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Mar 12, 2009 12:35 PM

Thomas Keller Roasted Chicken. Few questions...

Hi there,

I've never made whole roasted chicken before and I found Thomas Keller's recipe from epicurious. I have a few questions before I embark on this adventure...

1. I don't have a roasting pan (I know, shame on me). Can I cook this in my Le Crueset dutch oven without the lid on?

2. I read some review that this recipes smokes and splatters a lot. If you've made it, is this true? Any tips on minimizing this?

3. Finally, I've never trussed. Any tips and must do's?

Thanks! I can't wait to eat the oysters!

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  1. This chicken is amazing--I've made it numerous times to rave reviews. Here's some answers:

    1.) I use a cast iron pan. I feel that the higher sides of the Le Creuset will prevent browning--not that it won't brown, but it would be better without.

    2.)Yes, it does. Open some windows and turn on your overhead exhaust if you have one. There's little you can really do to minimize this.

    3.)Keller explains it in the recipe--maybe not in the Epicurious version though--you can use the following link to Jacque Pepin giving a basic explanation (ignore his wishbone removal if you wish, it is just for simplifying carving--also, don't use thin twine--use at least 16 thread twine to avoid cutting in to chicken--JP mentions this).

    3 Replies
    1. re: hankstramm

      Watch Jeremiah Tower grill the perfect spatchcocked chicken at and seach under Jeremiah Tower with the keyword poussin. Brilliant! And in related news, the Poached Chicken with Mushrooms and Vegetables - Woohoo! And for our friend with the Le Creuset, there's a Casserole Roasted Chicken with Garlic, Lemon, and Watercress Salad. A total winner!

      1. re: Etsweiler

        Follow up question... At what temperature should the thermometer clock at for the chicken to be done?

        1. re: scout1

          It really depends on where you place the thermometer clock (I'm not really sure what a thermometer clock is, but I'm assuming it's a remote thermometer). If you place it in between the thigh and the breast and make sure you don't touch the bone, you CAN (but many don't recommend) pull it at 155 degrees--this will give you the juiciest breast meat with a slight and in my opinion, harmless pinkishness close to the thigh bone. If you take this route, it is essential that you let the chicken rest 15 mins in a pretty warm spot--like on the stove above the oven--BEFORE carving-- the average chicken left for 15 mins will raise in temperature 5-10 degrees (depending on size--the bigger the more it rises) because of residual heat. Now, this all assumes that you take it in the right spot, which can be a little tricky but not difficult with practice. To be safe, I personally pull the chicken at 160-165 degrees--after your rest period, the chicken will be in the 165-170 range in the thigh and an ever so slightly overcooked breast.

    2. You can always use a rimmed sheet pan, with the bird on a rack - that way the heat can circulate all around it and brown it nicely.

      8 Replies
        1. re: roxlet

          Is it worth the mess? Does this taste better than a roasted chicken at Whole Foods? Also, do potatoes lined at the bottom of the pan help with the spattering?

          1. re: scout1

            Honestly, it may not taste better than a Whole Foods chicken, but I've never tried one. I prefer to make things at home--for me it's half the fun. I know Costco chickens are pretty tasty though.

            As for the potatoes--even cooking them in the oven in a separate pan at the same time causes an added moisture that impedes browning. It does help with the smoke though, but you lose the crispy skin. I used to cook this chicken every Monday for a couple years and have tried many variations.

        2. re: Phurstluv

          With this method, you don't want to put it on a rack, this causes extra smoke. Placing it in a 10 inch cast iron skillet works best. I do agree the rack will improve the browning, but will exacerbate the smoke issue that was asked about.

          1. re: hankstramm

            I'm pleased to say that I made it last night and it was delicious! No smoking at all and the oven's not as messy as I thought it would be. Not to totally pat myself on the back, but it tasted better than the Whole Foods chicken I buy from time to time. I'm sure half of it was making it on my own. I ended up putting it in my Calphalon skillet - worked perfectly! Thanks for all your advice!

            1. re: scout1

              It makes me very happy to hear how well it came out. A few weeks ago, I posted the recipe on my Facebook page for friends--they are always asking me for easy and tasty recipes. Like I mentioned before, I used to make this every Monday for years as a standby that I knew the whole family would love..

              1. re: scout1

                Glad you enjoyed it! This is both the simplest and the best roasted chicken recipe I have ever tried. I cook it in a large cast iron skillet, which collects the juices nicely (I find they evaporate/burn too quickly in a large roasting pan). Also, I was worried about smoking since I live in a very small apartment, but fortunately had no smoke whatsoever.


              2. re: hankstramm

                I've found that the roasted chickens from Whole Foods and the large supermarkets taste as if they have been enhanced. I think this goes beyond simple brining, since there is a chemical taste that's hard to identify. As long as you have a self-cleaning oven, or you enjoy getting your head in there a couple of times a year to scrub things clean, the roast chicken you make at home will outstrip the commercial Frankenchickens that enjoy their endless rounds on the rotisserie. With that said, if it's the end of the day and they have wildly marked down said chickens, buy a couple, take them home, simmer them in the stock pot with water to cover (I suggest moving the proceedings into a 170-degree oven overnight), and you'll have an easy stock. Remove the meat before it hits the stock pot if you want to eat it (ahem), or use the whole bird (there's a kinky joke in there somewhere). If nothing else, you'll have a decent if doctored chicken soup the next morning.