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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.

            1. Most of the cheap birds have already been pumped up with "natural juices," so further wet brining is unnecessary IMHO. But your roasting seems normal, basting or brushing with a little butter or olive oil would hasten the crisping and browning, also you may need to rotate in a rack to brown each side optimally. I like the butterflying and grilling mentioned by others, should apply to roasting as well.

              1. I use a convection oven which really crisps the skin. Another tip, I have been koshering my birds rather than brining them. I like the texture better. Rub the bird with about 2 TBs of kosher salt and leave it in the refrigerator for a day. I put it in a plastic bag over night and let it sit uncovered until I put it in the oven. Try rubbing softened, unsalted butter on the skin befor eyou put it in. Keep at it, there is nothing better than a perfectly roasted chicken.

                1 Reply
                1. re: ebethsdad

                  I would have thought 45 mins was not enough. I cook mine for an hour and a half to 2 depending on size. Never been dry, I always squeeze an orange or lemon over it, and put the orange half and half an onion inside the chicken.

                2. Or, maybe you used too small a roasting pan, and had the chicken pieces too close together, thereby steaming them instead of roasting. They need some space between each other when you are roasting individual pieces or the juice which comes out of them will generate too much moisture in the pan, which does not allow the skin to get crisp.

                  1. - stuff any herbs under the skin if you're going to do so
                    - don't brine, just use kosher salt (about 2 1/2 tbs for a 4lb. chick)
                    - after salting, place in the fridge in a pan and cover with paper towels
                    - take chicken out to bring to room temperature prior to cooking
                    - with fresh paper towels to blot remainder of moisture if any and make sure the skin is very dry
                    - don't use oil, you'll set off every smoke alarm in the house
                    - roast as you did (i use cast iron and don't even need to turn the bird)

                    that should help you get the skin nice and crispy

                    1. jfood proven method

                      - preheat oven to 400-
                      - wipe off bird from package and cut away exposed ectra fat
                      - cut down the back bone. Spread bird on foild covered rimmed cookie sheet
                      - press down to break breast bone
                      - season and into the oven
                      - 35 minutes switch to convection roast for 5 minutes
                      - remove and rest.

                      Never fals for cripy picture perfect skin. no brining, whining, just fine dining.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: jfood

                        If no convection oven, roast another 15 mins? I'm definitely trying this asap!

                      2. 45 minutes at 400 is too long at that high a temperature. Try 20 minutes at 425 and 350 for the rest of the cooking time.

                        1. Wow, lots of different info here, but I'll add my $.02 anyhow, since my chickens always have crispy skin:

                          I cook them at 400F for the whole cooking time. Sometimes that's an hour and a half, and the chicken doesn't turn out dry. Maybe I just buy good chickens.

                          I don't dry the chicken, inside or out. I do grease it. Not heavily; just a thin layer of olive oil or butter, depending on what's closer to hand.

                          After greasing, I sprinkle the whole bird with salt, pepper, and sometimes paprika. I also usually stuff it with half a lemon, and maybe half an onion and some rosemary or thyme.

                          After seasoning, my chicken usually sits out for a while, maybe for only 15 minutes or so, while the oven heats, sometimes up to an hour, if I'm just not ready to put it in the oven yet.

                          The only thing that makes a really noticeable difference to me is the pan. A few times I tried using a non-stick pan. That was a mistake because I found that the vegetables that I put in with the chicken (I usually surround it with potatoes, onions, and a few variable ingredients like sweet potatoes, eggplant, tomatoes, mushrooms, carrots...) didn't brown properly. Now I use only a dark, enamel-coated metal pan, and have never had problems with the caramelization again.

                          I guess the upshot is that you should experiment and see what works for you.

                          1. Brine if you must, pat dry, air dry in the refrig for several hours or overnight if you have time, then butterfly it and roast on a rack or broiler pan at 500 for about 45 minutes, turning 1/2 way through. Let rest without tenting with foil.

                            You can also butterfly and dry and brown skin-side down on the stove and then finish cooking in the oven

                            10 Replies
                            1. re: gourmanda

                              If you use this high heat roasting method (which is terrific, by the way -- don't be put off by the 500 temp) line your roasting pan or sheet with thinly sliced potatoes. They'll absorb the fat and prevent your kitchen from filling with smoke.

                              1. re: C. Hamster

                                Do the potatoes end up edible, or are they burnt to a crisp? (I roast chickens at 450 for 45 minutes, which generates a considerable amount of smoke; luckily, my kitchen has an industrial-strength fan system. But if potatoes do the trick, AND are edible to boot -- a win-win!!)

                                1. re: ozhead

                                  jfood found that the difference between 425 and 450 on the smoke effect is substantial. Try reducingthe temperature to 425 and see if that helps.

                                  Wrt the potatoes. jfood sets the timer for 25 minutes and then flips the tatoes. And do not place foil on the bottom of the pan. If you have a NS roaster pan, that's the best. Then you use a plactic spatula to get any of the potatoes that might defy the NS feature. BTW, thos are the ones that are fought over in casa jfood. This is once a year event because of the fat content of the potatoes, but boy are they good.

                                  1. re: jfood

                                    I line my baking pan with the newish non-stick foil for this dish -- makes for very easy clean-up.

                                    1. re: pikawicca

                                      nice idea, does that stuff work?

                                    2. re: jfood

                                      jfood, ozhead isn't terribly concerned about the smoke because ozhead's kitchen ventilation system deals with it. But ozhead's question is: if ozhead reduces the temp to 425, how much more time does the 3-3/4 pound chicken take to cook? (At 450, the time is 45 minutes.)

                                    3. re: ozhead

                                      Depends on how greasy your chicken is and how much you like greasy potatoes. IMO not all of them are fit to eat but there always are a bunch that make a good nibble. If you're goning to eat them, I'd salt them first.

                                      1. re: C. Hamster

                                        And you can always turn them out onto paper towels to drain before serving. If the chicken is brined, do NOT salt the potatoes.

                                        1. re: pikawicca

                                          jfood to the contrarian on brining. He does NOT brine any chicken and they come out fantastically.

                                          1. re: jfood

                                            jfood - how would you roast your butterflied chicken in a non-convection oven, time/temp-wise?