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Season Chicken Cavity - Why?

Almost every recipe jfood sees on whole roasted chicken suggests seasoning the insode of the bird. If you are notplanning on picking up the pieces while eating why do the recipes tell you to do this?


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  1. This is just my impression, not anything I purport as fact, but I think the aromatics/seasonings steam in the cavity and perfume the meat. I have done it both ways and I feel that a chicken seasoned without and within is a tastier product.

    2 Replies
    1. re: torty

      Yes, jfood.... torty is correct. Try a quartered lemon, S & P, smushed garlic cloves, anything else your heart desires... then roast as per your usual method.
      Those aromatics do indeed infuse the meat.

      1. re: Gio

        jfood understands the aromaics of garlic and lemons, etc. he had a brain cramp with s&p

    2. C'mon jfood. Nosh thinks you are pulling the proverbial drumstick with this query.

      Anyway, one seasons both the outside and the inside of the whole chicken for much the same reasons as one seasons both top and bottom of a steak, for as much and as even an exposure as possible. Second, there is actually more contact with the meat on the thigh and the breast, the thickest parts of the bird, from the inside. The outside is protected by the skin and fat. Finally, and most crucially, recipes tell cooks to season the inside of the chicken to make sure that cooks remember to remove the paper or plastic bag of innard parts and to wash the cavity before roasting -- this forces a cook to actually look and feel inside.

      1 Reply
      1. re: nosh

        I too have always washed and scrubbed the inside, mostly heavy salted and rubbed that into the cavity, because I thought it helped protect against bacteria. Which I believe it was about a year ago now, I was told I was wrong. Oh well, I still do salt and throw pepper around in there from habit, and always always use aromatics generously which by doing that imho makes an amazing difference to the flavor of the bird.

      2. Seasoning the cavity, especially with salt and pepper, helps give a roundness of flavor to the roasted fowl. However, when I want the flesh well seasoned, I get much better results by putting the seasonings under the skin and against the meat, then also packing in some butter. Makes for flavorful, juicy, well flavored meat.

        If you're asking as a result of your Provencal reipe in the other thread, I would make my own "herbs de Provence" with thyme, rosemary, savory and lavendar (heavy on the thyme, light on the lavendar) and bash them around with a mortar and pestle, add a bit of kosher (or sea) salt and put that under the skin of the chicken. I don't particularly care for the ready-mixed herbs de Provence.

        1. I've never been able to figure it out myself. I used to do it because of the recipe suggestions you mention, but I stopped a couple of years ago (pure laziness) and I honestly can't tell the difference. Of course, I do use a lemon, and other aromatics and herbs stuffed inside the chicken. But salt and pepper? No.

          1. JFood, had to smile when I saw your post. Have read your recipes for roasted chicken and never wanted to confront why you don't season chicken cavity. Why do I do it? #1, truly do believe chicken tastes better with lemon, herbs, s&p, piece of onion & rib of celery. I like outside chicken skin crisp, but stuff inside chicken cavity seems to help keep flesh moist. Reason #2 (and most important) THIS IS THEY WAY BUBBE MADE IT FOR SHABBOS! Trust me, you don't want to tinker with that kind of voodoo!

            1. I use half an orange which I have squeezed on top of the bird, then stuff that and some onion inside. I use ginger and a little curry powder on the skin.

              1 Reply
              1. re: smartie

                Isn't orange peel the most lovely thing? When I use orange juice in a marinade I also always toss the leftover peel part into the bag and even into the roasting or braising pan.

              2. A chicken puts out juices that gather in the bottom of the cavity. I roast chicken breast-up at 425 in a 12" heavy WearEver aluminum frying pan, which radiates heat into the sides and back so it cooks evenly. When I put a couple of lightly crushed cloves of garlic, a well bruised branch of rosemary, or a squeezed half lemon in the cavity, it gives a great flavor to the juices without scorching.

                1. A friend said she puts a apple and onion inside the cavity and it gives the chicken a sweet taste.

                  I've stated putting a lemon, onion, fresh rosemary and salt and pepper in mine.

                  1. My favorite chicken is the Zuni roast chicken and I do believe salt on the inside also helps to draw out moisture.