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Thomas Keller Roasted Chicken: Two at a Time??

scout1 Apr 16, 2009 08:25 AM


I made the Thomas Keller roasted chicken once before and it turned out totally moist and delectable. My question for you is what would happen if I cooked TWO (3.5 lb) chickens in the oven at the same time? Would this effect the cooking time or temperature?

Has anyone ever cooked two at once? I'm having guests come over this weekend and I would like to make it for them.


  1. Squirrels Apr 16, 2009 08:50 AM

    It will slightly affect the cooking time, yes, but not drastically. More mass to heat up = more energy required. I'm not familiar with the specifics of the recipe, but maybe increase the oven temp by 25 degrees for the first 20 minutes and count on about another 10 to 15 minutes cooking time. That's just a guess though.

    My main point as I said above is that yes it will affect the parameters of the recipe but not by so much that you couldn't handle it. You sound like you have a pretty good idea about what you're cooking.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Squirrels
      scout1 Apr 16, 2009 09:10 AM

      I figured it would change things a bit. I'm a little concerned about raising the temperature 25 degrees because the recipe calls for a 450 degree oven to start with. Do you think 475 is too hot for 2 gorgeous, organic 2-3 lb birds (sorry, I misspoke in my original post... The weight of the chicken is about 2.5 lbs each)?

      1. re: scout1
        Squirrels Apr 16, 2009 09:26 AM

        For birds that small you might not want to keep it there for a whole 20 minutes, you're right. Maybe pre-heat the oven to 475 and then immediately drop the temp to 450. That way the oven will be slightly hotter than the recipe calls for but it won't be cycling on and off for 20 minutes at that high temp. Are you cooking these on a rack? (again not sure of the recipe) I would suggest opening the oven and turning the chickens so that they cook more evenly. Opening the oven might add another 5 mins to the cooking time - I'm familiar with high heat chicken and I know they go quick, especially at 2.5 lbs! - but turning them/spinning them will aid in the cooking. One point of concern might be the additional moisture generated by the 2 chickens.

        1. re: Squirrels
          scout1 Apr 16, 2009 09:33 AM

          All good points. When I made it with one chicken in the oven, it took about 50 minutes and I cooked it in my All Clad skillet which worked perfectly. For two birds, I may have to go out and get a roasting rack or another skillet. If you've never made it, you are missing out!


          1. re: scout1
            Squirrels Apr 16, 2009 09:43 AM

            Looks like a good simple recipe, you're right! If you have cast iron/carbon steel or any other oven safe skillet/saute pan you could cook it in there. I would consider pre-heating the pan along with the oven. 2 big pieces of cold steel would certainly affect the oven temp when you put them both in there. That's what I do when I cook chickens in the oven.

            I have a great carbon steel pan that I preheat to 425 and cook chicken in much the same manner as is described here. I don't bother with trussing though. I start the bird on it's side for about 12-15 minutes then flip to the other side for another 12 minutes and continue, eventually all 4 sides come in contact with the pan (2 sides (legs and thighs), back and breast) for a total of about 50-60 minutes myself.

    2. greygarious Apr 16, 2009 11:18 AM

      I would make no changes at all and doubt that the cooking time will differ. Make sure the birds aren't touching - ideally there should be at least an inch between them. Use an instant-read thermometer on the birds after the time called for in the original recipe.

      1. k
        karykat Apr 16, 2009 12:26 PM

        There has been a lot of discussion of the Zuni high heat chicken recipe. I recall that at least one person said they roasted two at once. Don't know if that person discussed temp or roasting time changes. There was some discussion on that thread(s) about temperature generally. It seems like you got more smoking and spattering if the temperature was bumped up. One person (I think it was JoanN) said that you could reduce the smoking by pouring off the fat that is rendered periodically during the cooking time. She said that made a big difference.

        1 Reply
        1. re: karykat
          Squirrels Apr 16, 2009 12:33 PM

          You are correct - at least I can corroborate that I do pour off the fat as I go. Forgot that step. Two chickens would only generate more fat if they are cooked in a single vessel so it's a valid point.

        2. Sam Fujisaka Apr 16, 2009 12:57 PM

          I always cook two at a time with no real change in the time.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Sam Fujisaka
            scout1 Apr 16, 2009 01:51 PM

            Wait, so Sam you cook two chickens at 450 with no real trouble? Last time I made this with one chicken, I didn't have an issue with splattering or smoke, like a lot of people on epicurious did (I wonder if the difference between gas and electric -- I have gas... a gas range, that is :)).

            1. re: scout1
              Sam Fujisaka Apr 16, 2009 02:04 PM

              I cook at 425 with electric for 10 minutes followed by an hour at 375.

              1. re: scout1
                irishnyc Apr 16, 2009 02:09 PM

                You could have 10 chickens in your oven (if they fit) and as long as they're not touching, the time and temp would not need to change.

                The smoking and spattering is all going to depend on how clean the oven is, what they're cooked in, whether it spatters on the walls/heating elements, etc.

                1. re: irishnyc
                  silverhawk Apr 16, 2009 03:26 PM

                  we routinely cook two. the time difference between cooking one and two is no greater than any other variable associated with cooking a singleton--precooking temp of the bird, its exact size, etc. we don't go up to 450--around 400. we baste quite liberally with white wine and stock and are not troubled by burning fat.

            2. jfood Apr 16, 2009 04:20 PM

              Jfood thinks 450 for 50-60 minutes is too long anyways, so two birds at this temp and time is probably OK as well.

              And at 450 degrees you may have some smoke and splatter issues, but the end results should be great.

              1. h
                hankstramm Apr 16, 2009 09:21 PM

                Two chickens will definitely make the skin less crispy than just one. I've tried it and do it quite often, since the smaller birds are more flavorful. I always start the chickens at 500, since once you open the oven, it drops to 450 anyway. I drop the temp to 450 after about 10-15 mins. Your total cooking time won't vary that much--maybe 5-10 mins more. The recommendation about preheating the pan you're cooking them in is a good idea, as is making sure there is 2 inches between them of space.

                Personally, I do a hybrid Zuni/Keller bird. I salt and herb the chicken Zuni style and roast them a la Keller..

                3 Replies
                1. re: hankstramm
                  scout1 Apr 17, 2009 06:18 AM

                  Thanks, hank. Does your method work for you and the two birds? You get a nice crispy skin?

                  1. re: scout1
                    hankstramm Apr 18, 2009 09:09 PM

                    Whenever I make two birds, the skin is slightly less crispy--this might partly be due to me not drying 2 as well as when I dry one. Also, the extra bird definitely contributes to more steam and less dry heat early on.

                    1. re: hankstramm
                      scout1 Apr 20, 2009 10:16 AM

                      Thanks everyone. I made the two birds and they turned out great. Slightly less crispy skin that when I make one, but they were still pretty crispy. I made sure to dry them extra and let them sit in the fridge overnight. Time and temperature didn't really change -- they both were cooked in a hour. There was a lot more splattering this time than last time, but all in all, it was great!

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