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Sep 8, 2008 11:50 AM

Zuni chicken

I have a 4 1/2 lb chicken that I'd like to "Zuni". How many days should I salt it?

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  1. I'm interested to see responses to this, since the Zuni recipe specifically recommends using a smaller than average chicken (IIRC, about 2 to 2.5 pounds?). I think it's to do with the hotter but quicker cooking times - if you roast a chicken at higher temperatures for longer than it takes to roast a small chicken, you might dry out the white meat before the inner dark meat is properly cooked. That said, I think it's definitely worth experimenting. I think some people on this board have even Zuni'd a turkey!

    In terms of salting it, I would give it longer than the one day minimum. For smaller chickens, I often leave them for three days, and they don't seem to get too salty. Not sure how much longer than that you'd like to leave a raw chicken in your fridge! Interestingly, haven't noticed much difference in a chicken salted for 24 hours versus three days, although perhaps this calls for a side by side taste testing - both seem pretty well seasoned. So I'd salt it and leave it for 2-3 days if I were you, just to be sure.

    Please report back and let us know how it goes.

    1. I've made it with larger chickens and it has turned out fine. I try to brine for at least 24 hours, usually two days. I posted on my first time with a 5 lb chicken in this older Zuni thread:

      1 Reply
      1. re: Rubee

        The first time I did the recipe, I think my chicken was a little below 4 pounds and I only salted it for 24 hours as well. It turned out fantastic!

      2. I've roasted larger birds using the Zuni method. I've had the dish at the restaurant and used a 2.5 lb bird the first time I cooked a Zuni chicken, in order to establish a base line. It definitely tastes better with a smaller bird, but birds under 3 lbs are really hard to fine, which is why I end up using larger birds.

        When cooking a larger bird, definitely go the full 3 days. I've gone as far as 4 days. Even for the 2.5 lb bird, I brined it for 3 days, per the Zuni recipe.

        2 Replies
        1. re: cvhound

          cvhound, sounds like I used a similiar experimenting approach...the bigger the bird the longer to the time for the herb seasoning phase. smaller is better but they are hard to find.

          1. re: ciaogina

            Thank you all very much! I typically brine my smaller birds for a day or two but didn't know how much longer to brine it for with this 4.5pounder.