours.
Oven to 400 degrees F.
Put the lemon quarters, garlic and thyme stems inside the cavity of the chicken.
Brush the chicken with some of the melted butter.
Roast, basting every 20 minutes or so (first with melted butter, then with any fat and juices accumulating in the pan).
The chicken should be done in about an hour, but make sure by testing the thigh for a temperature of 170 degrees F.
Let the chicken rest for at least 10 minutes before carving.
I've been making the Sticky Chicken recipe (with variations but always with the time/temp method) for years and it is off the hook. The only roast chicken that i've had that's better is the one that comes from our smoker. Similar method yielding the similar results- crispy skin and juicy, fall-off-the-bone chicken.
I also want to mention that the gravy from the sticky chicken is absolutely fabulous.
Going back to this thread with a couple of questions. I've made the Roast Sticky Chicken recipe many times now (we love it!) and it never takes more than 3 hours for my chicken to get to 180 degrees. And I take it out when it reaches 180 deg. (Should I be leaving it in longer? I'm afraid it would overcook.)
I've only cooked 1 chicken at a time. Would it really take a lot longer (closer to the specified 5 hours) if I were to do 2 chickens at the same time?
I also skip the overnight-in-the-frig part and I don't bother with the onion inside anymore.
180F is a very high finished temp.
200F oven until the deep internal temp is about 150F remove bird. Crank up oven to screaming hot and put bird back in. Watch as the skin turns golden brown........like a couple of minutes. Remove lightly tent for at least an hour>carve serve. No effing bacon. No butter rubbed under the skin. Just rub in some Kosher salt. Stuff in a lemon for the pan juices you will hopefully make use of.
All very interesting. And in answer to Carb Lover's question earlier, no, the skin wasn't crisp, because it had been covered with Bacon which was, however, deliciously crisp, the fat having been rendered completely by the long, slow cooking time.
I've done smoked chicken and turkey this way, at temperatures of around 200 F. The problem with the long, slow cooking is the skin which goes from being soft to kinda rubbery to tough as leather. Now I smoke at 200 F for about 20 minutes for chicken, an hour or two for largish turkeys, and finish in the oven at about 350 - 400 F which crisps the skin and doesn't make it tough. I always brine beforehand.
For a whole chicken I'd brine for perhaps 4 hours or so. Cooks Illustrated usually recommends a couple of hours. I think you can take this up to overnight but I usually start in the morning so I can airdry the chicken overnight in the fridge. I use the Lone Star rub from Raichlen's book on Sauces, Marinades and rubs before smoking. First paint the chicken lightly with olive oil OR warmed molasses, pour the rub over. I posted the rub recipe on CH earlier, you can probably find it using the Search feature.
I use a saturated brine solution of 1 cup kosher salt to 1 gallon water. Test by floating an egg. If it floats, you have enough salt. I also add half as much brown sugar (or regular sugar plus molasses) as salt, and some spices and herbs for flavoring - peppercorns, bay, juniper, some Italian herbs.
Because I don't like to waste either the brine or my time, I do several chickens at a time. Three fit into the smoker without crowding. It's nice to have a fully smoked chicken in the freezer when you need BBQ in a hurry.
Cheryl Thanks again. I have given the smoker a week or so off. I'll follow the directions you've given. The last time you warned of the skin being rubbery, I was using the homemade smoker and man you were right!!! I could have made shoes with the skin. I could hardly even cut it with a sharp knife! But the meat was itself very moist and tasty. Finishing in the oven will be what I do. Thanks for the brine ingredients as well.