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Oven stuffer roaster-white meat cooking faster than dark

I am going to cook one of these suckers soon but I have always had a problem, although the breast meat is done, the dark meat doesnt get nice and crispy. If I keep cooking of course the breast meat is dry.

Would cooking it upside down at the start help? Or any other tips? I have been removing the thigh/leg parts and cooking them off more but that is another pan to wash and a pain in the neck.

Thanks :)

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  1. I don't cook those ginormous Perdue birds, but whenever I make whole chicken, I butterfly or spatchcock it. Not only does it cook more evenly, but every inch of skin is crispy because it's all exposed to the hot air, not the bottom of the pan. Also, I coat with butter, salt and pepper and roast at 450F for one hour, typically.
    The butter really promotes crispy skin.

    You want to cut out the backbone (poultry scissors very helpful for this) and press down to break the breast bone or cut it out. Then cut the skin near where the thigh attaches to the body so you can spread them away from the breast/body for roasting so the heat is evenly applied. Crispy, juicy and all done at the same time. Nice done on a bed of veggies you'd like with it; I use fennel wedges, onions, carrots and celery with garlic and fresh thyme as a bed.

    7 Replies
    1. re: mcf

      MCF that sounds fantastic! spatchcocking/butterflying always sounded like a hassle but I will try it for the sake of flavor :) and it may be a time saver after all


      Do you ever cook the split chickens on the grill? -roasters probably don't do well that way I am assuming.

      (I don't blame you for not cooking perdue but when times are tight you cant beat a nice fat (affordable) hen wherever it comes from

      1. re: madeliner

        Yes, I often cook them on the grill. For chicken under a brick, I fully remove the breast bone, too. I do it on low heat, skin side down on a well oiled grill, well oiled chicken, well seasoned.

        My family used to survive on Perdue OSRs years ago; I could make three days of meals from one! Costco has Coleman organic ones for a fair price now. I would worry a bit about the size/density of a big Perdue bird on the grill, but on low, you can use an instant read and see how it's going before you have a dry breast on your hands... cut into parts if extremely uneven. I usually find the dark meat is done ahead of thick, whole breasts.

        1. re: mcf

          If you use indirect heat on your grill, you can cook a spatchcocked OSR very nicely.

          1. re: carbonaraboy

            I usually use low heat on my grill, but have switched to indirect once the skin is done if the meat isn't, but I don't buy OSRs.

            1. re: mcf

              The texture and taste or lack of taste of OSRs or any Purdue factory produced excuse for a bird will never compare to a pastured chicken

              1. re: ospreycove

                Yep (more detail downthread)

                Yes, pastured chickens are more expensive. Yes, they're worth it.

                1. re: ospreycove

                  I completely agree, but a lot of folks can't fit the added expense into their budgets.

      2. You can also pull out the chicken when the breasts are done, carve them off whole and put the rest of the bird back in until done.

        2 Replies
        1. re: escondido123

          ty enscondido23 that is the opposite of what I have done and it sounds easier.

          I am thinking after this should I even buy a roasting chicken? I dont even like cooking frying chickens as a roast chicken even though they are way easier and tastier sort of,

          Roasting chicken is such a mess and doesn't seem worth the effort unless I make a pan gravy, roasted garlic cooked with the chicken, pan juices and fat, cooked with flour and finished with chicken broth until bubbly and a little thickened

          This brings the whole meal into heaven, imho pan gravy is magic

          1. re: madeliner

            I think you should buy the best quality chicken you can get at the best price. One nice thing about making two smaller ones instead is that there are more of each person's favorite part.

        2. I use the method from Joy called Turned Roasted Chicken - turns out a golden, crispy, JUICY bird every time.

          Prepare for roasting however you like best -- then lay the bird on its side (on a v-rack or propped with tin foil to keep it from rolling over and sitting in the juices -- roast for 25 minutes for the first three pounds, plus 3 minutes for each additional pound (i.e., a 5-pound bird would go in for 31 minutes) at 375F/180C

          Take the bird out, and with a wooden spoon or skewer in the cavity, roll it over and roast on the other side for the same amount of time.

          Then roll the bird breast side up and finish for 20 minutes or until tests done with a thermometer and the juices run clear.

          A little futzy, but perfect results every time.

          I throw chopped root vegetables tossed in olive oil under the rack -- it keeps the drippings from splattering and smoking, and gives you mouthwatering veggies roasted in chicken drippings. Doesn't leave much drippings for pan gravy, but you might convert ;)

          5 Replies
          1. re: sunshine842

            Sunshine,.....Funny I cooked a big roaster last night doing the same thing, the saving tip is the V rack it makes it much easier to rotate. This bird was 6.5 lbs and came from a local grower that has pasture raised chickens. It was very tasty, stuffed the cavity with fresh rosemary and a cut up lemon, S & P, olive ion and out and out ;the texture of a non-factory raised bird is so much better than its assembly line cousin.

            1. re: sunshine842

              That's me next Sunday.

              Every other post worth a go.


              1. re: Naguere

                You're welcome -- good luck!

                @osprey -- I knoooow. It's one of those things you don't think about until you get a *real* bird...and then there's no going back.

                1. re: sunshine842

                  I have 2 real birds in my yard-I would never cook my cream puffs :D

                  1. re: madeliner

                    I mean a chicken from an identifiable breed (and I don't mean genetic profile Meatmaker 692) raised in a non-factory farm, not fed something made up of 99% artificial vitamins and minerals, and with enough room to actually move without stepping on her neighbors...and maybe even some idea of what sunshine and fresh air might feel like.

            2. Sam F. and I collaborated long distance with many trials and errors, and lots of air in Flor de Cana bottles, to perfect what we ultimately called Lincoln Log chicken. We built a corral out of carrots, measuring and carving out notches with the aid of rulers and calipers to accomodate the vagaries of carrot shapes, taper, and an occasional non-linear outlier. The objective was to build a platform sufficiently sturdy to support a 5 pound roaster, at a height in a shallow- walled pan to allow free movement of hot airflow, that would survive a 5.5 earthquake while cooking. Outside the corral, the pan would include scattered potato wedges, onion quarters, an occasional parsnip, brussels sprouts, elephant garlic heads, and a quartered beet in the corral, catching the chicken fat rain in the last half hour of baking. We doused the whole magnificent mess with OO, rosemary, S&P before it hit the oven. Starts to smell good by the second F de C with lime.

              Sure is purdy coming out of the oven.

              1. There is SUCH a simple solution to this problem, yet people never seem to use it. With either a vertical roaster or a one-piece angel food tube pan, jam the bird onto it NECK side down. Put a metal jar lid or tin foil over the tube's opening so nothing drips through to the oven floor.If you have a two-part tube pan just use the tube set into an oven-safe skillet or a baking pan. The legs are up so they get more heat, and their juices run down to baste the breast. Put chunks of vegetables in the bottom of the pan to flavor the drippings so you can make gravy.

                1. I simply cook the bird breast side down. The fat cooks down and the breast cooks swimming in its own juices. It stays nice and moist, while the legs and thighs get beautifully done, with crispy skin and the most delectable 'oysters' ever.
                  After dinner, I pull the remains apart and boil a stock of the carcass, drippings and skin for a few hours.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: jmcarthur8

                    I assure you that roasting neck down, vertically, gets the back and legs just as evenly brown, with the advantage that, as opposed to roasting breast down, you get crisp skin on the breast too.

                    1. re: greygarious

                      greygarious, though my suggestions had been a response to the OP, not to your comment, I think that your method is one that I may try next time!

                  2. I saw this cooking trick on Americas Test Kitchen -- they placed ice sealed in ziplock bags over the breasts before cooking to bring down the temperature. That way, it lengthens the time for the breast to cook. This was done to a large turkey but should also work for a roaster chicken.

                    I also remember seeing Alton Brown of the Food Network placing a tent/shield of aluminum foil over the breast area of a turkey for part of the time to slow the cooking.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Norm Man

                      tenting slows the drying and browning -- but not the cooking. This subtle difference could be a Very Big Deal if you don't keep that in mind.

                    2. If you have time and patience, I suggest you give this a try.... the total cooking time will be 3 - 3.5 hours. The first 3 hours @ 275*. Then the last 20-30 minutes @ 450 to brown the skin

                      1. Season and truss the bird, in the morning or a day before

                      2. Return to the refrigerator uncovered

                      3. Remove from the refrigerator one hour prior to roasting

                      4. Place the trussed bird in a V-Rack in a shallow roasting pan

                      5. You can rotate the bird if you wish, but I do not...just breast side up. The trussed bird makes it easier to rotate

                      6. If you want to roast potatoes, add them @ 1.5 hours into the shallow pan

                      7. You will get very nice pan juices for gravy with this method....consider that if you desire crispy potatoes, or potatoes in the pan juices.

                      1. I did the v-rack (don't know where it came from but I have one for some reason) turn thing-it came out nice and crispy! thanks all :)

                        Isnt a vertical roaster a jazzed up version of making beer can chicken? maybe the roaster is better especially with a 6 lb bird.

                        re: natural birds my market sells reddington farms anyone know if they are worth the few extra dollars?

                        either way thanks!

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: madeliner

                          It depends upon what they mean by natural. If they're cooped up indoors, fattened up on unhealthy foods but only hormones and antibiotics are withheld, they're a bit better for you, but not actually good.

                          1. re: madeliner

                            however, if they've been raised outside with *real* feed (not a chemical cocktail of hormones and antibiotics) and room to move around -- you betcha they're worth the extra money.