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Roasting a Chicken - am I doing too much?

I love roasted chicken and do this lots. I love how this chicken comes out and don't want to do it in any other way.

First I brine for a couple of hours. Rinse and pat dry.

Then make a spice rub, rub chicken inside and out, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

then slow and low till temp is 165.

The problem is it is never a one day easy thing. Its always a two day ordeal.

Now my daughter wants the recipe, but unlike myself, she works full time with 2 young kids. She wants to start cooking more and making more unprocessed foods for her family and time is everything in her world. The last thing I want to do is for her to say - too much work!

I know the brine can be skipped if you purchase a kosher chicken, but they aren't always easy to find.

Do you have a simplified roasted chicken or shortcuts to make this beautiful dish for a more-or-less beginning cook (not because I din't want to teach her, she just was never interested till now)?

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    1. re: Firegoat

      This is my go-to. When time is less of an issue, dry-brine the chicken the previous night and let it dry out, uncovered, in the fridge. You need a lot of room in the fridge for that to prevent cross-contamination, of course, but if you're concerned you can put the whole chicken and its plate in a paper grocery bag.

      Do you really get a crispy skin cooking low and slow?

      1. re: Firegoat

        This method is extremely simple and it turns out great (I don't truss and don't do the butter-mustard thing either). As a working mom with two little kids I can't seem to get it together to dry brine though I love the Zuni chicken. I also do not like to flip the chicken bc I don't like opening the oven door with little ones around. The TK recipe requires no advance work, no flipping, just salt and chicken. Use the best chicken your budget allows.

        1. re: Westminstress

          I just made another Thomas Keller chicken a few days ago. It was perfection! And so very easy.

          1. re: Westminstress

            When I don't have a brined chicken Zuni style, Thomas Keller is my go to. I love that chicken and it's so simple. I usually serve it with a an equally simple thyme pan sauce - drain fat, throw in peeled whole garlic cloves and fresh thyme, splash of white wine and either water or stock - and it's one of the best dinners I can think of.

      2. It doesn't sound like an "ordeal" at to me. The brining and the overnight in the fridge don't require any effort on your part. Making the brine and putting the chicken in - 5 minutes
        Making the rub, rubbing the chicken, wrapping and putting in fridge, maybe 10 minutes max.
        Cook the chicken.

        Fifteen minutes of hand on time? Sounds super quick.

        9 Replies
        1. re: c oliver

          yeah - it's not like one has to WATCH it brine.

          so she gets home, orders a pizza, brines the chicken, dry rubs before bedtime and comes home the following evening to pop it in the oven. "dinner's going to be a bit late tonight!" or even better schedule it so it starts Friday or Saturday and ends up on the next (or whatever fits her regime)

          1. re: hill food

            Holy moley, hill food, YOU got it :) Of course.

            1. re: c oliver

              aww you're nice, pumpkin, but don't encourage me. really.

            2. re: hill food

              And consider doing two chickens at once on the weekend, so there are leftovers for sandwiches, pot pies (use packaged dough for a shortcut), curries, and other quick dishes during the week.

              1. re: hill food

                While I agree with both you and C Oliver, if she's not an experienced cook she may be put off with what she might think is a complicated recipe. Plus, if she has a hankering for a roast chicken for dinner that evening, she can't do that if she's got to brine.

                1. re: ludmilasdaughter

                  true and a good point - but with kids, I understand planning ahead is always in the cards

                  1. re: hill food

                    What I like about the Zuni bird is that it's a dry brine and can go for one to three (or more?) days.

                2. re: hill food

                  Damn, you mean I don't have to watch my chicken/turkey brine ?!? All those lost years ......

                  1. re: LotusRapper

                    well I prefer to watch paint dry, but it takes all sorts.

              2. Barbara Kafka's method is my go to for easy weeknight dinner that is no fuss/no muss. Once the chicken is on the oven I have time to catch up with my son, throw a load of laundry in etc. Add some roasted potatoes and a veg and dinner is done.

                Preheat oven to 450.

                Pat dry the bird, place on shallow roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet, season well with S&P. Cut a lemon in half, squeeze over the chicken and put halves in the cavity. If you want add clove or two of garlic and some rosemary/thyme/herbs in there too. Put bird in oven, legs first. After 10 minutes push it around with wooden spoon to keep from sticking. It will take about 50 minutes to and hour for a 5-6lb bird.

                If you want a gravy you can make it with the drippings, the juices from the cavity and some stock/wine

                If you google Barbara Kafka roast chicken there are lots of interpretations and none take more than an hour.

                9 Replies
                1. re: foodieX2

                  I love Barbara Kafka's method but it produces a lot of smoke and no usable drippings.

                  If you use her method I suggest that you brine the chicken and cover the bottom of the roasting pan with thinly sliced potatoes.

                  The potatoes prevent the smoke and odor from burning fat and actually taste pretty good.

                  1. re: C. Hamster

                    hmm- never had an issue with smoke, but I use a small roasting pan and start with white wine in the bottom of the pan.

                    1. re: foodieX2

                      Really ?

                      I love the technique but smoke/odor is a huge complaint about it. Believe me... its a huge issue. Google for more.

                      Adding wine might help but works against the technique

                    2. re: C. Hamster

                      Interesting you should be discussing this when we just had another incident of "house-filled-with-smoke-while-roasting-a-chicken."

                      I had checked out from the library "How to Cook Without a Book" and thought the easy roast chicken sounded wonderful. Spatchcocked the bird for the first time in my life, made a paste of rosemary, garlic, lemon zest, and put it under the skin, then placed halved potatoes all AROUND the bird on the baking sheet.

                      Wish I had read your advice to place potatoes UNDER the chicken. I'll either try that next time--or do it out on the grill!

                      1. re: Thanks4Food

                        You might also want to get an oven thermometer to check if your oven is running hot. it might need to be recalibrated. My mother's oven runs 25 degrees hotter than the temp specified on the dial. I think mine is running lower than the temperature specified at the lower settings, like around 250 degrees.

                        You should testing by running the oven at each setting for 15 minutes or more before checking, then change temperature and don't check again for 15 minutes. Any difference of 25 degrees or more and consider getting the oven serviced.

                        That might explain your problem. I shouldn't think potatoes would BURN that badly, in the time it would take to spatchcocked bird, even if they were on the side, instead of underneath. Temp problems might have contributed...

                        1. re: ePressureCooker

                          ePC, it wasn't the potatoes that burned at all (many of them didn't even get brown enough). My husband says it appeared to be the fat in the pan smoking.

                          But you're right about the oven temp: ours usually does run hot and I didn't even think to look at the thermometer!

                        2. re: Thanks4Food

                          Yes it's the fat that's burning.

                          That's what happens with chicken and a 500 degree oven.

                          I love the recipe !!

                          It's posted in a number of different sites and blogs. Check out the comments for other methods to deal with the smoke/odor. Vegetable matter seems like the most common suggestion.

                          I also love the Zuni chicken recipe.

                      2. re: foodieX2

                        "It will take about 50 minutes to and hour for a 5-6lb bird."

                        Surely Foodie that's dangerously too little time for that size of bird? I'd cook a 3 pounder for an hour at 450 (pretty much like Mr. Keller), but I'd give a 5-6 pounder approaching 2 hours at 400 myself.

                        1. re: Robin Joy

                          That's where the thermometer comes in handy :)

                      3. Ina Garten's recipe is my favorite. I use a regular-ole 5-ish-pound chicken from a regular grocery store. I've made it many times over the years, always adding halved red potatoes and leaving out the fennel:


                        1. I wash the chicken (rinse it), season it, and put it in the oven. It turns out every time. I buy cheap fryers and never brine. Sometimes I will throw in some celery, carrots, onion, maybe some citrus into the cavity.
                          I like to put some butter under the skin, but don't always do that.

                          13 Replies
                          1. re: wyogal

                            This is how my mother, who worked full time outside the house when I was growing up, taught me to roast a chicken. It could not be easier and always tastes great. I'm sure that all of the more elaborate preparations that CH'ers recommend are tasty too but if the question is what is an easy, delicious recipe for a person juggling work and raising small chicken, this is the way to go.

                            1. re: masha

                              I have a flock too. They're cute. They run around all over the house going "expensive, expensive".

                              1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                                Oh no! Just saw what I wrote -- was on the IPAD, and am sure that it "finished" the word before I'd type it out. Should have proofed more carefully before I posted.

                            2. re: wyogal

                              I even save a step from your simple prep: no longer wash the chicken. Have read multiple studies that doing so just spreads the chicken-gunk into the air even more. Just dry with towels and proceed to cook.

                              1. re: pine time

                                I open the package in the sink, so the gunk runs down the drain and not on my counter, I have the tap running, I don't vigorously scrub the chicken.

                                1. re: wyogal

                                  Wyogal, we seem to do things the same way. I place the package in the sink, open it there, and then run the water over and inside the chicken. Before doing so, I've already torn off some paper towels, placed just to the side of the sink, so I can grab them to dry the chicken while it's still hovering above the sink surface.

                                2. re: pine time

                                  When I was very young- like under ten- my sister & I made dinner for our parents anniversary. We washed the chicken- with soap. Folks never noticed.

                                  1. re: PandaCat

                                    never noticed or never mentioned? good sports.

                                3. re: wyogal

                                  Me, too. I don't get all the hoopla about brining. I did once. Didn't see the difference. I like to fill the cavity with garlic and salt the bird before popping it in a 350 oven for 1 1/2 hours. Other than that, that's it.

                                  1. re: mtlcowgirl

                                    I do a dry brine for two or three days as part of the Zuni recipe. I won't do a bird any other way now.

                                    1. re: mtlcowgirl

                                      If you didn't see a difference from the brining, you probably didn't use enough salt, or for long enough.

                                      1. re: ePressureCooker

                                        You could be right. My birds turn out just fine without it, though.

                                        1. re: mtlcowgirl

                                          That's true, you can turn out a perfectly fine bird without brining. Aside from seasoning the meat within, however, brining also makes for more tender meat (salt denatures some of the protein strands) and if you wet brine, the extra moisture that is drawn into the meat through osmosis helps keep the meat from drying out if you accidentally overcook it (or parts of it, like the breast meat, which cooks faster than dark meat).

                                  2. Putting it in the frige without the plastic wrap would give you much crispier skin.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: weezieduzzit

                                      As would dry brining it instead of wet brining. I only wet brine pork now.

                                    2. "Kosher" chicken may mean that it has undergone kosher slaughter following that inspection for disease, but may not mean that it has been "kashered"- that is to say has had salt on it it to draw out blood.

                                      A chicken is kashered essentially by dry brining it. This draws out moisture. It doesn't matter though in traditional Polish Jewish kosher cooking though; nothing matters other than the food be cooked enough. This attitude is cultural ,not religious.

                                      Be careful about not brining the chicken. Brining `the chicken brings in fluids by osmosis, which keep the chicken moist. Costco chicken is very moist and tender- brined and injected- but too salty for me to put up with. A waste of a beautiful chicken due to pandering.

                                      1. I love the suggestion to dry brine. You might also suggest cutting the chicken up and browning in the pan for 5 minutes before sticking in the oven to finish. It really only cuts down the cooking time and of course not the salting the night before but sometimes that's important when time is tight! I also think the better quality the chicken, the less you have to do in general. I like to coat chickens in fresh herbs or salt them the night before but when I can get a truly great chicken from the farmers market, I sometimes season it with s and p and maybe rub it with some olive oil and throw it in the oven for a quick roast and I find it moist and delicious with a crisp skin.

                                        1. Yes -- you're overdoing it. Get a fresh chicken, salt it inside & out, let it sit on the counter for an hour (if you have the time), throw it in a hot oven on a rack backbone up, flip after 20 minutes and cook until done. Let rest & eat, It's just a chicken.

                                          1. Slob that I am, I have never brined a chicken in my life (have been cooking 65 years) nor do I dry rub it or anoint it with anything. I wash it under running water, mostly because I don't like those clinging bits of inner organs, which I remove. I put it in a small roasting pan with a cover. I then put it in the oven for what I estimate to be 3/4 of needed cooking time, after which I remove the cover for the rest of the time. This keeps the meat moist and also gives me some nice stuff in the pan I can use for gravy.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. I make sure mine is dry and room temp... rub it with salt pepper oil herbs in and out put it in a cast iorn skillet with some root veggies in the oven at 450 for an hour

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: girloftheworld

                                                this is what i do as well. the CIS works really well.

                                              2. I think with that attitude it IS just a chicken. Go for the Zuni chicken. A little more effort but so worth it.


                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                  +1 to this. I wouldnt even consider it much effort at all. Only effort is washing your hands after touching the chicken for a minute.

                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                    I will add a vote for Zuni. Never disappoints.

                                                  2. I only use kosher chickens, so brining isn't an issue. I dry off the chicken, inside and out. Put a cut up lemon, rosemary and garlic in the cavity. Rub the meat under the skin with a little olive oil and put in sliced lemons. Put some olive oil on the skin, season with salt and pepper and roast at 350

                                                    2 Replies
                                                      1. re: ronojo

                                                        This is basically what I do but I don't use kosher chickens. The end result is always flavorful and delicious. Often I prep the bird before work, refrigerate, and spouse puts in the oven about 2 hours before desired dinner time. Easy.

                                                      2. I don't think the "ordeal" part here is how much work is involved, but rather the delay between first preparing the bird and being able to eat it because of multiple steps.

                                                        It strikes me she might want to do something similar to the Martha Stewart fried chicken recipe on her cooking school show (last season). I know she doesn't want fried food, but bear with me on this. Martha brines the chicken pieces in a buttermilk mixture with powdered mustard, seasonings, and cayenne pepper. (Buttermilk gives the chicken a lovely taste and texture incidentally.) Perhaps you could collapse the brining step together with the seasoning step, and brine the chicken in a seasoned wet brine overnight (therefore you could use less salt) and then pat it dry and roast it the next day?

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: ePressureCooker

                                                          yeah but I don't see how shoving something back into the fridge causes any more stress or worry than just not forgetting it's in there. notes and self e-mails can help. heck I've done that.

                                                          1. re: hill food

                                                            At my age, it's a way of life :) Maybe OP could elaborate as some of us remain confused.

                                                        2. If it is decent chicken to begin with, I just salt, stuff whatever is handy (quartered apple, carrot, onion) in the cavity, baste with butter and wine and whatever herb sounds good, and roast on a rack at 350.

                                                          1. a few years ago i had "wet-brined" turkey at a friend's and swore i would never bother. shortly after that i found the parson's dry-brine method and at the same time learned about spatchcocking. bingo! two utterly simple methods that combine for the perfect bird.

                                                            rub the bird with herbs/spices of choice. leave in fridge at least 24 hours. cut up, bring to room temp and roast. spatchcocking the bird means no dry breast meat and perfect dark meat. it also cooks more quickly than an intact bird.

                                                            this is no more effort than dry-rubbing any cut of meat to marinate overnight. it just takes a little planning. sometimes beginner cooks, especially those with little ones underfoot, need more help with THAT than the actual cooking process.

                                                            this serious eats entry helps too.


                                                            but? being honest? if i was a working mom, unless i got home at 3 or 4, i wouldn't want to be fussing with something that takes over 90 minutes from fridge to table. (room temp rest, roast, cooked rest before carving.) even with a very simple prep, that's a long time before dinner hits the table. this might be a better sunday meal.

                                                            1. I pull off the fat flaps at the cavity, poke them with a fork, them microwave to render out the fat, then add powdered herbs and salt and pepper to the melted fat and rub the herb paste all over the chicken. Then I put it on a roasting rack breast side down, then refridgerate it without cooking for a day. Shove a head of garlic cut in half and a few sprigs of rosemary into the cavity, roast as per usual. As others have said, the prep time is minimal and most of the time is taken up by waiting. If doing the schmaltz rub is too much time, then just butter and salt and pepper, lots inside and out, and roast breast side down.

                                                              19 Replies
                                                              1. re: bumblecat

                                                                What a great idea to do with the schmaltz! Thanks for the inspiration!

                                                                1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                  Chicken fat (schmaltz) does WONDERS for just about everything. As a matter of fact, I'm planning to use some I rendered in the pressure cooker to make chicken fried steak for dinner tonight. It comes out so crispy, so delicious, like no chicken fried steak I've ever eaten before. (How to Read a French Fry says animal based fats make fried foods more crispy, and I've tested it, and boy, he isn't kidding.)

                                                                  Also, Michael Ruhlman is coming out with a cookbook on Schmaltz this fall, if you're interested.

                                                                  1. re: ePressureCooker

                                                                    my grandfather has a schmaltz jar in the fridge it is this ancient white porceline thing that his mom used for the same thing... I will say leftover mashed potatos made into potato pancakes cooked in schmaltz.... ooooooohhhh soooo yummmy

                                                                2. re: bumblecat

                                                                  Actually, I just pull out the fat and, without rendering it, place small pieces all over the top of the bird. Figured if dotting the bird with butter or margarine worked, this would too. And it does.

                                                                  1. re: masha

                                                                    I try to stick it between the skin and the breast meat, mostly with turkeys, though, as the chikens that I buy are pretty sknny. I hardly ever spring for roasters, usually just get the cheap fryers and roast them.
                                                                    Yes. I. do.

                                                                    1. re: wyogal

                                                                      I'm with you. My price point for whole chickens is 99 cents/ lb. When the $2/lb roasters go on sale for BOGO, I'll buy them, but otherwise I just buy sale fryers.

                                                                      1. re: masha

                                                                        I used to think all chickens were alike. They're not. I'm completely happy pay 3x or 4x more than that for a chicken that I'm going to roast for dinner. For sandwiches etc. I'm happy with the 99 centers.

                                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                                          That's true, and when I can get the "natural" birds on sale either through Vons' "Just For You" offers, or more frequently, on sale at Sprouts / Henry's, I stock up. The Sprouts birds taste better and are more tender than most commercial products. However, in some cases, its not a matter of choice, but of financial necessity.

                                                                          1. re: ePressureCooker

                                                                            Totally agree. And I've done several cheap, big bird a la Zuni and loved them.

                                                                            1. re: ePressureCooker

                                                                              Are those birds from Sprouts their own brand? Love that store, but I've never paid much attention to the chicken.

                                                                              1. re: pine time

                                                                                Oh gosh, I'm trying to think, I think they are packaged and labelled under the store brand. They're natural (the organic ones are much more expensive) - which according to my sister IIRC means they aren't fed any growth hormones, antibiotics, etc. It doesn't mean their food is organic, like "organic" chickens. Still, the chicken should be better for you given no hormones or antibiotics, it certainly tastes better, and if you buy it on sale, the increase in price over what you regular chicken at the store isn't too much higher. I never buy it boned and skinned, I wait for the whole chicken thighs to go on sale, that's the best deal.

                                                                                Try it, if its in the budget, I think you'll note a difference. ;D

                                                                                1. re: ePressureCooker

                                                                                  People still don't realize that it is unlawful for any producer to use antibiotics or hormones in their poultry, so not sure why people believe this as a selling point and pay extra for some kind of value that isn't really there.

                                                                                  1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                    Hormones in poultry is illegall; antibiotics are not. That said, because of the way they're used and because of an anti-biotic free period prior to slaughter, most scientists agree that none of the antibiotics are in the meat of a slaughtered chicken.

                                                                                    I think a lot of people pay for it because they're unaware that none of the antibiotics are in the meat they eat; some people because a generalized stance against the overuse of antibiotics for fear of generating superbugs, and at least a few people don't specifically look for antibiotic chickens but the kinds of things they *do* look for (free-range, better feed, etc.) are highly correlated with antibiotic-free feed.

                                                                                    1. re: nokitchen

                                                                                      Not all the antibiotics come out. I'm allergic to LOTS of antibiotics and if I have a regular chicken I end up with all sorts of gastro-intestinal distress from the middle of the night until the middle of the next day. By the time that subsides, I'm so exhausted from lack of sleep (constantly running to the bathroom) that I'm a wreck for the rest of that day. If I get antibiotic-free birds I can eat them, and the drippings/gravy, with no trouble at all. It makes chicken more of a treat, it gets expensive, but so it goes.

                                                                                    2. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                      To be fair, I may be misremembering what my sister said when she was describing the difference between those chickens and the "organic" ones. I'd have to ask her again to be sure. But irrespective of these issues, regarding the price differential, if you buy on sale the price difference isn't THAT much, and from my purely subjective observations, and that of the family, the Sprouts "natural" chickens were more tender and more flavorful. (And brining them improved them even further).

                                                                                    3. re: ePressureCooker

                                                                                      I also buy the Sprouts chicken unless I'm springing for a really good one at the farmer's market. For supermarket chicken it's quite good -- better than the Pilgrim's Pride birds I see all over the place. I bought two whole chickens this morning for $1.69 lb.

                                                                                      They also have good produce.

                                                                                      1. re: JonParker

                                                                                        Yes, if you like produce, definitely check out Sprouts. Their prices beat the supermarkets by miles. During last summer, a head of romaine was $1.99 or $2.49, can't remember which, but it was patently ridiculous for those of us who garden and know how easy it is to grow lettuce. Admittedly, it was summer, so it was obviously grown elsewhere and there are shipping costs, but I just can't and won't spend that kind of money.

                                                                                        Headed over to Sprouts, head of romaine was 99 cents, same as it is in the winter (during season the prices can drop even lower).

                                                                                        I suspect they use their produce as a loss leader the way regular supermarkets use meat, soda, laundry detergent, and they make up the money selling folks vitamins, specialty packaged foods like organic and gluten free products, and the like. (That's a refreshing change from Whole Foods, which some people call "Whole Paycheck")

                                                                                        1. re: ePressureCooker

                                                                                          They also have ridiculously cheap cheese, and a pretty good selection of it. I can't do all my grocery shopping at Sprouts, but I wish I could. They're like this mashup of Whole Foods and Trader Joes with the best features of both.

                                                                                      2. re: ePressureCooker

                                                                                        Thanks, ePC. I'll take a look next week when I'm at Sprout's. I do buy some of their organic meats, but don't think I've tried the chicken. If it ever cools off (I know, I know--it IS summer), I'll roast one and report back.

                                                                        2. This is the general roasted chick recipie we usually follow on a work night. It cooks fast and evenly and comes out with a crispy skin. You can skip the herb mixture under the skin and just rub it with S&P and butter, though it's really good if you have the time. We usually roast it on a rack in a roasting pan with a little water in it to prevent smoking and quite often don't do the sauce just a squeeze of lemon at the table. If you do want to do the sauce, use wine instead of water in the bottom of the pan.

                                                                          Butterflied Roasted Chicken:

                                                                          2teaspoons minced fresh tarragon
                                                                          1medium clove garlic, minced
                                                                          Salt and ground black pepper
                                                                          1 whole chicken (3 pounds), butterflied
                                                                          1teaspoon vegetable oil
                                                                          1cup low-sodium chicken broth
                                                                          1tablespoon Dijon mustard
                                                                          1tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
                                                                          1. Mix tarragon, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in small bowl. Following illustrations 6 and 7, loosen the skin on each leg and thigh; rub the herb mixture under the skin. Loosen the breast skin; rub the remaining herb mixture under the skin. Heat oven to 500 degrees. Transfer chicken to a large oven-proof saute pan, skin side up; rub with oil and lightly season chicken with salt and pepper. Let stand at room temperature while oven heats.
                                                                          2. Roast chicken until skin is nicely browned and instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 170 to 175 degrees, about 30 minutes. Transfer to plate, tent with foil, and allow to rest while making sauce.
                                                                          3. Spoon off all fat from sauté pan. Place pan on burner set at medium-high heat. Add broth and simmer until reduced by half, scraping up drippings that have stuck to bottom, 3 to 4 minutes. Whisk in mustard, then butter.

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: MissBubbles

                                                                            I've been butterflying recently too to speed things up. I flatten the bird in the AM, rub with an herb mixture, and refrigerate uncovered. When I get home, I rub the bird with butter and stick it in the oven at 450. Roast to desired temp, for me about 160. Doesn't take much time at all.

                                                                          2. Now that we buy only air-dried chickens, I see no reason most of the time to do anything but salt and pepper the chicken, put it in a pan with carrots and garlic and roast until done. While chicken rests, put carrots on serving platter and mash garlic (removing skin) in roasting pan, add water/stock/wine and reduce over high heat--add butter at end if you'd like.

                                                                            1. If the spice rub is salty enough, you don't need to brine. I still think an overnight dry brine is the best way to do a chicken. Also, high heat so it roasts for about an hour. Basically, Zuni's recipe, but add your spices so it tastes like moms.

                                                                              (FWIW, I'm also a full time working mom with 2 young kids)

                                                                              (Oh, and I often throw a bunch of fingerling potatoes in the pan about half way through cooking. )

                                                                              1. For the past few years, my wife and I have reduced our recipe to: Dry off with paper towels. Salt and pepper in and out. Tie legs if you feel like it. Put in pan backbone down. On a rack if you feel like it. 450 - 475 degrees until done, about 45 minutes — use a digital thermometer to 160 or so. Know it might smoke some, so do whatever you need to do to turn off your smoke detector for an hour. If you want it to take less time, cut out the backbone and flatten ("spatchcock" it) before putting it in the oven. Let sit for 10 minutes before you carve. The most important things: keep the chicken as dry as possible (e.g., don't cook vegetables in the oven at the same time as they make steam) and use the best chicken you can find.

                                                                                1. This is a wonderful discussion you've started. Roasting chicken should be easy. I've tried several simple approaches and all of them are winners: Marie Risley's, Marcella Hazan's (Chicken with two lemons), Alice Waters', Jamie Oliver's, Mark Bittman's, and the Cook's Illustrated poultry book approach. All are good. I'm not sure I have a favorite except to say I enjoy roasting the bird on a bed of vegetables ("vegetable trivet") for what it does for the gravy.

                                                                                  15 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: Father Kitchen

                                                                                    Father, you just touched on something I believe strongly. Those vegetable made GREAT gravy but are, IMO, not anywhere near suitable for actual eating. Way, WAY overcooked. It's when I really love my immersion blender. BTW, glad to see you more active here.

                                                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                                                      You are so right about the vegetables only good for the gravy.
                                                                                      By the way, I'd be more active if I had time. I get to it in fits and starts when things let up a bit.

                                                                                      1. re: Father Kitchen

                                                                                        I was having the overcooked vegetable discussion on another thread. Some people like them that way. Good for them, just not for me. I'm retired so have too much time. But manage to fill the hours...often times cooking :)

                                                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                                                          Seriously? Who would eat that destroyed vegetable matter ?

                                                                                          1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                                            Now, now. Best not to judge :) I grew up in the South eating overcooked vegetables so I avoid them now. But others seem to love them. Actually the thread I referred to had a quote of "to die for."

                                                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                                                              I understand the southern overboiled green bean thing and I cook collards to death myself but the pile of disintegrated vegetables under the chicken is really not worth eating.

                                                                                              1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                                                You'll get no argument from me, C.

                                                                                                1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                                                  Obviously, i hate overboiled vegetables and I have never made it..but I do love the roasted root vegetables cooked under chicken a lot. It's not as mush as you think..maybe you are not cooking it properly but I do love it. It's not as overcooked as you'think. I roast the chicken for about 50min to 60 min usually at 425...the large chunks of root vegetables don't come out too mush at all. If you are cooking your chicken at 350 for 2 hours, I wouldn't eat those vegetables either.

                                                                                                  1. re: Monica

                                                                                                    After roasting vegetables, I cut them with a knife. If I don't need a knife, then I've overcooked them.

                                                                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                      I do need a knife to cut the vegetables. They hold their shape perfectly and they don't resemble mashed potato at all.
                                                                                                      I really wish you can taste my vegetable. =p
                                                                                                      Do you eat mashed potato?

                                                                                                    2. re: Monica

                                                                                                      Delicious. Mine don't overcook either. Winter veggies are actually ideal for this. In fact, I rarely roast root veggies in the spring/summer. I'd rather top the chicken with a spinach salad then but during the cold weather, bring on the roasted root veggies!

                                                                                                      1. re: Monica

                                                                                                        Agreed about different cooking temps producing different veg results. I use the high temp method, and while the carrots and onions cooked under the bird don't appeal to me, SO thinks they are a treat. They are roasted and probably full of tasty chicken drippings, but still too mushy and fatty for my taste. However, if the chicken is cooked over potatoes, I adore the dripping flavor addition to the potatoes. In my opinion, potatoes just beg for some fat as flavor, whereas something like a roasted carrot just doesn't need the richness of all the added fat.

                                                                                                        Also, a piece of roasted/chicken fatty carrot is one of our dog's favorite treats. ;)

                                                                                          2. I use trader joe's brined organic chicken which really creates some tasty chicken. After trying a few methods, I now strictly use ina Garten's recipe. I use a 12 inch lodge cast iron skillet, put whatever the root vegetables I can find and make a bed for the chicken. I wipe the chicken dry, salt and peppers the chicken and cook the whole thing at 425. So delicious. The root vegetables are really tasty too. I like using small potatoes , carrots , butternut squash, parsnip , inion and garlic.

                                                                                            1. Why not super easy, no mess, using a plastic roasting bag?
                                                                                              I use either a Kosher chicken, or an organic chicken, put a T of flour in the bag, shake, season chicken with Sonny Salt
                                                                                              (from Memphis, but available on internet), close bag with tie,
                                                                                              place on a holding aluminum pan in a large throw away aluminum pan: 350 degree oven for about 90 minutes.

                                                                                              Chicken is crisp and brown, spoon a little of the fatty flavored juice over it, but refrigerate the rest to defat the next day, making wonderful gravy for the second portion of the chicken, just by thickening with Wondra flour.

                                                                                              1. I like crispy chicken skin. I have one of those little vertical racks. I rinse out the chicken. Pat chopped herbs, garlic, spices, salt, pepper, whatever into the cavity. Scatter salt all over it. Put some thick onion slices on the bottom of the pan and stick the bird standing up on the rack into a 450 oven with a little piece of foil like a hat on top. I take off the foil about half way through. I'd say the prep take 10 - 15 mins max which is about the time my oven takes to pre-heat generally. No time wasted. It all works out.

                                                                                                8 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: foxspirit

                                                                                                  Can I ask how long do you cook this for and how do the onions turn out? Sounds delish!!

                                                                                                  1. re: sherrib

                                                                                                    All you guys who put vegetables in the oven with the chicken.
                                                                                                    Everybody else says , don't do this because the moisture in the veg will prevent the chicken skin from becoming crisp.
                                                                                                    What do you think?

                                                                                                    1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                                                                                                      I used to follow Thomas Keller's roast chicken recipe exclusively..which does yield excellent roast chicken with crisp skin...but when I roasted the chicken with dry root vegetables( i make sure the vege is dry without any access water), the skin came out nice and crisp too.

                                                                                                      What bothers me about a lot of recipes is that, it often asks to rest the cooked chicken under foil for about 15 min before carving..makes the skin soggy...so I rest my chicken untented for 10-15 min before I eat.

                                                                                                      1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                                                                                                        Well, if there's a problem with that, there's an easy solution. Put the chicken in a pan, on a rack over the vegetables. That way air can circulate on the bottom of the chicken, if you have a convection oven it can circulate hot air via the fan down there, and because the chicken is slightly elevated, the fat and juices fall down on top of the vegetables, so they get all the flavor, but any moisture isn't in direct contact with the bottom of the chicken.

                                                                                                        I do this whenever I make roasted vegetables or if I want stuffing (I moisten the stuffing quite a bit before I start the cooking process.)

                                                                                                        1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                                                                                                          With my vertical rack I've had no problems. the skin comes out nice and crispy. I think it might be fine so long as the chicken isn't resting directly on the veggies and the veggies aren't overly moist.

                                                                                                        2. re: sherrib

                                                                                                          I'd say about 1 - 1.5 hours depending on the chicken size. People claim to love the onions. I haven't actually tried it myself because I hate onions. I do it to keep the drippings from the chicken from burning into my pan :)

                                                                                                          1. re: foxspirit

                                                                                                            Thank you, foxspirit. Wow, I love onions, especially chicken flavored ones ;)

                                                                                                      2. I learned this from a cranky Chinese cook years ago, and it's the best, most fool-proof and quickest way to do an excellent roast chicken that I'm aware of:

                                                                                                        1: Pre-heat oven to 475 degrees F.

                                                                                                        2: Cut out/remove the back of a 3 - 4 lb. chicken.

                                                                                                        3: Rub bird on all sides with kosher salt, black pepper, etc.

                                                                                                        4: Put a rack ACROSS a roasting pan, so as to be off the bottom of the pan by as many inches as the pan is deep. The idea is to have a lot of air moving around all parts of the chicken.

                                                                                                        5: Open windows and set up fans to blow outside.

                                                                                                        6: Place chicken flat on the rack, skin side up, and roast for about 15 minutes or until its well browned. During this time smoke will billow from the oven and you'll think you're burning your house down. You're not. That's what the fans are for.

                                                                                                        7: Once browned, turn the oven off. Totally off. Threaten injury to anyone who attempts to open the oven in less than 45 minutes.

                                                                                                        8: After 45 - 50 minutes, open oven and remove a perfectly cooked, succulent, golden brown, crispy skinned roast chicken.

                                                                                                        13 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: EarlyBird

                                                                                                          I assume that the oven door is left open for the first 15 minutes.
                                                                                                          Am I right?

                                                                                                          1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                                                                                                            No, Vinnie. The door is kept closed at all times.

                                                                                                            1. re: EarlyBird

                                                                                                              Why are you getting so much smoke as to require open windows and extractor fans?

                                                                                                              I am afraid to assume, after the last time. You take out the back of the bird. Are you putting it in the oven butterflied?
                                                                                                              If not, why take out the back?

                                                                                                              1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                                                                                                                The very high heat + the fat dripping into the bottom of the pan = smoke; lots of smoke unless you add something to the pan to reduce it. Adding water would be bad. You don't want to add moisture when you're trying to brown. But the previous poster mentioned putting salt in the bottom of the pan, to catch the drippings and reduce the smoke.

                                                                                                                Yes, you take the back out of the bird and butterfly it, to allow it to lay flat and get a lot of hot air all around the chicken.

                                                                                                                1. re: EarlyBird

                                                                                                                  Thank you for the explanation. Good thing that you are not teaching sex education.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                                                                                                                    Yes, my roast chicken method is a lot like sex: keep the door closed, but open all the windows and run fans. :)

                                                                                                          2. re: EarlyBird

                                                                                                            Simple solution - at least 1/4 inch of table salt covering the bottom of the pan. There will be no smoke. No usable drippings but you probably aren't getting them with your current method either.

                                                                                                            1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                              Good idea. Correct, no drippings are gained by my method.

                                                                                                              1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                Or with thinly sliced potatoes.

                                                                                                                I do that when I roast a chicken at 500 ala Barbara Kafka.

                                                                                                                1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                                                                  I do the sliced potatoes, too. Even if they absorb most of the juices, they taste wonderful.

                                                                                                                  1. re: KailuaGirl

                                                                                                                    This subject must be like Miracle Whip vs. mayo. Either you like fat-soaked, mushy vegetables or you don't. No right or wrong, just different preferences.

                                                                                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                      Mine always come out cooked but crispy on the bottom, sort of like hash browns but only brown on one side. I like the mixed textures, but only if cooked at high heat for a minimal amount of time. I also slice my potatoes fairly thick so they don't fall apart completely. If I'm doing a regular chicken (or turkey), at a regular temp., I don't add potatoes because I want to use all those lovely drippings for gravy, to go with the mashed potatoes I made in the traditional style.

                                                                                                            2. I used to do my chickens in a similar way but have gravitated towards a simple olive oil, salt and pepper seasoning and then consistent basting while roasting and it makes a great bird. I also stuff the cavity with a whole head of garlic and lemon and that helps too.


                                                                                                              1. The first roast chicken I ever made had an herb-butter just put under and on top of the skin and the cavity filled with an onion, lemon, and whatever fresh herbs went into the butter. Simple and delicious.

                                                                                                                1. Since multi-step/ingredient preparations are not up the OP's daughter's alley at present, 2 suggestions:

                                                                                                                  - from Sara Moulton, S&P inside/outside 4.5# chicken, 45 minutes at 450F.

                                                                                                                  - from the Frugal Gourmet, baste an otherwise-unseasoned
                                                                                                                  roasting chicken periodically with a mixture of equal parts honey, soy sauce, and toasted sesame oil. This yields a gorgeously crisp and tasty mahogany skin but you have to keep the heat below 375 to prevent scorching.

                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                  1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                    Molly Ringwald's roast chicken that I found here on Chow.com is very similar to Sara Moulton's.

                                                                                                                  2. I am on a low salt diet-
                                                                                                                    how much of the salt gets absorbed?

                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: jpr54_1

                                                                                                                      Personally, I believe that salt is an overrated ingredient unless you are making popcorn, pretzels, dill pickles, salt water taffy and the like. We use very little salt. Often the binding of flavours and roundness can be achieved other ways or the dish can be made to bright. As for the "salt on the pretzel" effect, use something else.

                                                                                                                      I think that far more dishes are spoiled by oversalting then under salting. How much salt is right is cultural. English working class and Russians often salt to the point that the dish is unpalatable to me.

                                                                                                                      So skip the salt.

                                                                                                                      However, salt is added to the marinade for the chicken in order to facilitate osmosis- to make the chicken moist. There is a n answer to this as well. I don't like sodden chicken. Perhaps learn to like chicken less cooked. The Japanese do, and a lot less, but you and I might faint. It doesn't have to go that far.

                                                                                                                      You can solve some of the leg- breast differential cooking time problem by spatchcocking the bird, thereby reducing cooking time, dryness and need for brine marinade.

                                                                                                                      Another campaign is to prohibit the typical (green) Granny Smith just as underage sex is prohibited.
                                                                                                                      GS is a sweet apple. It needs to mature on the tree and become yellowish. However it suits the business interests of The Big Bad Food Machine to give it to us immature.

                                                                                                                    2. Thanks to this thread and the link to the Serious Eats article posted, I spatchcocked my first chicken last night! I followed Kenji's (from Serious Eats) for the chicken and it turned out beautifully.

                                                                                                                      I think the thing to remember is that so many of us are used to overcooked chicken that when we see a moist and properly prepared one our eyes say, 'eeeh! It's not done yet! It's too wet! It's still pinkish!' I know that last night I struggled with that myself because the temperatures were correct on the bird (150 breast and 170 thigh) when I took it out of the oven and I let it rest for 10 minutes. It was DONE but it just didn't LOOK done because I'm used to very white and very dry chicken. :)

                                                                                                                      My boyfriends Mom will cook a Costco rotisserie chicken for an additional half hour after she gets it home because it is moist and she thinks it's never cooked enough. Yikes.

                                                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: eperdu

                                                                                                                        Costco chicken, oy, at least in Toronto.
                                                                                                                        Not only is it marinated, it is also injected.
                                                                                                                        And so much salt in the fluid.
                                                                                                                        It comes out as if boiled.
                                                                                                                        Tis a pity because they use good chicken and it reasonably priced.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                                                                                                                          Of all the rotisserie chickens, Costco is my favorite. It is heavily injected and flavored but it is good (to us). It's a great grab-n-go meal for us because I can just run into Costco and grab it and head home. It's cheaper than buying a whole chicken and baking it myself as well. But yeah .. super injected and wet. :)

                                                                                                                          1. re: eperdu

                                                                                                                            At Costco Toronto. there have been at least two prior methods in my experience. The first way was less treated and good. It was a great cheap meal. It went the way of all flesh.

                                                                                                                            You can't just run in and grab it etc. Even if you like the bird, the long check out line goes against the idea of quick and convenient.

                                                                                                                            1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                                                                                                                              I suppose it depends where you live. I can leave my house, drive to Costco, park, get in, grab a chicken and check out in 20 minutes. :)

                                                                                                                              1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                                                                                                                                I don't know how things are layed out in Canada, but in the US stores, but here in the US, the way to get around the long lines (other than shopping at the right times) is to get in the cigarette line and buy some butane lighters, and you get served a lot quicker (and yes, we actually use the lighters, so there's no waste)

                                                                                                                        2. I would give the recipe to your daughter "as is.". You sound like an excellent cook, you raised her to be an excellent cook, she has asked for YOUR recipe! Don't short change her. '-)

                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                          1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                            yeah really, let her start a CH account and post "My Mom Gave Me Her Roast Chicken Recipe - now who can point out shortcuts for me?"

                                                                                                                          2. Speaking of roasted chicken ... has anybody tried this:


                                                                                                                            17 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: eperdu

                                                                                                                              The milk, oy.
                                                                                                                              What does the milk do that water or stock doesn't?
                                                                                                                              Can it be replaced with some other fluid? Gin? No kidding.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                                                                                                                                Milk is a well known tenderizer. Buttermilk is even better.

                                                                                                                                1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                                                  For approximately 3,200 years this way of tenderizing meat has been forbidden to my people. They have made meat tender by boiling or braising it (in a lot of water) for forever.
                                                                                                                                  I suppose Rice Dream or the like won't work. Even if it would it would cause a presentation problem.

                                                                                                                                  The milk would bland out the chicken, no?

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                                                                                                                                    I don't know about milk per se, but buttermilk is FANTASTIC with chicken. I use it instead of egg with fried chicken and it really enhances the flavor...

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                                                                                                                                      Vinnie - I understand the rule about cow's milk with beef, but it extends to chicken as well? (please forgive me, I'm still trying to puzzle out just the basics)

                                                                                                                                      ehh if I were to even try I'd have to just go vegetarian.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                        Not just cow's milk but all milk except milk of magnesia. Milk from non-kosher animals, eg camels is out for the threshold reason.- Not kosher, period. The milk of human kindness is intrinsic in the Judeo-Christian tradition and is definitely kosher.

                                                                                                                                        Oh yes, chicken is meat except in say Argentina to non -Jews where "carne" means beef exclusively.

                                                                                                                                        Going veg is very OK and very chowish if you live in a place where the fruit, veges and fish are good and the local cooking emphaiszes these ingredients and grains and pulses.

                                                                                                                                        I am very happy to further your carnal knowledge.

                                                                                                                                  2. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                                                                                                                                    Milk has lactic acid which is a tenderizer as Dirtywextraolives indicates. I don't believe anything other than milk would function the same as this does.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: eperdu

                                                                                                                                      I am not certain that the milk is there for tenderizing. Since the chicken is seared before the milk part, the lactic acid may have little or no opportunity to tenderize the meat. This is NOT the same as soaking chicken in buttermilk overnight before frying it. Much is made in the Oliver recipe of the tasty sauce formed by the milk curds, lemon, and fatty juices.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                                        I remember a fairly recent NYT article that claims that marinating meat doesn't do much of anything, except to make the top layer mushy if you leave the meat in too long.

                                                                                                                                        When I make rotisserie chicken I divide the marinade solution. I marinade the bird in one part because I am supposed to. But the real benefit from the marinade solution comes from my basting the bird with the reserved part right at the end and from serving the remainder (from the reserved part) as a sauce.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                                                                                                                                          Shirley Corriher on marinating : "Marinades Add Flavor but Don't Always Tenderize"


                                                                                                                                            1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                                                                                              C. Hamster. Thank you for a very good reference.

                                                                                                                                              This is the NYT marinade article to which I had referred.


                                                                                                                                              1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                                                                                                C, I think this could be a thread all on its own. Why not start one? I think there's SO much wrong thought on this subject.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: c oliver


                                                                                                                                                    I just started a marinating thread! :-)

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                                                                                                      I saw that. I see a firestorm brewing :)

                                                                                                                                        2. Eh, that's a lot of pre-planning for a chicken. I'm lucky if I remember to defrost the one I have.

                                                                                                                                          Funny enough, I made one yesterday following some ideas here. 325*F uncovered until done. For my whooping 7# it took 4 hours, but hey it was a Sunday so I had the time. I did cook until 175*F because my man is very squeamish on under cooked chicken.

                                                                                                                                          I placed the chicken over diced redskin potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, carrots, & celery with everything seasoned with olive oil, salt & pepper, garlic, onion powder, paprika, oregano, and parsley. Very, very juicy and while the skin was not too crispy, was delicious.

                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                          1. re: Crockett67

                                                                                                                                            You're the first one here to suggest roasting at such a low temperature. A while ago I read that the healthiest way to roast chicken was at 250*F. I tried it, but the skin was soft and mushy. Then I ramped it up to 325*F, and that's what I've been using ever since. I always buy air-chilled chickens, and at 325 the skin is crispy, but not super-crispy. A satisfying compromise between healthy and tasty. I find that it takes about 20 minutes per pound to cook. Yummy!

                                                                                                                                          2. I love roasted chicken too... but not time-consuming prep work! Zuni chicken was amazing, but too much work for me to want to repeat. I just put the chicken in a roasting dish, add generous seasonings, and put it into the oven at 400F for an hour to 90 minutes depending on size with a little oil and/or broth in the pan. It comes out with a crispy top and a moist delicous underside.

                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                            1. re: Kajikit

                                                                                                                                              Now isn't that funny :) I make the Zuni chicken because it tastes great but I love the side benefit of it being so little work.

                                                                                                                                            2. I roasted a chicken last night. DH said it's the best one I've ever done (and I've done lots). I don't brine. Never have. I rinse, set on a dish towel, wash hands, blot dry with paper towels. S&P the cavity. I do make a fresh rosemary butter that goes both on the skin and under the skin. In the cavity was fresh sprigs rosemary, quartered lemons and a quartered orange. This all sits on a bed of new yukon gold potatoes and baby carrots. This was the first time I used oranges and I will never leave them out again! Nice crispy skin and fabulous gravy. The potatoes and veggies were roasted to perfection. But I must say, it sure was easy.

                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                              1. re: boyzoma

                                                                                                                                                Try baking whole salmon and the like on a bed of (herbed) potatoes. Yukon Gold os good because it has good potato character to stand up to everything else. Yum.
                                                                                                                                                Learned this from an excellent Moroccan cook.

                                                                                                                                                I think that a Seville would be great , but short season.

                                                                                                                                              2. I am trying to learn the art of the perfect roasted chicken. I'm young so maybe it just takes experience, but the first time I tried a brine the meat came out stringy, I didn't care for it at all. The next time the meat came out pretty juicy, but the skin was rubbery because I was afraif to uncover the chicken for fear of it being dry. Does anyone have any tips?

                                                                                                                                                7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: urfuturewifey

                                                                                                                                                    Roast chicken is super simple, no mess, no fuss. Zuni chicken or Thomas Keller's chicken. Perfect every time. Did you do a liquid brine? It can make meat stringy and spongy as you comment. My only tips are 1) Zuni chicken and 2) Thomas Keller. They are basically the same roasting method except the Zuni involves a dry brine.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                      yes, I used liquid, so that may have been the problem :/ thanks so much for the tips

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: urfuturewifey

                                                                                                                                                      Well, if you don't uncover the chicken, you're probably going to have a steamed skin instead of a crisp one.

                                                                                                                                                      If you're worried about the meat being juicy, well, go ahead and brine it again, and for at least 24 hours in salted water, because the salt diffuses into the meat very, very slowly, but (1) make sure you don't overcook it - meat thermometers are your friend: stop 5 or 10 degrees short of your target temperature and the chicken during resting will rise up the remainder even while resting outside the oven; (2) Ruhlman apparently stuffs some cut lemons inside the bird cavity to keep the breast meat from overcooking from the interior, and I've used a raw, uncooked potato in the cavity to do the same thing; and (3) if want to keep the moisture out of the skin, but want to wet brine the meat, or if you don't have time to marinade the meat for a full 24 hours (or more) Modernist Cuisine at Home has a really clever idea: get a marinade injector and inject the salt solution directly into the middle of the breast meat and the thighs (without piercing the skin) - that cuts down on the time for the salt to migrate into the meat, and keeps the skin from getting wet.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: urfuturewifey

                                                                                                                                                          "(1) make sure you don't overcook it - meat thermometers are your friend: stop 5 or 10 degrees short of your target temperature and the chicken during resting will rise up the remainder even while resting outside the oven."

                                                                                                                                                          A couple of people have mentioned this but it's worth emphasizing again. Americans massively overcook their chickens and that's why so many people don't like it as much as they would if it were cooked properly. It gets dry and stringy, just as you've described.

                                                                                                                                                          The whole thought behind very high heat for roasting is to cook the outside of the chicken (the skin) quickly and well without the insides getting too hot.

                                                                                                                                                          Chickens have a ton of water in them. You want to get rid of that on the outside, which is why you don't cover it and why you pat it down with paper towels and why you dry-brine it and why you cook at a high temperature. The water inside will take care of itself as long as you don't leave it too long.

                                                                                                                                                    3. This is in response to urfuturewifey

                                                                                                                                                      Dry brine it. Sprinkle entire bird with a upkeep of tablespoons of kosher salt. Has to be kosher, don't use table salt. Place on a rack, over a sheet pan, uncovered in the fridge for at least a day, preferably two or three.

                                                                                                                                                      Season as you like to roast. It will roast a bit quicker, and the skin with be browned and crispy, meat juicy, as long as you don't overcook it. If you have convection in your oven, you can use that and it will roast even faster.

                                                                                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                                                                        Kosher or sea salt, yes. regular old table has that bitter metallic edge.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                                          Not just that, as many many people use table salt exclusively and do not even know the difference or have never used kosher....but table salt's crystals are much smaller than koshers, thereby making it easier to overdo how much you're sprinkling on, then your bird will absorb much more salt and in turn taste over salted. I've been doing the dry brine method for more than ten years, and only had one bird come out tasting too salty. It's almost foolproof if you use kosher.

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                                                                          thank you so much everyone for you help, so do i need to rinse the bird once i've brined it?

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: urfuturewifey

                                                                                                                                                            Nope, dry brine (3/4 tsp per lb) and roast away.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: urfuturewifey

                                                                                                                                                              No, most of the salt will be absorbed and will season your chicken well. Plus it dries put the skin and makes it brown and crispy!

                                                                                                                                                          2. To the OP sounds like you have a wonderful method - keep it and teach it to your daughter - She should cherish "Mom's Way" of making chicken - then you can show short cuts - you can make art out of roasting chicken (brining, rubbing, trussing, stuffing etc)- and it is a wonderful thing and rewarding but you can also just go ahead and roast a chicken and get a pretty good meal out of it
                                                                                                                                                            Often I make a pretty basic chicken
                                                                                                                                                            Place a rack of onions 9 (or root veg) in the bottom of grandma's CI DO
                                                                                                                                                            take defrosted chicken from package
                                                                                                                                                            clean with lemon
                                                                                                                                                            rub with olive oil
                                                                                                                                                            sprinkle with salt, pepper, paprika
                                                                                                                                                            place on "rack"
                                                                                                                                                            pour bottle of beer or glass of wine (stock or whatever) in the bottom of the do (fill to top of "rack"
                                                                                                                                                            roast covered in preheated medium oven til done
                                                                                                                                                            remove cover towards end to brown skin
                                                                                                                                                            throw that on a platter with some potatoes, a veg and a salad and you have a pretty good dinner without much fuss

                                                                                                                                                            I would teach DD the "right way" first then the alternatives.

                                                                                                                                                            1. This recipe produced the best roast chicken I've ever made. Stupid easy and crazy good.


                                                                                                                                                              1. I have not yet read this thread, but I have a technique that is simple. I buy chickens sold in pairs at Costco. Then I cut out the backbones with kitchen shears. I then flatten the chickens, season both sides with salt and pepper, and place them on a half-sheet pan and roast at 375° for about an hour. I use an instant read thermometer, but a shake of the leg will tell if the chicken is done.

                                                                                                                                                                I also cut off the wingtips and save them with the back bones for stock.

                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                  I spatchcocked a duck for the first time a few weeks ago, was amazed how (relatively) easy it was to cut out the backbone (also saved for stock)