Roasting two chickens at the same time
Hi everyone, first post here.
I'm after a bit of advice. I have a method for roasting a chicken which works perfectly every time (30 mins at 400F followed by 20 mins per 500g at 350F and a 20 min rest). My question is, how should I change the cooking time if I'm cooking two birds at the same time?
I have a gas oven, and will be roasting the birds side by side, without stuffing. I read somewhere that I need to add another 50% onto each stage of the cooking (so, 45 mins at 400F and then 30 mins per 500g at 350F). Does that sound about right? That would mean that 2 2-kilo birds would cook for 2 hours 45 mins.
Any advice gratefully appreciated!
I've never noticed a significant increase in roasting time between one bird and two, as long as they are not too close to each other in the oven. You need to make sure there is space between them to let the hot air circulate. I use a large roasting pan and turn it halfway through the process to ensure even cooking. That said, placing 2 cold birds into a hot oven will lower the temperature more than just one, but a gas oven recovers quickly. I wouldn't add much more than 15 minutes to the whole time. Your birds are not so large to require much more.
I think that most people overcook chix in the oven. I normally buy 3-3.5Lb (1.4-1.6 Kg) birds. My preferred method is 425 degrees for 40 minutes, then maybe 5 more with the convection fan on. That's it. The birds are fully cooked, golden brown and juicy, juicy.
A 2Kg bird is a big guy (almost 4.5 pounds) and I would prabably cook at 425 for 60 minutes checking at 45 to see if the skin getting too crisp.
Cooking two in the same oven may add a little time but 50% sounds way too much. And cooking two birds in the same oven for 2 hrs and 45 sounds like the meat is ready for the chicken salad pile. That's how long it takes to roast an 11 pound turkey.
Our experience was different from the above posters'. We cooked two 4lb birds at once (with space between) and they took three hours. This was in a conventional, not convection oven.
I'd invest in a good remote meat thermometer now if you don't have one. If not, start checking your birds after a little over normal cooking time for one bird. It may take shorter, but I think you might find your time closer to your original thought.
Thanks everyone. QueenB - my over sounds a lot like yours. In convection ovens you're guaranteed a good, even, well-flowing heat. In an old gas oven you're just not. I'll just have to keep my eye on it, but it's frustrating when you want to aim to eat at a certain time, but you're not sure if you'll actually end up eating an hour earlier/later!
Please do not cook them for 2 1/2 hours. I make Martha Stewart's "double roasted chicken" often. Two 4 to 5 lb, (approx 2 kg) chickens cooked at 425 degrees for 1-1 1/2 hours. They always turn out with crisp skin and juicy moist meat. If you log on to Martha Stewart and search recipes for roast chicken you will see the recipe for double roast chicken.
For those interested, I ended up cooking the two birds for 2.5 hours, just under time and a half. They came out perfect - the meat was just done where the leg meats the main carcass and the breast was tender and juicy. I think the key was a lot of butter under the skin (100g for each bird) and plenty of wine poured into the roasting dish. It wasn't your crispy-skinned roast chicken, rather a moister version.
Thanks for all your input and advice.