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Slow Roasted Chix/Crispy Skin?!

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Hello Hounds.

My fave roast chicken recipe as of late has been a slow roasted bird with rotisserie style seasonings. I do it up at about 250 for 5 hours. It is 99% the best chicken I have ever eaten.

HOWEVER, I believe it would be 100% the best chicken I've ever eaten if I coud crisp the damned skin up.

I've read several methods of doing this and seems like a 50/50 split of those who crisp at the beginning and those who crisp at the end. I've also read varied info on what the high/crisping temp should be and length of time it should stay at that temp.

What do you suggest? 450 for 20 minutes at the beginning? 350 for 30 mins at the end?

Help!

Thanks.

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  1. I've tried so many different methods and the Zuni chicken wins out, for both crispy skin and moist meat.

    http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/4401342/

    1 Reply
    1. re: chowser

      I've tried both and much prefer the slow roasted chicken. I do it at the end, and also make sure to dry the skin thoroughly before the bird goes in the oven. I'd say 450-- not sure about the time-- I keep checking it.

    2. from my own experience after trying to ape all these chefs from my video collection, it's the prepping the skin by brining then drying - the drier you get the skin, the crispier it will be. i can attest to this as i am brining and drying chicken or pork belly at least once a week - there's just no substitute. brine, then quick dry with a fan or dry extendedly in the ref.

      16 Replies
      1. re: epabella

        One way to dry out just the skin is to rub with a mixture of baking powder salt and pepper. Resting overnight is even better. The baking powder will give no taste to the final skin.

        1. re: chase.seibert

          "The baking powder will give no taste to the final skin."
          ~~~~~~~~~
          sure it will - baking powder is *loaded* with sodium. i use the low-sodium stuff because the regular makes the skin inedibly salty to me.

          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

            Wow, I have never seen a low sodium baking powder.....interesting. You are always on top of it, Friend!!

            I always dry brine my whole birds, and cut parts for that matter, which will render a crispy skin, whether you rotisserie it long and slow, or roast it high and fast. And they are always juicy.

            1. re: Phurstluv

              i like Featherweight, made by Hain Foods. gray & blue striped can with light blue label.

              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                What stores do you find it in, ghg? I've never seen it in Ralphs, Vons (Safeway) or Gelsons. Don't tell me I have to go to Whole Paycheck to find it!! LOL!

                1. re: Phurstluv

                  "Don't tell me I have to go to Whole Paycheck to find it!!"
                  ~~~~~~~
                  ok, but...some WFMs do stock it. you can often find it at random health/natural food stores too, but i usually buy it online.

                  i've never bought it there, but you might be able to get it at Erewhon.

                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    Figures, WFM has a lock on that kind of specialty stuff. It's not that I don't like the store's inventory, they have beautiful meat and produce, but I cannot buy my everyday items there, and when they told me they would no longer stock a live lobster tank, b/c the owner felt it was cruel & unusual punishment, I just knew it wasn't the store for me!! Also, all their prepped items look great but don't have any taste. Can't deal with that if I'm paying top dollar, I want it to taste wonderful, and I shouldn't have to doctor it up!!

                    1. re: Phurstluv

                      "Also, all their prepped items look great but don't have any taste.
                      ~~~~~~
                      i've found that to vary with location - some of the stores are *out of control* with the salt, so their food does have "taste," but it's just, well, salt! none of it is very good - you can definitely make something better for a lot less $$ at home.

                      i wish i could remember where i used to buy the Featherweight in LA. check the aisle at Ralphs or Vons where they keep the organic & special diet stuff - they have everything from GF baking mixes to chia seeds these days, so you never know what you might find!

                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                        So true, re: WFM. Either they are bland or oversalted!!

                        I know, thanks for the advice, ghg, I will!!

              2. re: Phurstluv

                hello Phurstluv, i knew you'd be joining us in this thread sooner or later. i'm a little afraid of using baking powder outside baked goods (and i hardly ever bake) and it's used more as a cleaning agent in this house - wait, that's baking soda. now a low sodium baking powder - not to be contradictory to goodhealthgourmet but that strikes me as using more chemicals on a chemical to lower some chemical content... gonna wiki baking powder to clarify this. i just can't use something that strikes me as... flavorless (for lack of a better description)... sorry, i can be such a stubborn bastard.

                but back to crispy skin: an alternative to brining would be fish sauce, the product we use here in asia is dirt cheap, almost 'a million percent salt', almost toxic, and almost inedible - especially the filipino version called PATIS so endeared to me and most filipinos. i know of seriously good cooks who marinade their chickens in the stuff. i've never done that but as an alternative to basting with boiling salted water, i figure i could brush the chicken with fish sauce a few times during it's drying out period. theoretically, it's a flavor packed drying agent. i'll try this for tomorrows sunday family dinner and will post results if you're interested.

                PS. i first heard WHOLE PAYCHECK on real time with bill maher - we're so lucky in the third world we don't have such store. you try to sell a lemon for a dollar here and you'll probably be shot.

                1. re: epabella

                  "not to be contradictory to goodhealthgourmet but that strikes me as using more chemicals on a chemical to lower some chemical content"
                  ~~~~~~
                  nope, they just replace the sodium bicarb with potassium bicarb.

                  1. re: epabella

                    Yes, thanks for the support, I was out of town last weekend!! I was just intrigued to know of a baking powder with lower sodium, not that I'll probably even get it, but good to know anyhow.

                    And for my Friend GHG, as my Dad, a chem wiz & scientist, would always say, "it's ALL chemicals, the world can't get along without them....!!"

                    1. re: Phurstluv

                      oh, believe me, i know :) but epabella implied that the low-sodium product contained more chemicals than regular baking powder, so i was simply clarifying that it doesn't - it's just potassium bicarb instead of sodium bicarb.

                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                        Yes, I know, and my Dad would be impressed with your chemical knowledge!! Seriously, he's a wicked geek!!

                        Bascially what he meant was, back in the 70s or 80s when there was and now again, a backlash against "chemically enhanced" food, he would wax poetically about how everything in the world was made of chemicals and organic compounds are actually chemicals, blah blah blah.....we daughters used to tune him out once he got going on his soapbox!!! This was a guy who was an environmentalist, before anyone knew what that was!! He's still my hero!!

            2. re: epabella

              i used this brine/dry method for my turkey at Christmas. it was fan-flippin'-tastic!

              1. re: epabella

                Yeah, if there's a secret technique to crispy skin, this is it. After dry-salting or brining, stand the chicken upright in your fridge for a while, preferably overnight, and just before roasting pat it down with paper towels.

                I also like to roast upside down for the first 30-40 minutes , then finish breast-side-up for the last 20-30 minutes to crisp the breast skin. This gives you crispy skin on top and bottom and no globules of fat in the dark meat.

              2. In my experience, the temp of my oven depends on the size of the chicken. The larger the bird, the slower I roast it in order to cook evenly. Accordingly, the smaller the bird, the higher the temperature as you wont have to wait as song to get the deeper meat up to temp, while the more superficial meat dries out.
                This goes for roasting whole, trussed chicken. Now, if you spatchcock it, you can really take advantage of higher temps and a really good, quick meal. Also, you can pan-sear the bird on both sides, then finish roasting in the oven.
                As far as the skin goes, I just pat dry the skin with paper towels, rub evoo and softened butter all over, and give a good dose of salt and pepper.
                I roast vegetables in the bottom of the pan, dry, for about 15-20 min. to get caramelization. Then, I add good chicken stock to the bottom of the pan and deglaze. The bird gets basted with drippings 2-3 times while cooking.
                Always, always produces crisp, browned skin.
                Good luck!

                1. Peel all the skin off at the end of cooking and throw it into a frying pan.

                  1. The chicken needs to be completely dry when you start cooking, Blot it with paper towels.

                    I like crisping at the end, as slower cooking always makes a more tender chicken. The few minutes at high temp that you cook at the end won't make the bird tough at tha point.

                    1. The way you do chicken is wonderful. I go as low as 185-190 for 5-6 hours, after first roasting at 300 for 5 mins/lb. to kill germs. If you baste this chicken with butter (or just mush some butter on it before cooking) I guarantee you you'll have crispy skin.

                      Yes, in ways I agree with the "dry skin" school, but personally I don't do that.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: shaogo

                        "...roasting at 300 for 5 mins/lb. to kill germs."

                        I would think this is actually not necessary, as the germ (bacteria, actually) in question is Salmonella, which is no longer viable after reaching a temperature of 140 for 30 mins, or 167 for 10... or so the USDA recommends.

                        1. re: mateo21

                          It's a bit safer to do as Shaogo does and cook at higher temperature for a little while. The problem is that in an oven set to 185 F, the surface of the bird may not reach and sustain a temp of 140 for a while, and the cavity and crevices will take even longer. And while salmonella and campylobacter (which is even more prevalent than salmonella in chickens) would both eventually be killed if you cook the bird long enough, staph bacteria (usually introduced by the cook) may have time to produce a heat-stable toxin before it is killed.

                          That's not to say that skipping the initial high-temp roasting is across-the-board horribly unsafe. Or conversely that low temperature roasting is 100% risk-free as long as the bird spends 5 min/pound at 300 F first. But Shaogo's method is safer. Should help the skin brown a bit too.

                          Also, I'll add that stuffing a chicken that you intend to roast at low temperature is not a good idea.