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Re: "My Favorite Simple Roast Chicken"--should the house be filled with smoke?!

In the midst of roasting a chicken a la the epicurious recipe above. It's a 4.5 lb chicken and it has been cooking for approx. 1 hour 10 min now. We've been playing Wii games and only just noticed that the entire house is getting full of smoke. The stove vent is on the highest setting; we've opened every window in the house. Eyes are stinging a bit and I'm afraid the smoke detector will go off.

Is this how it's SUPPOSED to be??? Am I doing something wrong? It's only the chicken, with S&P.

I'm afraid to let the chicken keep cooking but I'm wondering if I have to double the time (original recipe for 2-3 lb chicken says to roast for 50-60 min).

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  1. You did nothing wrong other than punch the ticket to roasting chicken at high heat.

    This recipe is a derivative of a Zuni chicken and at 450 the fat will smoke like the dickens, and it has happend to most people.

    BTW - there is NO vent setting that can handle the smoke other than a commercial venting system.

    The trick is

    1 - lower the temp to around 425
    2 - high sided roaster
    3 - use a turkey baster to remove the grease every 10 minutes or so

    10 Replies
    1. re: jfood

      Thanks, jfood.

      When you say a "high sided roaster" what depth are you thinking? Our turkey roaster is about 4.5 inches deep. The pan I used was 3.5 inches.

      I took it out at 1hr 20min when we couldn't take the smoke anymore--and it was way over 160 degrees in the inside thigh, so I guess we could have taken it out sooner. But it was moist and delicious--if a tad too salty. (And I followed Thomas Keller's advice about what to eat first--never had that triangular "chicken butt" before--pretty darn good all crispy)

      My husband and I both thought the same thing: it's delicious--but is it really worth smoking up the entire house and worrying that the local fire department will be joining us for dinner? (And the stove is a complete mess with grease all over the floor of it. Yikes.)

      Then I caught sight of our gas grill outside and wondered: could we do this same thing on the grill just as if it were the stove? Can you put a nice Analon pan on a grill or is it better to use those disposable aluminum pans? (Would the chicken stick to it?)

      It's too bad: it's very easy to make, wonderful to eat, but the cleanup is going to take forever.

      1. re: Birmingham

        I roast chicken on the grill all the time for precisely this reason.

        1. re: Birmingham

          If you put the pan on the grill the chicken will burn since you have the flames directly under the pan.

          solution - if you want to use the grill you need to buy a cookie sheet that you will probably never be able to use again for cookies. Take the grates off and place the cookie sheet on the weber flavoring bars. then replace the grates and crank up the heat to the 450-500. heat a pan on the inside stove until hot and carry out to the grill and place on the grates. place the chicken breast side down for 20-30 minutes then flip to breast up and if needed finish breast down. BTW - remove the fat pieces at the neck and at the cavity near the triangle. the cookie sheet takes a beating but it disperses the heat nicely to the outside of the grill.

          now that you found the triangle, go for the oysters which are located on the lower spine.

          1. re: jfood

            Would this method work with an Anolon 5qt 11-inch "sauteuse" pan which says it's good up to 500 degrees? Or should I use something disposable? It sounds like a great idea with the cookie sheet.

            I like elfcook's idea too: would use the deeper turkey roaster and fill with the veggies and then try the oven once more--but at 425 as you suggested. I'll choose a nice mild day on which we wouldn't mind having all the windows open. :-)

            1. re: Birmingham

              sauteuse pan is perect and make sure it is not non-stick since that can only go to 450-500.

              now try this

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

            2. re: jfood

              Or, you can just use a V-rack on a roasting pan and use the grill like an oven, which is what I do. Yes, the bottom of the roasting pan has some marks from the grill, but otherwise it's fine.

              1. re: Jen76

                Thanks! It's about 2 hours since dinner and my husband is still trying to clean the stove and the sauteuse pan. Some marks on a roasting pan from the grill don't sound so bad in comparison. Will a nonstick roaster work all right? That's all we've got.

                1. re: Birmingham

                  It's all I've got, too. My roaster is getting dark on the outside, but it's held up well. Inside is just fine.

                  1. re: Birmingham

                    messy oven? throw a potato in and let it bake until it explodes. no idea why but afterward it'll all wipe down easy - grease, potato bits and old baked-on grunge. it's a mess, but a different and easier kind of mess.

            3. I love making roasted chicken, but don't love the smoke. Kill 2 birds with one stone: throw some potato, onion, carrot chunks in the bottom of the roasting pan. You get fantastic roasted veggies & they soak up the fat so it smokes less.

              1 Reply
              1. re: elfcook

                I roast chicken at high heat on a vertical roaster and my solution to the smoke situation is to get a head start on the gravy. I put the giblets & neck in the bottom of the pan with some onion, carrot etc and half an inch of water or vegetable stock. Replenish as needed to keep some liquid in the bottom of the pan. Use this as your gravy base.

              2. We've done that chicken several times and I've actually found it to be less smoky (for whatever reason) when I do it in a shallow pan filled with veggies in my countertop convection oven- I don't know exactly why, but it seems to work better than my standard oven. The salt does get overpowering if you get nuts, but the crispy butt as you said, is totally worth it!

                1. Too late, but you do NOT have to double the time! Eek, a disaster! One hr, 10 minutes sounds just about perfect.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: jaykayen

                    Ah, I wondered about that. So just when the house started smoking, we could have taken it out? Who needs a thermometer? ;-)

                    We are going to try this again on Sunday on the grill...

                  2. I don't use this recipe, but I do start at a high temp to get the skin brown before lowering for most of the roast. I've just started keeping a little liquid in the bottom of the pan after the first 10 minutes or so. Wine, stock, or a combo. Not too much, tho, or you risk steaming the chicken and not getting that nice crisp skin.