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