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butterflied chicken--undercooked dark meat

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I just roasted my first butterflied chicken, using the America's Test Kitchen recipe. I cooked the 3ish-pound bird at 500 degrees for 40 minutes, rotating the pan once in the middle. At the end, the temperature in the breast was a bit over 160. I rested the bird for about five minutes while I finished the potatoes.

The breast was great--juicy and yummy, but the legs were not cooked through. What did i do wrong? I haven't made too many whole chickens before, and I thought butterflying was the way to ensure even cooking.

Any advice would be appreciated--I'd love to get this recipe right. The skin was amazing.

Thanks!
Lisa Simpson

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  1. I'm not familiar with the ATK method, but I have used a method similar to Jacques Pepin's (where the thigh-leg joint is partially sliced through). http://www.kqed.org/w/morefastfoodmyw... (at around 5:30 of the video).

    1. I just checked the recipe and it seemed you followed it exact. The dark meat takes longer to cook than the white meat so I don't think you did anything wrong other than not checking the temp of the thigh meat. When cooking meat I rarely follow what the recipe says on how long it should take, per pound etc. I cook it for as long as it takes to get to the desired temperature and usually fudge it so it will be done in advance so it has ample time to rest and come up to temp. Even with a chicken, I'd let it rest longer than 5 minutes, I'd go at least 15.

      1. Put the legs toward the back of the oven and the breast toward the oven door.

        1. Bring the chicken to room temp prior to cooking.

          1 Reply
          1. re: JEN10

            very good advice.

            I'd add: brown the chicken under the broiler, then turn oven down to 225 and cook till thigh internal temp reads 160. Because it's cooked low and slow, the white meat will not be overcooked and dry.