HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Cooks Illustrated Peruvian Roast Chicken

Has anyone else tried this recipe? Yes, you have to pay for it on the CI site, but there are various "adaptations" floating around on the Internet. My chicken turned out ridiculously awesome, flavor-wise, even with less than the recommended 6 hours of marinating time. Definitely a keeper.

Just one thing bugged me, though: roasting the chicken on a beer can in the oven yielded skin that was nicely crispy on top, but fairly flabby on the legs/thighs, even after a finishing blast of 500 degrees. How could I remedy this? Could I flip the chicken around halfway through cooking, plopping it on the beer can via the neck hole, or will it fall over?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I dont know the method for this recipe exactly, but I'm assuming you can just pat it dry with paper towels after marinating. That'll allow the skin to crisp up. You can always fan it a bit beforehand to dry the chicken skin a bit. There are a lot of methods to get your skin crispy on a chicken.

    1. Do you have to use a beer can? Maybe on a rack breast side up?

      1. I haven't seen the recipe, but I'm only guessing that you need a much wider pan that is also shallow. If it's deeper than it should be the heat won't be dry enough at the bottom of the bird as it is at the top. Does this make sense?

        1. I know when I make Chinese duck or roasted chicken, I pat it dry and then put it in front of a fan. Skin turns out paper thin and crispy. I was also told to slash the the skin (but not the muscle) to allow the fat to flow out easily. Maybe what is happening for you is that the fat is settling in the bottom half of the bird with nowhere to go?

          1. No you can not plop the bird on a beer can upside down. Not unless you:

            a) make the neck hole wider.


            b) don't mind running the risk of boiling hot beer pouring out all over you.


            1. Check out some of these Peruvian Chicken recipes too :

              PS Big fan of ATK / CI but hate the fact their website wont share TV show recipes unless you sign up AND it is darn near impossible to unsubscribe from their junk mail. Shame on you Chris...

              3 Replies
              1. re: PoppiYYZ

                I hear all this stuff about getting away from CI (etc.) and yet I've had absolutely no problem.

                I took out a year subscription to the ATK website and after 1 year I unsubscribed. No problems.

                We used to have a CI subscription. Nothing else came to the house and we simply didn't renew and were done. No problems.


                1. re: Davwud

                  I also subscribed for a year a few years ago and they automatically renewed the second year (and charged the credit card). It took calls, e-mails and threats of charge challenges to get it undone. I thought I read automatic renewals were made illegal.

                  But the biggest pain is the constant junk mails. "Unsubscribe" doesn't work, and multiple e-mails and phone calls haven't stopped all the Chris notices. Worst outfit I've dealt with in this regard.

                  1. re: PoppiYYZ

                    Junk snail mail or email?? We get no junk snail mail from them and if we did I'd just toss it. I also have a hotmail account for signing up for stuff like that so I can get sent all the junk email a company desires and I could care less.


              2. We have made this recipe several times very successfully, and ended up buying a NorPro vertical roaster for the recipe because we liked it so much. It was less than $20 on amazon, goes in the dishwasher, and stores flat. I now roast all my chickens vertically :)

                Just be sure to put a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil on the rack underneath the vertical roaster rack - there can be messy drippings/spills.

                2 Replies
                1. re: artemis

                  I know, right? Something about that combination of herbs and spices and habanero...can't even imagine how awesome it would be on an actual grill. Soon...

                  I think my problem stemmed from a combination of factors - I didn't dry the skin enough, I didn't marinate it long enough for the juices to get sucked back in, and I put too much water/potatoes in the roasting pan towards the end. Although I daresay the resulting Peruvian-spiced potatoes were worth it.

                  Side note: if you make it with a beer can and are dared to drink the hot, chicken-flavored beer that is left in the can at the end, don't do it. It will be the most disgusting thing you have ever tasted.

                  1. re: thestratbrat

                    Have you thought about rubbing some paste inside the skin? I usually left the skin, and with a short sharp knife, slice away at the tissue connecing the skin to the meat, and rub some in there. I also tend to cook 2 chickens whenevre possible - one for eating that day and one for chicken salad. South American/Mexican chicken makes foir an amazing sandwich.

                2. I do two things to get crispy skin:

                  1. Pat dry with a paper towel.

                  2. Salt liberally with kosher salt.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Naco

                    +1 Naco.

                    I salt very liberally, Before and After I rub with butter. The butter browns nicely and makes the skin crispy.

                    1. re: Naco

                      The flavored paste already has 2 tbs of salt in it, so I wouldn't liberally add more salt.

                      1. re: TomMeg1970

                        Good point - for chicken in general it works well - but with the amount of salt I would pass.

                        The butter on the other hand really helps brown and crisp the skin.

                    2. Inverting the chicken would probably be messy, difficult and dangerous, unless you're using one of those vertical roasters, which tend to have a much wider and more stable base than a can. You'd also probably need to widen the neck hole (removing and/or breaking the wishbone).

                      A couple of other things that would probably help:

                      1. Take the chicken out of the bag a few hours before cooking and let it dry out a bit in the fridge. If marinating overnight, you could remove the bag the morning of the day you plan to cook.

                      2. If you have it, use the convection setting on your oven.

                      3. After roasting the chicken to the target internal temperature, allow the chicken to cool pretty thoroughly (to room temp or thereabouts) before the 500F final blast. The hot juices just under the the skin can interfere the crisping process. Letting the chicken cool off a bit, and then heating the skin from the outside in will tend to give you better crisping.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: TomMeg1970

                        OK, this may be international fusion blasphemy, but considering the marinating process and the desired outcome of the crispy skin, I might try the Sicilian method of cutting the chicken into serving segments and doing it "under the bricks" providing it is well-marinated and dried. This has worked beautifully for the crisp skin.

                      2. Can you cut and paste the recipe? I google and found it - but unless you subscribe you don't get to see the whole thing.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: sparky403

                          just look a bit further down in the google results, you can nearly always find a blogger who has made it. http://myyearwithchris.wordpress.com/...

                        2. I've made it several times and just roasted it in a pan. I only do the beer can thing outside on the grill.

                          1. Has anyone made this outside on their grill?