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Roasting my first chicken

I'm a noob when it comes to roasting. In fact I didn't even know what roasting was until I made the following chicken. I went to Wegman's and I thought and thought about what I wanted to eat. I decided to get a whole chicken rather than a fillet or cutlet. The reason for a whole chicken is I have a theory that as you cut food up the freshness decreases faster. A whole chicken should keep longer than a cut up chicken in accordance with my theory. More importantly a whole chicken is like a blank piece of paper. What could be more exciting than a blank piece of paper? You can draw anything!

I picked my whole chicken by the amount of water I could see through the packaging. At 99 cents a pound and 6.28 my chicken cost me $6.22, I didn't see much water. There was only a selection of about 5 chickens, I picked the 2nd smallest, the smallest costing $6.21.

Now decisions, decisions what to write on my blank piece of paper. Examining the label of my whole chicken, I noticed "roasting chicken." Aha! I will roast the chicken. I'll just put the chicken on the grill and ummmm wait, what does roasting mean? I've heard of roast beef, and roast leg of lamb. I roast, in the ummmmm, oven. Yes, the oven!

I proceeded to pick out some fruits and veggies and to the checkout lane. Once I got home I immediately used my friend, the internet to look up a recipe. I forget which site, I think bettercooking or something. Anyways I followed the recipe, I took out the giblets, washed the chicken, put olive oil designed for frying or roasting on my chicken. I decided to go ahead and crank my convection oven up to 425 degrees F. The recipe used a conventional oven and said 450 for the first 10-15 mins.

I then struggled to get my mammoth chicken into my small convection oven. The top of my chicken was touching the top of my oven. With the chicken sitting on top of a baking rack with the rack sitting on top of a baking pan with the baking pan sitting on top of the over rack. When I saw the chicken I kept thinking the chicken was small. Until, I realized I was comparing the chicken to a turkey. :)

I put the chicken in for about 12 mins at 425 convection. Put the chicken in for an hour at 325 F, let rest basted the chicken, put in for another 40 mins at 325 F and let the chicken rest for 10 mins.

Even before the chicken was done the kitchen smelled wonderful. I put the gibbets into a saucepan and boiled them for awhile. The entire house got really hot too. I took out the chicken and could see the clear juices.

Now to eating! My first roasted chicken was the juiciest chicken I've ever had. Fully cooked, and easy on the stomach. Delicate but tasty. I ate a full pound of chicken along with a salad, and rice. My stomach thanked me. I can't believe how easy the chicken went down. I'm used to BBQ chicken that is full of sweeteners. Sure BBQ chicken tastes better, but add enough sugar to anything and it will taste better. I'm beginning to realize my whole life how much food has been sweetened.

The mouth feel on the chicken was amazing. I've been eating steak lately, and I can say chicken feels so much better. With steak one must slice to the steak into pea sized pieces or fear choking. Something about steak your mouth wants to swallow before you are done chewing. Chewing steak even 5 times can be a challenge. In roasted chicken not only is there no fear, but the chicken goes down your throat with ease. When grilling sometimes a piece of char brushes your esophagus the wrong way and leads to discomfort.

Next, time I think I will add some herbs. Anyone else got some great experiences with chicken? I swear there was like zero grease on my chicken.

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  1. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

    This is the easiest way to do it, and the best I have ever had.

    3 Replies
    1. re: roro1831

      When I haven't had the forethought to do a Zuni Chicken, this is what I do. Perfection....

      1. re: roro1831

        I'll try the above recipe first, I figure I'll go through all the recipes. I never trussed a bird before. Where's the best place to buy a whole chicken, I already ate the whole chicken? Ate as much as I could last night, today I pulled all the meat off the bone and made chicken salad with the rest of the meat, and promptly ate the rest all the chicken salad. :) I put the bone into a pot with an onion sliced in two and celery leaves. I boiled the pot for stock.

        Need another whole chicken, where's the best place to buy?

        1. re: roro1831

          +2. Best way for chicken. Awesome skin, and really fast. Yum.

        2. Welcome to the club! You went and arranged your own initiation ordeal and passed it, so congratulations. Now don't stop there... Speaking only for myself, I've had almost as many great experiences with chicken as I've cooked chickens, starting with the baked stuffed bird I cooked, for a whole house-full of people, when I really barely knew what I was doing. It was chewy, but everyone loved it, most of them having never had a chicken prepared that way.

          Thing is, chicken is mostly very forgiving, the breast being the least and the thighs the most. For meat in general fat=forgiveness. But the one great truth about this cooking thing, especially if you're doing it for yourself, is that if you start with edible ingredients, if you cook it enough not to be dangerously raw but not so much as to incinerate it, the result will ALWAYS be edible. Not necessarily GOOD, but at least it will be nourishment instead of a waste, and if you were paying attention you've learned something.

          It's a great and glorious journey. Happy trails!

          1. I made the famous and now classic Zuni roast chicken with bread salad. Best I'VE ever had.


            1. I think your next step is to break out the beer can ...


              1. Easy to remember, from Sara Moulton: 4.5# chicken for 45 minutes at 450 degrees.

                1. I followed Hazan's two lemons recipe for my first and only roasted chicken, and it came out perfectly with very little effort. I think roasting is probably a failsafe way to cook a chicken.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: aventinus

                    If only this were so aventinus. At my friend John's house his mom always cooks the bird until it falls apart! John tells me it is so very dry that he thought he didn't like roast chicken for the longest time. It is a shame because John's dad is a very good cook. Yet John's mom consistently undercooks sausage and serves meatloaf rare. /boggle. It just goes to show that humans are tough and can survive a lot of punishment and keep going.

                    1. re: givemecarbs

                      funny. does she subscribe to the rule, "when it's brown it's cooking, when it's black it's done"?

                      1. re: ChristinaMason

                        He he, not sure Christina. Last month John was complaining about her crab cakes. A lovely golden brown on the outside and frozen in the middle.

                  2. Next time, next step, stuff that sucker! Nothing better than home-made roasted chicken with home-made stuffing!

                    1. Welcome to the dark side. Roast chicken is dead simple and incredibly delicious.

                      I'm of the opinion that things like basting, turning the chicken, and working at multiple temperatures are unnecessary. KISS. A convection oven, a low pan, and, in your case, a low rack, so that the breast doesn't touch the top of the oven are all you need. Try it at 425 the whole time; if the kitchen fills with smoke, drop to 400.

                      On the other hand, brining (or dry brining) will make a world of difference. An hour or two in a simple salt brine is a huge step in the right direction. The meat will be more flavorful, tender, and juicy. Bring some herbs, spices, fruits, and/or aromatics to the party and incredible results are sure to follow.

                      Last but not least, a remote probe thermometer (like this: http://www.amazon.com/Polder-Original... ) will protect your bird from overcooking. You're shooting for 165F in the thigh and the middle of the breast. A little bit of red at the joints is okay.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: alanbarnes

                        Right on, Alan. Meat thermometer is the #1 essential piece of equipment in my kitchen. I can fake lots of things but seriously over or underdone is a deal breaker.

                        Edit: Wow, just checked the Polder. I didn't realize that type could be had for that small an amount of $$$. I've been using a plain digital cause I didn't want to spend alot for that kind. There's another small item I need (really, I NEED it!) so I can get free shipping.

                      2. It's hard to screw up a roast chicken. Maybe gravy next time? If you plan to make gravy, mild herbs are fine but go easy on salt and heavy seasonings like chipotle.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Veggo

                          Re jus, you gotta try the Zuni bread salad. I even reheated the following night and it was great.

                        2. Fantastic! Congrats on discovering the wonderful world of roast chicken. I'm roasting a chicken tonight myself and I plan on wrapping some pancetta over it prior to roasting and stuffing it with a chorizo and roasted red pepper stuffing.


                          This is an Australian food site, but this page has a few ideas on variations for stuffing the bird, if you're interested in doing so. Otherwise I just pat the chicken dry inside and out, brush it with some olive oil, season with salt and pepper and shove half a lemon into the cavity. Throw some garlic cloves, potatoes, pumpkin (or whatever vegies take your fancy) alongside the chicken into the pan and you're all set! Ah, so simple, but yet so, so good.