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Jul 26, 2007 12:17 PM

Roasted chicken,what did I do wrong?

I brined the drumsticks, and breast with the brine recipe that is linked to I believe cooks illustrated, let it sit uncovered overnight in the fridge, then in the oven for 45 min @400 degrees, it was juicy and tasty, but the skin was not crisp, just kind of limp, what am i doing wrong?

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  1. Did you dry the chicken with paper towels before putting it in the oven? Soggy in, soggy out...

    1. Here is another trick you can do: after the chicken is done cooking, you can cut it into four pieces and put it skin side up under the broiler for a few minutes.

      1. You are almost there. Brine overnight, then thoroughly dry the pieces with paper towel and place on a rack in the fridge so the skin air dries as much as possible.
        The roast on a rack with plenty of room for heat to circulate between pieces at 500 degree s for about 25-30 minutes, then bring down to 350 for another 20 min.
        I make this about once a month and it is great. Also, remember that a whole butterflied chicken will roast more evently and crispy as the heat is more properly trapped when the chicken and skin is not separated into pieces.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Cornelius_Copia

          Yes, yes! I find the air drying an essential step in ensuring a crispy skin. I've even been known to take a hair dryer to it if I don't have enough time to air dry. One of the reasons (among many) that I prefer Judy Rodgers' method of dry brining is that you get to brine and dry at the same time.

          1. re: JoanN

            I don't brine my chickens before roasting but I do typically salt them fairly heavily and put them in the fridge overnight, uncovered This draws out the moisture, they end up dry and well-seasoned the next day and roast up nice & crispy.

            1. re: Pincho

              Same here. I have be doing this for chicken and beef and it works very well.

              1. re: scubadoo97

                Haven't tried this with beef but I imagine a bone-in rib roast would take well to it...

        2. hmmm... did you cook it covered or uncovered? this may seem obvious, but crispy skin requires as much exposure to the heat source as possible. Aside from this, I would recommend cooking it closer to the top of the oven next time (assuming you are not using a convection oven). Of course, you have to pay really close attention to keeping the breast from drying out.

          1 Reply
          1. re: vvvindaloo

            ... and on a similar note, what did you roast your chicken in? I usually roast in a shallow copper gratin dish kind of thing, and get lots of lovely browning. The one time I used a roasting pan with higher sides -- pallid. Blah. Practically nordic. That may be a small part of your browning issue.

          2. I've been using the following method since I discovered it a couple of years ago, and will never roast a chicken again by a different method:

            Turn the oven on to 450, and put a flat roasting pan in to heat while the oven heats.

            Wash a 3-1/2 to 4-pound chicken -- not bigger. DRY THE OUTSIDE THOROUGHLY WITH PAPER TOWELS, and put a couple of wadded-up paper towels in the cavity to dry it as much as possible. (As others have pointed out, the key to crispy skin is having the chicken as dry on the outside as possible before it goes in the oven.) Take the towels out of the cavity and salt/pepper the cavity. Generously season all parts of the skin with salt, pepper, and dried thyme. Turn the wingtips under, so the wings are "akimbo."

            Take the pan out of the oven and add a teaspoon or so of oil. Flop the chicken into the pan -- no rack needed. Roast at 450 for 45 minutes. Let it sit for 15 minutes after removing it from the oven -- use the time to separate the fat off the drippings, and use both (with the addition of chicken stock to the drippings) to make gravy, if you like.

            That's it. Completely easy, completely terrific. The only downside is that it generates a LOT of smoke while it cooks -- and when I say a lot, I am not kidding. I am lucky in that my kitchen has an industrial-strength fan/vent (three settings: low, medium, and typhoon), but if your kitchen does not you will probably have to keep windows or a door open while it's roasting.