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Aug 5, 2008 08:57 PM

Chicken Roasting ?'s

So I have two questions involving roasting chicken.

#1 - I'm cooking a chicken using this recipe

I've read a number of places that for a nice crisp skin, i should use a v-rack. I don't currently own one, so if I make a couple of snakes of foil to set the chicken up on, will that work as well?

#2 - I have recently acquired a Rival 20qt. "roaster". I'm guessing not, but will achieve the same results in this as I would in an oven?


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  1. Yes, you can get a pretty good "crisp" by using a technique similar to the one you described, without having to procure a v-rack. Just make sure the chicken has as much clearance as possible from the bottom of the pan. I'd create several very tight rolls if I were using the method you describe. You'll probably use enough foil using this method to pay for the v-rack though. They aren't that expensive. I've seen 'em for about ten bucks. The V-Rack doesn't have to be fancy. All it does is hold the food item up from the bottom and away from the sides of the pan.
    You will probably find that your roaster cooks faster than your oven. That's because the roaster is a smaller space and will concentrate heat better than an oven. I'm not sure how you'll have to adjust the time; your roaster should include some hints in the brochure that came with it.
    I disagree with the temperature recommendations for the recipe you linked to. The 450 degrees works for me, but not for the entire cooking time. I like to roast my chicken (or other birds) at the recommended heat for an initial length of time then, about fifteen minutes before calling it "done" - or about 150 degrees - I run the temperature up another fifty degrees to finish the cooking and leave the bird in the oven until it reaches about 170 degrees. I don't consider that done, of course, but the temperature should come up to 180 degrees (which I accept as done - you may prefer some other temp.) by the time the bird rests for ten or fifteen minutes after leaving the oven.

    1 Reply
    1. re: todao

      Well, I don't necessarily need to use that recipe, it just sounded good. I don't know if you've been to any of the BJ's Restaurant/Brewhouse's, but they have a roasted chicken that uses no butter or oil, and has a wonderful crispy skin on it, and that's what I'm looking for, but I've had terrible luck roasting chickens in the past.

      The roaster probably won't make much of a crispy skin will it?

      And what about salting it overnight, I've heard this helps to crisp the skin.

      I just hate chicken with rubbery nasty skin, and that's how mine always ends up.

    2. I once faked a rack by putting a stainless steel cooling rack across the top of the roasting pan. Might be risky with a 10+ pound bird but for a 4 pound chicken it worked just fine.

      1. Someplace else on epicurious site is a great roast chicken, now the only one I make: preheat oven to 450. Wash and thoroughly dry a 3 1/2 lb chicken and place in shallow pan. Sprinkle liberally with kosher/sea salt and put in the oven and forget it for one hour. It's crispy/perfect every time. Salt just b4 your put it in the oven. Let it rest for 15 minutes.

        2 Replies
        1. re: serious

          YES! I was going to suggest this same recipe/method. Here is a link:

          This is Thomas Keller's recipe and it the standard by which I compare all roasted chix recipes. It's so simple and pure brilliance. It's basicly high heat for the entire cook time (approx. 1 hr) and the chicken needs to be dry to begin with. This produces a beautiful chicken w/ a juicy interior and crispy exterior.

          He tells an endearing story about growing up eating roasted chixs and fighting over the "chicken butt" w/ his brother. This is the little triangle of skin located just beneath the main cavity. Now my daughter and I fight over this fatty piece of crispy goodness.

          Best part of this recipe, besides his method, is how he serves it up w/ pats of butter, a sprinkling of fresh thyme and dijon mustard on the side for dipping!

          A roaster produces a foul looking and tasting bird. Don't do it. My in-laws used one, against my recommendations, last year for thanksgiving and they were left with a dried out, grey-colored turkey carcass. Not enough room for the heat to move around the bird. Worry less about the rack (hell, I put it down on the bottom of the roasting pan, don't worry about it. If TK does it then you can too). But, please, avoid the roaster.

          1. re: lynnlato

            In agreement. I have a v-rack but mostly only use it for roasting turkey. For the humble and yummy every day chicken I just let it sit on the bottom of the roaster. I think it also helps the drippings to carmelize, be more flavorful and not burn. To increase the juicyness of the meat I load up the cavity with sliced lemon, mashed garlic and a couple of sprigs of thyme. I think the steam from the lemons moisturizes the meat and carries the flavors of the thyme and garlic well.

        2. I usu. stuff the cavity with carrots, celery, maybe garlic and onion (for flavor and moisture only, not for direct consumption), sometimes I rub the outside with thyme or salt. one thing I think is critical is to keep the skin as intact as possible (no pricking as some might recommend) and as J. Child recommended, truss the bird or otherwise it will look "wanton"

          but what works for me is as others have posted, keeping the bird off the pan bottom as much as possible.

          I generally start the oven at about 450 and when it's blazing hot pop in the bird. let sit about 15 or 20 minutes then turn down to about 350 or 400, this I feel 'sears' the outside and holds in moisture while the skin gets nice and crispy. after the juices start flowing I baste every 15 or 20 minutes for the remainder of the time which I also think helps cook the skin to a level of crunch.

          I refer to temps and times in general as they vary from oven to oven and bird to bird.

          1. That is my favorite roast chicken recipe. I make it often. But I do it on my grill to keep from heating up the house in the summer. The heat gets even higher than what he recommends, but I think because the grill heats only from below (no upper heating element like in the oven) it does just fine. The skin is always perfectly golden and crispy, and the "butt" really is the best part. :D My v-rack came with my $20 roasting pan that I got at Target. Well worth the small investment.