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Jun 4, 2014 09:47 AM

Is there any good way to slow-roast a chicken (over 4 hours)?

Hi all,
I have a meal-planning dilemma. I have agreed to cook for around 8 people tomorrow night. I had planned to do a roast chicken (as that's easy to buy locally), but then have been called in to an urgent meeting from 3pm-6pm (I'll be out of the house from 2:30pm-6:30pm).

As dinner needs to be ready by 7:30pm, a roast is off the cards UNLESS I can prep & get it into the oven before I leave at 2:30pm, and leave it to roast for around 4 hours. I'll have the time to do all the prep before I go, but I can't find any chicken recipes that involve such long cooking times.
I don't have a slow cooker, this would have to be done in the oven.

I'm very partial to Jamie Oliver's Chicken In Milk recipe: could this be adapted to a long cooking time?

Or, am I better off heading to the other side of town in the morning to get a pork shoulder or piece of beef that I KNOW will respond well to the long roast time?
Thanks for any help!

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  1. Inspired by a 20-year-old recipe for "Less shrink roast beef" I've used for years, which calls for a 10-hour roast for a bottom round, I once googled for a similar strategy for roast chicken. Lots of results popped up, and I actually prefer this method.

    Googling again brings up this one, which is similar to what I do—it suggests 275° for 3-4 hours:

    1 Reply
    1. re: RelishPDX

      Here's a recipe for Rotisserie chicken:

      2 chickens
      2 t. salt
      1 t. paprika
      1/2 t. onion powder
      1/2 t. dried thyme
      1/2 t. black pepper
      1/2 t. cayenne pepper
      1/2 t. white pepper
      1/2 t. garlic powder
      1 onion; quartered

      Mix seasonings together. Place 1/2 onion in cavity of chickens. Rub chickens w/ seasonings. Place in ziploc & put in frig for several hours or overnight.

      Bring to room temp, place chickens on rack in baking pan. Oven to 250* and cook for 5 hours. You can baste or not......comes out nice & moist.

      1. re: seamunky

        I've made that roast sticky chicken recipe and even though it has many rave reviews, I wouldn't chance it for a dinner party. I followed the instructions exactly and the while the dark meat was extremely moist and tender, the white meat was dry and mealy, and the skin was completely leathery and inedible.

        1. re: gmm

          Thanks for the feedback. That doesn't sound like a good roast chicken at all.

      2. Id rather go hot and fast. Did the milk JO recipe wasn't good imo. Depends if its a big fat roaster or the small fryers, 2 small fryers can be cooked hot and fast in and hour. Big one the breast will get dried out and can't be cooked as fast. I would do breast down 3/4 of the time flip the last 15 mins to brown the top. Stuff with some lemons to keep the interior basted. They will be very brown well done kind but a lot of people like that. Or do big roaster and do low and slow and crank heat to brown last 5 mins. or how about turkey? that would take about 4 hours.

        1 Reply
        1. re: daislander

          I'd sooner go hot and fast as well. If the OP has any wiggle room at all, either of these recipes, each getting consistent raves from Chowhounds, would work; the second one has an advantage in that prep occurs 24 hrs. prior to roasting.

          Thomas Keller's Roast Chicken:

          Zuni Cafe Roast Chicken:

          Of course, the flip side of the argument is that it's a high-wire act to try making a new recipe to serve to company. It might be far more desirable to change the menu to a tried-and-true recipe for a different meat entirely.

        2. My mom used to roast chickens for hours- they were always moist and made fabulous gravy. She would stuff lemon and butter under the skin. Lemons and garlic in the cavity, rub with olive oil, salt and pepper. She would cover with foil, and remove the foil and crank up the heat at the end to get crispy skin. So good.

          1. If you want the fast lane, Sara Moulton's "45" rule is 4.5# chicken for 45 minutes at 450F.

            2 Replies
            1. re: greygarious

              I love this recipe. It's so dead simple, it's hard to call it a recipe, but it's also foolproof!

              1. re: greygarious

                That's what I use. You could also spatchcock it and it will cook faster.