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I made the Zuni Roast Chicken & Bread Salad

It was fantastic! Hands down, the best roast chicken I ever had. I have just one complaint. The inside of my brand new oven was completely covered in a layer of chicken grease. Disgusting! I ran the self clean cycle on it. Looks good as new. Is there anyway in the future to prevent that mess? I'd make this once a week if it wasn't for the mess.

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  1. You have already found the "solution" to the Zuni chicken mess. Some here have reported that pouring off the fat on a regular basis helps, but I'm too lazy/scared of hurting myself for that.

    1. Although I'd read on the COTM thread that this was the only drawback to it, I didn't find it to be as bad as I'd feared. I started with a clean oven so that probably helped. I also used convection setting for the first half; could that have made a difference? But a small price to pay, right? I just fixed it for the first time last week and feel the same as you. And the bread salad? Oh yeah.

      4 Replies
      1. re: c oliver

        My oven was also clean. I used the convection setting for the first 30 minutes. I just got a brand new convection oven and this was the first meal I made in it. That's why I was distraught that the inside of the oven was such a disaster.

        1. re: TMT1977

          I cooked it in a cast iron skillet. Can't imagine that would have helped. At all.

          1. re: c oliver

            :) I also used a cast iron skillet.

            1. re: TMT1977

              Well, I just think I'm dang lucky then. Or it was a reward for living such a pure life! Now I'll be worried about the next time.

      2. This way is kind of a waste of good chicken fat but when I take the chicken out to flip, I remove the chicken to the side, use the tongs with a paper towel to wipe out the pan, then put the chicken back in and continue cooking. Oh, and after the final flip, I add a handful of garlic cloves to the pan--they end up nicely caramelized.

        1. Welcome to the wonderful world of Zuni Chicken. Jfood spent many hours thinking about the grease issue and has a few suggestion and one radical solution (although not a perfect one).

          - Trim the fat before you brine, those pieces right at the two cavities.
          - Use a saucier pan. the higher sides seem to capture some of the grease
          - De-fat. Once the "flip" occurs jfood uses a turkey baster to remove the fat every 5-10 minutes.

          Radical idea. Use a gas grill. If interested jfood can post the process. If followed correctly, it works. If not, make sure you have the phone number of the local pizza place.

          4 Replies
          1. re: jfood

            I have been wanting to try this chicken for ages, but wondering how it and my vintage oven and my hyperactive smoke alarm would get along. No convection settings or self-clean cycles for me. Guess I just need to take the plunge and see, with the good tips here for managing the fat.

            Jfood, I am definitely interested in your gas grill version -- especially for summer in LA when I am *not* going to turn on the oven. Do you still end up with pan juices to mix with the bread salad?

            1. re: mebby

              Pan juices? Good question, but no, with the current method no juices. But darn, now jfood has to figure out that dilemma. Jfood always likes a challenge.

              jfood has a gas weber, three zones front to back. Turn on the grill and IMMEDIATELY turn off the center burner. When the thermometer is flat agaiant the highest setting, place the pre-brined chicken which is now on a verticle roaster thingy onto the middle great. Takes about 20 minutes but check to make sure the front and back burners are cooking it evenly. If not rotate 180 degrees to keep the skin a similar color.

              No remember the texture of the skin will be a little different because it has not "fried in its own fat" but it is one delicious bird.

              1. re: jfood

                I met Bob in '86 and he had a vertical roast way back then. He always put the chicken on the roaster and put that in a square pan (8x8?). For his technique he buttered the chicken for browning and then put water in the pan. But I don't know why ya couldn't use the pan sans water and,of course, no butter. I wanna try this.

                1. re: c oliver

                  that is the basic concept jfood is considering but absolutely without the water since it will steam and de-crisp the skin. jfood does have a concern that the chicken fat may catch on fir in an open flame gas grill versus the oven so he needs a little more theory to feel comfortable he will not cause a fire. just thinkin'