Kitchen Tips: The Road to Perfectly Roasted Chicken
Here's how to get it right!
There is something to be said about the classic, almost dramatic look of perfectly roasted, beautifully burnished roast chicken. Visions of Medieval feasts come to mind while sometimes it just reminds us of big family get togethers with relatives gathering round the table as the bird gets carved.
Drama, pomp and circumstance aside, a roast chicken is actually quite a simple affair, needing a little bit of patience and barely any effort in the kitchen. Let us make your chicken roasting duties even easier with a few simple tips and tricks that will help you master the art of roasting birds.
1 Cut the fat
No one likes a greasy bird. Most chickens, especially those that were raised in smaller spaces, tend to have large bits of fat on their bodies, most often towards the rear. Make sure to cut off most of it so that your chicken doesn't end up swimming in a pool of its own fat come roasting time. This will also help to crisp up the chicken's skin.
2 Stuff the cavity
Yes, seasoning the outside of the bird is most definitely required, but make sure not to forget that gaping hole staring you right in the face. Take that opening as an opportunity to add flavor, whether it be from fresh herbs, pieces of citrus fruit, whole heads of garlic, knobs of butter or even an edible stuffing made of bread or rice.
If you aren't feeling too creative, though, you can totally just season the interior with loads of salt and pepper. We won't judge.
3 Make a bed
Before roasting your bird in the oven or broiler, lay it either on a roasting rack or on a whole bed of aromatics. The rack/bed will make sure that your chicken will not end up swimming in a pool of drippings as it cooks, resulting in a crisp, brown skin. A bed of aromatics, such as garlic, carrots, celery, onions, will help give your bird even more flavor, and will lend even more depth to the drippings, which you can use to make a thick gravy.
4 Play with temperatures
Chicken is a very delicate meat, so you can't just introduce it to a high heat and leave it alone. Harsh heat will only dry out the chicken and we all know how unpleasant dry chicken can be.
The trick is to roast the chicken on a considerably low heat (between 300 and 350 degrees Farenheit is good) for about an hour, so that it cooks completely without losing any of its moisture. You can even cover it with aluminum foil to keep the juices in.
To get that trademark brown color and crispness, make sure to blast the heat at around 375 degrees Farenheit for around 15 minutes as soon as the chicken is done.
5 Check for doneness
There are two ways to check for doneness that are pretty foolproof. The classic way that requires no special equipment is the knife test. Cut through the breast to check the juices. As soon as they run clear, you're good to go. You can also lightly press the knife on your lower lip to check the internal temperature of the chicken. Once the knife is too hot to press onto your lip, your chicken is done.
The other, considerably more accurate way to check for doneness is by using a meat thermometer. A meat thermometer will always give you an accurate reading of the chicken's internal temperature, so it's always good to have one around while your roasting your bird. You're looking for the meat to be between 160 and 165 degrees Farenheit.
If this has inspired you to roast a chicken for dinner, why not try these roast chicken reipes?