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How do YOU roast a chicken?

We are having roast chicken tonight and I'm wondering how other Chowhounds roast theirs. It has been a long time since I've done one in my oven. I usually do them on my grill rotisserie but it is too cold here for that.

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      1. Cut in half, brine for about 30 minutes, pat dry and cover lightly with a rub like curry or five spice. Baste with lemon or lime while it roasts. In a separate roasting pan cook fennel, onions, potatoes.

        Save bones and neck for soup, skin and gizzards for dog.

        1. Chop up a bunch of french bread, toss with melted butter, lemon juice, and fresh herbs. Add some minced garlic and shallots, season to taste, and stuff the mixture into the cavity. Truss.

          Rub minced fresh herbs under the skin, pat skin dry, then brush with melted butter and add some salt and pepper. Add to roasting pan with whatever veggies are in season.

          I like to start at 425 for 20 minutes to get a good crispy skin, then bring back down to 350 and cook until it's done. Serve with the vegetables and stuffing, and possibly a side salad.

          1 Reply
          1. re: caseyjo

            I do mine pretty much like caseyjo, but the day before, I wash the bird well, thoroughly pat dry, inside and out, salt, and leave it nekkid in the fridge overnight to dry out, then proceed with stuffing (optional, but must toss the aromatics in somewhere, so why not stuffing?), then the high heat, low heat.

          2. Pat dry and rub with melted butter. Sprinkle generously with sea salt and place on vertical roaster with vermouth, sage and chopped garlic in the infuser. Roast at 425 until done - usually around 1 hour for a 3 1/2 lb bird.

            8 Replies
            1. re: CDouglas

              Ditto on the vertical roaster. If you dont own one, do the beer can method so you have the uprigt stability. I have yet to have a vertically roasted chicken turn out poorly. I don't have a standard way of spicing.

              1. re: CanadaGirl

                Hate to sound so dumb, but with the "beer can method," is the can full or can hubby drink the beer and I get the empty can for the chicken?

                1. re: pine time

                  You need the can at least 1/2 full so it will hold up the chicken. But, you could give hubby the beer and refill the can partially with water or broth, which you could then use to make a gravy. The beer doesn't really do much, it's the vertical idea that really matters.

                  1. re: CanadaGirl

                    Thanks. I once heard someone say that the beer "vaporizes" and flavors the chicken, which is the last thing I'd want, given that I can't stand beer.

                    1. re: pine time

                      Any liquid in the can will steam and keep the meat moist while providing flavor. Wine, juice, beer, broth, whatever you like. My only suggestion is to plug the neck hole with a small wad of tin foil to keep the steam IN the bird. Makes a big difference.

                2. re: CanadaGirl

                  I don't like the idea of a painted can being in contact with my food while cooking. Maybe it is nothing but I still don't like it. People will reply things like the temp is not hot enough for a prolonged period of time or there are no studies indicating potential harm blah blah blah. Doesn't feel right.

                  Anyway I do have a vertical roaster that I use on the BBQ. Love it.

                3. re: CDouglas

                  I use a vertical roaster for chickens and smaller ones for game hens. I rub with olive oil before the sea salt. Sometimes I brine with Asian spices or put five-spice on the skin.

                  1. re: CDouglas

                    Vertical roasters are cheap and effective in getting the chicken skin to turn golden and crisp all around. I make a "paste" of butter, kosher salt, ground pepper, and herbes de Provence and rub it all over the chicken and under the skin in the breasts and thighs. I bake it for 50 min on a 325 degree oven, then pour some water on the sheet pan and bake for another 20 min on 500 degrees. It comes out perfect every time.

                  2. Time and temperature depends on the size of the bird for me...

                    Fryers: 450 for the first 15 minutes, then drop down to 375

                    Roasters: 450 for the first 15 minutes, then drop down to 325.

                    * High heat at the end if need to further crisp the skin if necessary or desired.

                    1. Thomas Keller's "My favorite Simple Roast Chicken" is my number one method, but I drop the temp a bit to eliminate smoking and just cook it a bit longer. I do not use the suggested butter or mustard slather at table, but still enjoy it. If I don't do Keller's recipe, I either do a beer can chicken on the grill, or roast the bird with a head of unpeeled garlic cloves strewn around the pan, rubbing the chicken with a couple tablespoons olive oil, sprinkle with the juice of one lemon and seasoned with s&P. for the latter, I also add 1/2 cup water to the roasting pan then baste every 15 minutes, cooking for 1.5 to 2.5 hours, depending on the size of the bird. The garlic is great squeezed out of the skin and spread on the chicken, or on a nice crusty baguette slice.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: janniecooks

                        mine too, JC, although i've never had it smoke ....


                        i have done it with the butter and mustard before, but it's so tasty by itself i usually don't.

                        1. re: mariacarmen

                          I have one smoke alarm that seems extraordinarily sensitive so I've been fearful of cooking at 450. It was from reading other posts on this board that made me want to reduce the temp a bit, but maybe I'm confusing the TK method with the Zuni method? If you've never had it smoke at 450, then I think I'll be brave and try it at full temp this weekend.

                          1. re: janniecooks

                            jannie: "I have one smoke alarm that seems extraordinarily sensitive"

                            Put a plastic bag from the store over the smoke alarm.

                            1. re: Jay F

                              Thanks - I'll try it this weekend!

                          2. re: mariacarmen

                            Mariacarmen, based on your experience with cooking at 450 I made this again this weekend; my chicken didn't smoke either! So thanks for commenting. However, having done this chicken at 450 and at 375, I have to say I prefer the chicken cooked at the lower temperature. I thought the higher-temp bird was less moist and less chickeny, so I'll be sticking with the method, but at 375.

                            1. re: janniecooks

                              There's a rule, or guideline to roast a 4.5 pound chicken @ 450* for 45 minutes.....like all recipes and people who swear by it, it's the best way to roast a chicken....and I have no doubts the people recommending believe so......however, I more in line with you and I prefer to roast at the 375* temperature and for up to 90 minutes...or even longer until its done.

                        2. I cut out the spine (feed it to the dogs!) with a pair of kitchen shears and flatten out the bird on a half sized sheet pan. Then I simply rub with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast at 450 until done.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: LaureltQ

                            Cut the backbone out also, wash and dry well, put a lot of kosher salt on the birds skin and let it sit uncovered over night in the fridge. I put some old potatoes/onions/celery (cut up) under the bird and roast @ 475-500 for an hour(depends on the size).

                            If you re looking for moist meat and crispy skin, this is for you.

                            1. re: LaureltQ

                              I also do something similar... butterfly the chicken by cutting out the backbone (But save it for stock later!), taking out the breast bone so it is easily flat and easy to slice post-roasting, and lay it in a roasting pan over some vegetables like potatoes. I put it under the broiler (a good 10 inches away) and when it is browned on one side, I flip it over until it is browned on the other side.

                              Chicken and veggies are ready!

                            2. how do I really do it? go purchase rotiss chicken, bring home, put on plate, eat.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: laliz

                                haha. This was totally what I was thinking of writing. Although, I'd love to cook one with the veggies like my parents did but, perfect on that method. Really liking balwinwood's way above.

                              2. I make Marcella Hazan's super-simple roast chicken with lemons:


                                1. Oven at 450 for about an hour. (the Thomas Keller way)

                                  1. I follow James Beard in Beard on Birds (1989 edition).

                                    1. The Thomas Keller method already cited. Then I make a mustard-cream pan sauce. Delish!

                                      1. The plain-and-simple roast chicken described above is my stand-by (I usually stick a lemon & sometimes herbs in the cavity, occasionally slather the bird with butter or oil & garlic/herbs under the skin before putting it in to cook). I like to roast lots of veggies in the same pan with the chicken, since IMO most veggies improve with a good caramelizing roast. (It even makes cauliflower & brussels sprouts good!). Make a pan sauce at the end with a little wine - yum.

                                        When I'm in a mood for something a little more elaborate, I like Jamie Oliver's Chicken in Milk: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ja... -- it's easy, uses ingredients I usually have on hand, and creates a magnificent gravy as it cooks.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: benbenberi

                                          May give Jamie's method a try, thanks. Surprised by the cinnamon, however--can you really taste it (Mr. P. is not a cinnamon fan. Altho' he calls it 'cinnamom." After 35 years, I've given up gently correcting him.)

                                          1. re: pine time

                                            The cinnamon's not strong, but it's definitely a contributing flavor in the dish. (It plays surprisingly well with the sage and lemon.) You probably shouldn't leave it out together, but you could certainly use a smaller piece than the recipe calls for.

                                        2. Plain chicken, patted dry, impaled on my ceramic vertical roaster pan, in a convection oven. It needs nothing and turns out the juiciest chicken I've ever had, and skin so crispy!

                                          1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Open windows and get fans going.

                                            Cut the back out of bird and freeze back and neck side for use in stock.

                                            Pat dry the bird well, rub liberal amounts of Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper onto skin and underside.

                                            Place chicken breast side up on a flat rack place well above the bottom of the roasting pan so that heat surrounds the bird while cooking (I actually place the rack across the top of the roasting pan). Roast for 15 - 20 minutes at this high heat or until skin is cripsy, golden brown.

                                            Flip over and roast for another 15 minutes, then turn the oven off and DO NOT OPEN OVEN FOR ANOTHER 60 MINUTES. As the oven cools the bird will continue to cook.

                                            A cranky Chinese guy showed me this technique and I've been doing it for years and it has never EVER came out anything but ultra crisp, perfectly juicy and perfectly cooked.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: EarlyBird

                                              I wanna try this. I'm unclear: is the bird breast down for the hour, heat-off period?

                                              1. re: Spot

                                                Hi Spot,

                                                Yes, the chicken is breast side down for the last 15 minutes of roasting and during the heat-off period. Theoretically anyway, the juices of the bird will run down into the breast to keep it moister, but that effect may be negligible.

                                            2. Seasoned, breast side down on a bed of veggies in my cast iron dutch oven with the lid on at high heat and a splash of white wine in the bottom. Its insanely juicy. (I'm not a skin eater so I don't care that the breast side doesn't have crispy skin. If presentation is important I flip it when almost done so it is.)

                                              1. Chicken breast side down, start at 450', bake 15 min, then set temp to 350' for a couple hours. Then I let it sit in the oven, turned off, for about a half hour. The dark meat falls off the bone, and the breast is juicy and tender.
                                                I don't put a thing on it because I absolutely adore the taste of unadulterated crispy chicken skin.

                                                1. Insert onion, a halved apple, a stalk of celery...whatever is around...baste with Sherry and melted butter, roast at 350 until done.

                                                  1. We usually smoke them on the Big Green Egg, but today I did one in the crock pot because it was easy. It came out great, almost like chicken confit LOL since it poached in it's own fat.

                                                    1. Rub with butter mixed with salt, pepper, and herbs; work some under the skin on breast and leg, along with a sprig of herb and/or a sliver of garlic. Occ put half lemon in cavity. Set on cut-up chunks of onions and/or other veg (celery, carrots, tart green apple) in oiled 2-qt gratin. Cover breast with foil shield. 325F until done, removing breast shield after 45 minutes.

                                                      1. Rub with melted truffle margarine and thyme, stuff the cavity with pearl onions, mushrooms, and garlic, truss, salt and pepper, start it high - 450 - for 15 minutes, then 350 'til it's done.

                                                        1. I start off with high heat, and rub the bird with a mixture of butter, herbs and garlic before going in. Halfway though I flip it so it's thigh side up and hit the convection to crisp the bottom parts and make sure it's cooked through. I end up with a crisp skin and moist meat. This was all by accident, btw, but it works great.

                                                          1. My wife roasts a chicken by buying one already roasted at the supermarket.

                                                            1. We go the Nigella route. Rinse, pat dry, sprinkle with salt/pepper in the cavity. Cut a lemon or two in half, as well as a head of garlic. Shove those on in as well, truss, rub with butter/olive oil, sprinkle the outside with salt/pepper/whatever herbs we have on hand then place it in the roasting pan and cook her up. Sometimes I use a cheesecloth with melted butter and white wine, lay that over the breast and braise a few times before removing the cloth the last bit to let the breast golden up. I love roast chicken - great meal and great leftovers with so many different options! I sometimes roast 1 or 2 on the weekend.

                                                              1. Coat with olive oil, salt, pepper, dried herbs - lay directly in a pre-heated cast iron skillet - into the oven at 450 for 15 minutes, final 45 minutes or so at 375.

                                                                1. Basically Zuni method. Salt 24 hours in advance, tuck some herbs under the skin, roast in a 450 degree oven in a preheated cast iron skillet for about an hour. I've stopped all the flipping nonsense, and I've taken to tucking some fingerling potatoes under the bird for the last 1/2 hour of roasting.

                                                                  If I can't presalt, a lot of buttter can compensate, but it's not as good.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: Savour

                                                                    The pre-salting is my favorite method. I shoot for 2-3 days if I'm organized, and I don't use a cast iron skillet, but keep the temp high. I line a roasting pan with tin foil, then a layer of parchment so it flips without breaking the skin. I just ate some for lunch today....the best.

                                                                  2. What ever you do don't cut the chicken in half. Brine it preferably overnight in a cup of Kosher salt and a cup of brown sugar. Obviously the brine was dissolved first then added to enough cold water to cover the chicken/turkey/whatever. Remove from brine thoroughly pat dry inside and outside. Rub surface with Kosher salt an fresh ground pepper. Place a few lemon halves and a sprig of thyme and or rosemary in the cavity. Truss the bird. Place in a roasting pan on top of a upside down tin foil tray with high enough sides to keep the bird off the bottom of the pan. Don't add any liquid. Put in 200 F oven WITHOUT a lid/tin foil. After an hour check internal temp. Check again in half an hour. I cook birds to a slightly lower temp. than some other cooks do so I'll leave you to decide that issue for yourself. When the bird has reached the internal temp. you are happy with remove and tent for up to an hour depending again on the size of the bird. If the surface of the bird isn't as 'golden brown' as you'd like just before serving crank up the oven as high as it will go, give it time to get REALLY hot! Put the bird which has been left in the roasting pan in the oven. Turn the oven light on and carefully watch in awe as the skin turns golden brown in a couple of minutes. Remove and carve. The couple of minutes the bird is in the high heat will only effect the color of the skin not the meat 'doneness'. Make sure to save all the bones and giblets for stock making the next day. BTW the WORST thing you could feed your dog is a chicken/turkey neck or any other chicken bone...unless you want to pay for a vet to remove a tiny bone splinter stuck in Rover's throat.