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Simple roasted chicken?

I've roasted chickens before to mixed results. So, since Fresh & Easy had whole chickens for 67 cents a pound, I got one thinking to roast it tonight and make stock from the carcass on Friday.

I'm not doing anything fancy. Don't want to add lemon since I'm going to make stock, not roasting any vegetables with it either. I did scan the web to get ideas of seasoning and technique.

What I'm really surprised to find is the wide range of temperatures that are recommended by recipes! Anywhere from 325 to 475!!

What do you think is the best temperature. I do want a crisy skin because I will stand by the stove and pick it off and eat it before I cut into the chicken :-)

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  1. Cut the back out and flatten it, so you're roasting it butterflied; cut a slit to the joint where each thigh and wing connect to the body, which will speed cooking. You can do it quickly at 475 - check temp at 30 minutes.

    1 Reply
    1. re: greygarious

      I know how to spatchcock a chicken. Not going there tonight, but thanks

    2. I roast chickens at 425 and get crisp skin every time. Even in a perfectly clean oven I tend to set off the smoke alarms when I roast birds at 450 or more.

      Ensure the skin is perfectly dry before roasting and once you put it in the oven leave it alone until it is done. Also, putting the chicken in the oven with the drumsticks facing the back wall gets more reflected heat heading into the dark meat.

      1. If they are whole, simple to me. I rub with olive oil inside and out, salt and pepper inside and out too. No lemon no worries, just add some herbs fresh on the inside and the outside. I cook not covered on a bed of a couple of cut carrots and onions. Makes a great bed. Roast at 400 for 45, reduce to 350 and un cover and cook till golden brown. You can add some simple stock, broth or water to the bottom of my pan. Made it for 30 years. Perfect and simple every time Tender falls apart, moist. One NOTE ... I do like to put 2 teaspoons of butter in the cavity and 1/2 whole onion cut in half. It makes a good flavor. Not lemon like you mentioned and still gives moisture and flavor to me..

        4 Replies
        1. re: kchurchill5

          I really like marjoram on a roast chicken, along with garlic, salt and pepper, and a lemon or not.

          1. re: rememberme

            I like marjoram too. I grow almost all that I use on a regular basis, I usually use what I have fresh. It changes quite a bit. I do like lemon in mine too. I also use cut oranges and onion in the cavity. I usually have them on hand.

            1. re: kchurchill5

              I've never grown it, but I think I'll try this summer.

              1. re: rememberme

                Try it is really good, I use it primarily with chicken but I really enjoy it.
                I grow, thyme, basil, parsley, cilantro, dill oregano, reg and tropical, 3 basils, lemon italian and red, 2 parsleys too. Love my herbs, just in a couple of large containers outside. Nothing better.

        2. It's tough to beat this recipe from Thomas Keller for tasty and simple: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

          I also find that 450F to be the perfect temperature. A 3lb. bird will come out juicy with crisp skin when roasted for about 50 minutes at this temperature.


          12 Replies
          1. re: Eddie H.

            I've tried 450 and never again, too hot. Sorry, turned out dry. Someone else gave me this recipe. Didn't like it at all.

            1. re: kchurchill5

              a 3# bird at 450 should only take about 35 minutes. then it should not be dry.

              1. re: jfood

                I've tried many times and many top recipes and still, I just don't like it for some reason. Tastes dry to me. I guess we all have out favorite ways.

                1. re: kchurchill5

                  KC, you might find it's time to recilabrate your oven's thermostat. Domestic ovens tend to run hot after a while.

                  Roasting broiler chix at 450F for 45 minutes has been chefs' standard for decades.

                  1. re: iamafoodie

                    I can't not my oven, apartment, had them look at it and it is fine. Also with my good oven at my house I never used 450 either. I just don't like it. Sorry. I understand though. Mom and grandma always did lower too and 3 chefs I work with locally also do the same. Maybe just a coincidence. I understand the idea though. I just have never had success or liked the results.

                  2. re: kchurchill5

                    KChurch: Try buying kosher chickens or brine them 4-6 hours before roasting. Also, try the Zuni method and pre-salt them 2-3 days in advance.

                    1. re: hankstramm

                      Nice thought honestly, I work 12 hrs plus per day, I sometimes don't get home to midnight and then sometimes don't get home for 2 days. I can't do anything like that. I would love to buy my life isn't that way. I expected to be home today by 8, it will be 1 am if lucky (on laptop) tomorrow out all day from 5-8, no chicken tomorrow. I can't do this kind of thing. And a kosher chicken is out of my budget down here as well. but I appreciate the suggestion

                        1. re: rememberme

                          That is daily!!
                          Maybe that is why I started my I use shortcuts Blog . Kosher chicken are at Whole food which is not far, just downtown, but takes around 35 minutes during the week to get there, but then the problem is I work south so it is not 1 hr away and then I wouldn't get home till 9 or 10 and leave at 5 and home again late. I wish I didn't, I just started working this extra job and love it. So I'm doing 3, and hours are always changing. I won't be home till 12 tonight..

                          I need a clone just to brine my chicken for me :)

                    2. re: kchurchill5

                      well as long as you tried, c'est la vie.

                      1. re: kchurchill5

                        Tous les goƻts sont dans la nature . . .

                  3. re: Eddie H.

                    I make this exact recipe at least once a week, and it comes out spectacularly every time. Extremely moist, and with excellently crispy skin. Doesn't get much better.

                  4. I've tried several different methods but tend to come back to starting them at 500 and then dropping the temp to 325.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: ziggylu

                      I usually start at 500 too because once I open the oven and slide the bird in, it drops to like 425-450. Anyway, 20-30 mins at 450-500 and 20 mins or so at 350 will work.

                    2. I start it out hot (like 500) for 15-20 minutes, then drop down to 375 till the probe hits 165. Rest for at least 10 minutes.

                      I do the same on the gas grill, though there you have to tuck the ends of the legs into the skin or cover them with foil, or they'll become briquettes.

                      Though I have to say, I'm having a very hard time avoiding Tom Colicchio's pan-roasted breasts and thighs these days. Season, then sear top-down in vegetable oil (he says extra-virgin olive; I say safflower or peanut) for five minutes on medium-high, then turn over, add butter, turn heat down to medium and roast for 20-25 minutes till done. It's possibly the best non-breaded chicken I've ever eaten. I had a thigh for dinner tonight, and I think I might be able to die happy after that. :)

                      1. The recipe we always end up going back to is: 375 oven, put it on its side (drum up) for 15 minutes, flip to the other side for 15 minutes, and then flip to breast up and turn the heat to 425 for 20 minutes or until breast is 160 and thigh is 165. If we're planning it for dinner, we rub the skin with butter, salt, and pepper, but if we're in a hurry or cooking to slice for sandwiches, we even skip that step.

                        1. The easiest is to put the chicken on a v-shaped rack, rub a bit of oil or butter over the skin, season generously with salt and pepper and roast in a preheated 375 degree oven for about an hour for a 3.5-pound bird.

                          If you want more even browning and crisping of the skin, start the chicken on one side on the rack, turn it to the other side after 20 minutes, then turn it breast side up at the 40-minute mark, and cook for the final 20 minutes.

                          Check the temperature at one hour in the thickest part of the thigh, it's done with the temp reaches 165 to 170 on an instant-read thermometer.

                          And if you don't have a rack, no worries, just put the chicken in a shallow-sided roasting pan. And don't get all fussy about the temperature either - anywhere from 350 to 375 will give you good results with little effort, though I'd be wary of cooking a simple roast chicken at higher temperatures. 400 is the max temp I'll use.

                          1. jfood uses 425 for 35-40 minutes for a 3.5-4 lb bird.

                            he has one of those verticle roasters. he seasons with S&P, garlic powder and one of the Pennzy mixes.

                            Perfect every time.

                            1. another 425 person here!

                              1. Pay attention to the size of the chicken - all chickens are not equal when it comes to oven temperatures. Smaller birds are more versatile than large roasters - large birds do not fare as well with high heat methods in the way that small birds do.

                                1. I use the 2 temperature method with a vertical chicken roaster

                                  I season the chicken with my favorite pre-made spice mix - Crazy Jane's

                                  Roast at 450 for 20-30 minutes (depending on size of the bird) then drop temperature back to 325 to finish cooking - usually another 20-45 minutes depending on the size of the bird.

                                  This may sound elementary but make sure you dry the chicken off very well before rubbing your spices on.

                                  The skin comes out crisp and the meat is always moist and tender.

                                  12 Replies
                                  1. re: chicaraleigh

                                    I don't have a vertical roaster, but there were a lot of suggestions and recipes that recommended the 2 temperatures. It was a four pound chicken and I roasted at 400. The breast and thighs were nice and juicy, but the drumsticks were a bit dry.

                                      1. re: janetms383

                                        If i recall - I learned the 2 temperature method in a cookbook years ago that called for just a plain old roaster - so you may give the method a try. The goal of course, is to crisp up the skin at a high temperature then drop it back down to finish cooking the meat.

                                        As to the vertical roaster - I've had mine 15+ years now and have searched high and low for a replica. The ones I see these days are ceramic or all one piece (too hard to store). Mine is a metal (it was non-stick at one time) ashtray looking thing that has 4 holes on it. The vertical supports slide into the holes to create the part you put the chicken on. The top of the vertical supports have corresponding notches on the top of one and the underneath of the other so they sort of lock together at the apex.

                                        I literally have searched the world over for replicas because my friends & family all love my roasted chicken. I tell them it's the roaster but never mention the 2 temperature trick - how else would I keep them coming back?

                                        I'm short on storage space so the fact that it comes apart into 3 small pieces makes this a terrific little gadget. I'm not a "gadget girl" but this is one I'd recommend keeping an eye out for.

                                        Let us know if you attempt the 2 temp method and how that works for you!

                                        1. re: chicaraleigh

                                          I'm surprised no one has mentioned this yet...but beer can chicken is always liked very much when I make it......on the grill or in the oven. When I use barbecue spices, I have also tried it with Dr. Pepper with positive results and compliments from the Guinea Pigs.

                                          (chicaraleigh), if you ever lose your vertical roaster, and space is a concern for storage....rather than buy another one, consider instead saving a beer or soda can for when you make roast chicken.....you can simply fill the can with (water, juice, wine or beer with aromatics) for stabilization and place inside a pan......or just use a new can of product of course.

                                          1. re: fourunder

                                            When I BBQ mine I always use the beer can. I love it. on the grill. I'm not as fond of it in the oven. But I grill a lot on my small grill and I love making beer can chicken.

                                          2. re: chicaraleigh

                                            Do you have an angel food or Bundt pan? Either makes an excellent vertical roaster (cover the tube opening with tin foil). Results are even better if you jam the bird on NECK side down, because the leg juices run down to baste the breast and keep it from overcooking. Beer cans are too wide for this method.

                                            1. re: greygarious

                                              oh - good tips fourunder & greygarious....perish the thought that my vertical roaster would ever go missing but I realize that sometimes, sh...stuff happens.

                                              I'm actually roasting this weekend and will try the bundt pan idea...and to prepare for the worst (ie, my vertical roaster disappearing!)

                                              I've done the beer can thing on the grill - and that is very yummy. Never thought to do it in the oven.

                                              Fourunder - when you do the beer/soda can thing to you add any herbs and/or garlic,shallots or other spices?

                                              1. re: chicaraleigh


                                                Fourunder - when you do the beer/soda can thing to you add any herbs and/or garlic,shallots or other spices?
                                                The short answer is yes. How ever I am preparing the chicken, be it with aromatics or spices, I start by marinating the poultry overnight. With aromatics, I also always use Olive Oil and garlic... just before roasting, I season the bird with Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper. The aromatics are usually any fresh herbs that have been sitting in the fridge and need to be used up before they go bad.....herbs like chives, chervil, rosemary, sage, thyme and marjoram are the usual suspects......If I am doing the barbeque/dry rub with sugar, I use the soda beverages. When using a beverage can, I open the can and drink about four ounces(spilling out seems like a waste to me) then I open the top completely with a puncturing can opener, and fill the can with any residual marinade mixture of oil and herbs....or spices from the dry rubs. At the end of roasting, I carefully remove the bird and spill out the liquid from the can and make a pan sauce/gravy for anyone who dares.

                                                The dry rub spices usually include any, all or a combination of the following: Chili Powder, Cayenne Pepper, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Cumin, Salt, Black Pepper, Paprika, Brown Sugar and mustard powder.

                                              2. re: greygarious


                                                I'm not trying to be a pain here, rather just genuinely inquisitive.... I'm not a baker so I don't have a Bundt pan readily available, but isn't the mold just as wide as a beverage can? Also, do the high sides of the Bundt pan restrict the even cooking of meat or browning of the skin with the high sides?


                                                1. re: fourunder

                                                  i just happened to be looking for my bundt pan when i read this so while I can't answer the browning question - i can safely say that the inner mold is smaller than a beverage can

                                                  1. re: fourunder

                                                    I've actually always used the angel food pan, chicken neck-side down, not the bundt but no, the high sides aren't a problem. It MAY even be that they shield the breast from becoming overdone. My angel food pan is one solid piece and I generally put aromatic vegetables in the bottom so I have the basis for a good gravy when the bird is finished. If you have the 2-part one you can just use the inner part, set into a baking pan or casserole dish.

                                            2. I know this is after-the-fact, but the best roast chicken I've made has come out of my Showtime Rotisserie. You know, Ron Popeil's "set it and forget it" deal from the infomercials. You simply cannot make a mistake with this thing! And tossing some par-cooked small potatoes down in the bottom of the roaster would not be a mistake, either. They're bathed in dripping chicken fat while the bird turns. Oh, yummmmmm.
                                              Anyway, if you can find room in your kitchen for one of these babies, you will definitely find room in your heart.

                                              5 Replies
                                              1. re: Deenso

                                                I have to comment, my friend who stayed with me for a few months had it. At the time I was in my house so I had room. It makes awesome chicken and even a small turkey. I know crazy cooking, but wow. I also did a pork roast and leg of lamb, just like the crazy commercials if I remember. They were amazing. No room at all now, however it really does work.

                                                I second that, thx for the reminder. I hate gadgets like that but it is wonderful.

                                                1. re: kchurchill5

                                                  kchurchill5, I've got the recipe for perfect roast chicken from my classes at the French Culinary Institute, but it's at home. Will send myself a reminder to look for it when I get home this evening and, when I find it, will post it here. If I remember correctly, it's a little involved but, boy!, the result is fantastic.

                                                  1. re: Deenso

                                                    I can try again, I don't mind. I just normally have no time, so involved is complicated, but when I do I love to try. I have tried many top chefs and never been pleased with high cooking. I love my lower recipe every time. Juicy to the bone and golden brown.

                                                    But please would appreciate.

                                                    1. re: kchurchill5

                                                      Okay. I've lost the file, if not my mind. Cannot find it in my textbook, nor on my computer. I could SWEAR I remember doing a roast chicken in class - it involved browning in a pan on the stove top, then in the oven, on a rack - first with the back up at one temp, then lowering the temp and placing the bird on its side for a little while, on the other side for a while and, finally, on its back, breast side up. I know we basted the bird with butter and pan drippings. Can't remember any specific details, other than it was the best chicken I ever made in my life! It was 10 years ago and I've obviously become completely dependent on my electric rotisserie. I guess I have some brain-wracking to do. I must have it written down somewhere, 'cause my husband says he remembers me doing it at home after learning it at school. Oy.

                                                2. re: Deenso

                                                  I agree! I'm on my second Showtime Rotisserie and it makes the best chicken I've ever had. I just use some type of a dry rub and let it go. The thing also makes tremendous prime rib. I have my butcher cut the bones off and then tie them back on to the roast for flavor. Who would think that stupid thing would work so well??!!??

                                                3. My favorite roast chicken always start with brining to retain moisture, air drying for a day or overnight for a crisp skin, and then putting herbed butter under the breast skin to keep it moist. Then cooked one of two ways:

                                                  - butterflied and broiled at 500 - sliced yukon golds on foil underneath the rake to adsorb the fat and prevent smoking (and the favorite part of the meal for many)
                                                  - in a v-rack at 450 turned once

                                                  1. 425-450F seems a bit hot to me.
                                                    I do start the bird at 500F for about 10 minutes, then take the heat down to 350F. It may take a little longer, but just as with a turkey, better flavors develop with a slower roasting. If I have plenty of time, I even take the heat down to 300F. The only seasoning really needed is sea salt and fresh ground pepper on top of a light schmeer of buttter...I want to taste the chicken rather than a myriad of herbs and spices. Once in a while, I'll use some rosemary and/or tarragon, but more often than not, I keep it basic. Simple and delicious.

                                                    1. I tried this recipe from the NYT last night. The chicken was really good and the bread was wonderful.


                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: EdwardAdams

                                                        Did the bread get soggy, or was it crisp?

                                                        1. re: janetms383

                                                          The bread varied from crisp to soggy and since I put it low in the oven the pan side was very crisp. The bread directly under the bird was the best, both deliciously soggy with the chicken drippings and crispy on the pan side. Since the bread soaked up all the drippings the pan was clean and there was no smoke from the 425 oven. Definitely a keepers, especially since I am often looking for a useful purpose for stale bread.

                                                      2. I think of all the roast chickens, I like simple best. I made one the other night. For nice crispy beautifully brown, I wash and pat dy (the chicken), then used vegetable oil all over, salt the inside like crazy and pepper, then salt and pepper front and back. Couple garlic cloves cut, and a lemon squeeze all over and inside then put both halves inside.
                                                        Preheat the over to 425-(4-5lb chicken)
                                                        placed in the middle at first, then roasted at 425 for 20 mins, then finished at 350 I use a probe bring the chicken out at 180-185 becareful not to over cook,but any sign of blood, put it back for another 10 mins.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: chef chicklet

                                                          That's pretty much what I did on Saturday - sister came up to visit, and we bought groceries and went to a friend's to cook (she was working all weekend and couldn't go out to eat). Small 4 pounder, cleaned, dried, rubbed with a mixture of canola oil, minced fresh rosemary, Meyer lemon zest, several minced cloves of garlic, salt, pepper (and extra salt/pepper on the inside). Squoze a Meyer lemon over all and tossed another one quartered inside the bird. Started the roasting at 400 for 15 minutes; then turned it down to 350 to finish. I took the bird out at 165-170, and let it rest and continue to cook while I made gravy. My friend got the leftovers; I got the carcass for stock. :-)

                                                        2. i had pretty good luck roasting my last chicken stuffed with grapes (grapes sliced in half lengthwise) on a bed of sliced onion, breast side down. the breast was still moist 3 days later. continuous basting in the grape/onion juices probably had something to do with it. you could put the chicken on a roasting rack for a true roast chicken.

                                                          (all the other prep mentioned in other recipes also applies, drying the skin, a lite rub with olive oil, salt, etc.)

                                                          the recipe said 350 at 20 minutes per pound, but regardless of whatever temp the recipe suggests, i like to do the 1st 15 minutes at 450 to crisp up the skin and seal the juices, and then drop the temp down.

                                                          i also like to actually separate the wings away from the body, so that the wings are completely crispy and i eat them first.