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Old 09-26-2006, 09:38 PM   #41
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Blondie, remember that a crockpot chicken will not be roasted, but will be stewed. Perfectly delicious, to be sure, but NOT roasted.
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Old 09-27-2006, 07:10 AM   #42
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Andy - Thanks for the tips. I usually break down my chicken into pieces for roasting as well (thighs/legs & breast/wings). I'll roast at 300F, but I give the thighs/legs a head start before putting the breast sections in. That way everything comes out absolutely perfect. I need to get one of those infomercial chicken rotisseries... (what's that guy's name?)

I've tried roasting a bird breast-side up at 500F before, but the breast is sawdust by the time the thighs are done. Usually the outer muscle groups of the thighs are also overcooked by the time the meat at the leg bones are finished, and the connective tissues have melted.

I became so obsessed with finding a solution, that I actually bought one of those Spanek upright roasters (kinda like a beer-can roaster). That was $20 down the toilet...

Hopefully someone smarter than us (or with a secret recipe) will come along and solve this puzzle!
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Old 09-27-2006, 07:18 AM   #43
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Oh - I also find roasting a whole turkey to suffer the same problems. I usally remove the legs/thighs and roast the breast/carcass as a hotel style bird. Then I make stock with the legs/thighs and reserve the meat. Some I mince up and add to the gravy, the rest I add to my soup the next day.
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Old 09-27-2006, 09:33 AM   #44
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Here's a good recipe for crockpot chicken:

Italian Chicken with Cream Sauce

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
2 envelopes Good Seasons Italian Dressing
1/2 cup water
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can (4 oz.) mushrooms, drained
8 oz. frozen broccoli cuts
16 oz. linguini, cooked and drained

Cut chicken in pieces & place in crock-pot. Mix salad dressing mix with the water & pour over chicken. Cook on low about 3 hours.

In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese & soup until blended. Stir in mushrooms & pour over chicken. Add broccoli & cook about 1 more hour. Serve over cooked pasta.
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Old 10-03-2006, 06:00 AM   #45
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I have been roasting chicken for years and have to say that it is only over the last year that I have found the recipe that I think is perfect.

It is a Thomas Keller recipe and it is so simple it is rediculous. I now use the recipe frequently. I do not have it infront of me, but from memory it is as follows.

Clean the chicken, inside and out and dry thoughly with paper towels, sprinkle liberally with sea salt and ground black pepper. Truss the chicken. I can never get this right so simply tie the legs and end together. The theory is that moisture is the enemy in the roasting process, so the chicken has to be dry, the salt brings out the moisture in the skin and makes it seriously crispy. The recipe calls for a seriously high cooking temperature and a reduced cooking time - yes expect smoke from the oven. No I do not turn the chicken over during cooking. The theory is that a high temp keeps the chicken moist inside yet allows the skin to go all crispy and golden. I also use a rack in the roasting dish to keep the chicken out of any pan juices. Allow the chicken to rest for at least 5 minutes before carving. I It does make a difference. think it is now that Keller sprinkles with chopped oregano - I don't bother. During this time I deviate from the recipe and make gravy - typically there are no pan juices because they have evaporated in the high temp. So I add flour to the pan and scape with a wooden spoon before adding a dash of wine and water from cooking greens etc. Serve with veges roasted under the chicken - due to the high temp the veges can go intowards the end otherwise they turn to cinders.

I have been using this recipe for a couple of years now and it works for me. I also suggest using a smaller chicken rather than a large one - they seem to be better at keeping their moisture and yet getting crispy at the same time. If I am feeding a crowd, I would roast two small chickens rather than one large one - more wings and drumsticks for a start!
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Old 10-03-2006, 10:18 AM   #46
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Nicholas - that "infomercial guy"'s name is good old "Ron Popeil", & I have one of his rotisseries. And since buying it, I haven't oven-roasted a whole chicken since; or even a duck for that matter.

When my husband first purchased it for me, I immediately figured we'd use it once or twice & then it would be relegated to the basement with the rest of the unused gadgets. After roasting the first chicken, it never left the counter. It's SO easy to use, SO easy to clean, & the chicken comes out SO utterly FABULOUS! Perfectly cooked & juicy inside, with an absolutely wonderful crispy skin all round. What's even better is that it cooks duck the same way, & surprisingly there's absolutely no burning or smoking of the excess fat. I only wish the unit was large enough to do a goose!!!

I've also done turkey drumsticks & whole trout in the rotisserie basket, & they've also come out just perfect. To be honest, as much as people make fun of Ron Popeil & his infomercials, I wouldn't trade this item for anything.
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Old 12-20-2006, 11:51 AM   #47
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Breezy - Someday when I have more room, I might get a rotisserie. I want one bad...
-----
thegrova - I have an immense amount of respect for TK's dishes & techniques (I own all his books and have read them cover to cover, cooking a good portion of 'em too). I would love to see the exact oven, pans, and other varibales that come together to produce a perfectly roasted bird using his method. I tried it a couple times with overcooked breast meat and undercooked thighs being the result.
-----
Well, I bought a 3.5lb jobber to try another recipe today. Im going to try my normal roasting temp of 300F, but roasting the bird on it's sides rather than breast side down. I'm fearing that I will still get overcooked breast meat by the time the interior of the thighs reach 175-180F and the connective tissues have had suffiecient time to melt. We'll see.

EDIT: I also read a tip that contradicts one of my current methods of spreading butter beneath the skin. Fat (being an excellent conductor of heat) placed beneath the skin picks up a lot of the radiant heat and transfers it to the breast meat. This time I'm just going to butter the exterior of the skin (along with some salt). Following my theories for other cuts, I'm not sure why I really did that in the first place, as properly cooked meat is juicy by itself without fat to simulate the effect.

Off to the kitchen.
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Old 12-20-2006, 11:56 AM   #48
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Roast it at 425*, liberally salted for 45 minutes to one hour, breast side up. It will be perfectly browned, crispy skin and lucious white and dark meat. Roast on a bed of vegetables like onions and quartered new potatoes for extra goodness.
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Old 12-20-2006, 12:07 PM   #49
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By the way, I had an excellent roast chicken the other day (not whole). Following the CIA's recipe for a chicken galantine, I removed the skin of the chicken in a single piece. Next, I departed from the traditional recipe and deboned and separated the breast, then overlapped the halves with a large end on each end and a small end on each end. Finally, I wrapped the breasts in the skin, securing it with twine like a log (followed by buttering and salting the exterior).

It roasted absolutely perfectly due to it's uniform shape, and rotating it a few times on a rack it was browned all the way around. After resting (on another rack), I then got perfect circular slices of 165F chicken breast with a strip of crispy brown skin surrounding it. Hands down my favorite method so far for roasting chicken breasts!

But that whole chicken continues to elude me...
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Old 12-20-2006, 12:09 PM   #50
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Here was my post from earlier in the thread.
Quote:
This is one recipe that has eluded me thus far. I honestly can't roast a perfect chicken. There is always one element that seems to be traded off for the others. When 3.5lb chickens go on sale at my local market, I usually buy 3 or 4 to experiement with (only about $2/ea on sale).

I've tried about 20 different recipes, then I tried approaching it scientifically, and I can't seem to get it 100%. I'm still working on ideas though, and always looking for the eureeka tip.

I typically trade off the crispy skin on the breast for perfect doneness in my oven and crisp skin on the back of the legs, or I break down the bird and roast the pieces separately.

Here is what I aim for in a final rested bird...

1. Legs/Thighs at 180F with connective tissues melted down.
2. Breast at 165F from neck to cavity.
3. Crisp skin 360 around the bird.
4. Drippings that can be used for a pan sauce.

And here are some of the ways I go about achieving these...

I rest the bird on the counter for an hour or so to warm slightly. The thighs have a much smaller surface to mass ratio than the breasts, so they cook much more slowly. Add in the fact that the theighs need to be cooked to a higher internal temperature, and you have a problem. I increase the surface area of the legs/thighs by not trussing them. The body cavity needs to be cleaned real well to remove residual viscera to minimize their effect on the pan sauce. Reaching inside the cavity and placing one finger on each side of the spine, drag them forward until you reach the pockets near the cavity opening and scoop out any remaining nastys, then wash the bird well. Dry the bird thoroughly. I also trim the two large fat flaps at the cavity entrance (not the pope's nose).

I like my roasted foods simple whether it's meat or veggies. I might make a savory or zippy sauce for them after, but I love the purity of flavor genrated by dry cooking methods such as roasting. So for the bird it's butter and salt... thats it. I mix some kosher salt into four tablespoons of butter and have at it. One tablespoon under the skin of each breast, one teaspoon under the skin of each thigh, and the remaining butter thoroughly rubbed over the entire bird.

I set a cooling rack on top of a ten inch frypan, and use this as the roasting vessel. This holds the chicken a good 1.5" over the pan surface keeping it out of the fat and juices. I usually add one medium slivered onion to the pan for flavoring the final jus. The onion roasts at the same time, and also infuses the pan drippings. I also add the neck/heart/gizzard as well as the pieces of trimmed fat, but toss the liver.

This helps some, but doesn't do the job by itself. I try to increase the amount of heat being applied to the thighs versus the breasts by roasting the bird upside down and spreading the legs out (they fit in the gaps of the rack perfect). The radiant heat from the oven walls hits the back, legs, and thighs, but the roasting pan protects the breast. This increases the speed by which the legs and thighs are cooked so that everything reaches the proper temp at the same time. Unfortunately this prevents the skin on the breast from browning (the back skin browns nicely).

High temperatures penetrate and overcook the exterior layers of the bird before fully cooking the meat at the bone. Bones are excellent insulators due to their hollow honey-comb structure, so the meat at the bone takes a long time to cook (I used to think they conducted heat, but after reading an article about this very subject, I had one of those ah-ha moments). Not only does it take long to cook, but it takes a while for the connective tissues to melt away and give that lip-smacking goodness within a chicken theigh. I roast at 300F which gently raises the temperature throughout the entire bird. The heat penetration is slow and even which insures properly cooked meat throughout, not just at the bone with overcooked outer layers. It also permits enough time for the connective tissues in the thighs to melt beautifully (even those along the bones). Because everything is basically at the same temp throughout each section, you don't get much carry-over cooking either. In my 60F apartment I see 1 or 2F at most. So I pull the roast when the meat at the thigh reaches a degree or two under 180F. I rest it for 20min before carving.

For the pan sauce I set the pan over med-high heat and boil off the moisture until a fond forms and the fat is clarified. I pour off the fat, deglaze the pan with some white wine, add two cups of brown chicken stock, toss in a crushed clove of garlic along with a sprig of thyme, and reduce the liquid by 50-65%. Then I pick out the giblets/thyme/garlic/fat flaps, hit it with freshly ground black pepper, and serve it. Brining makes this pan sauce incredibly salty, and I'm not a fan of brining anyways, so... I don't brine.

So I'm a chicken roasting failure! But to be honest, I've never had a perfect one at anyone elses house or deli either. There always seems to be a compromise made somewhere. I've tried high heat all the way, high heat to brown and then low heat to finish, low heat to cook and high heat to finish, low heat to cook and then broiling breats side up, and even just a moderate temp of 350, and 375 (also tried constant high temps of 400, 450, 500, and 550).

I haven't experiemented with any rotisserie methods, but I'd like to try sometime if I could aquire the needed gear. Rotisserie birds roasted at relatively low temps with one hot radiant heat source periodically blasting a small portion of the bird at a given time (browning the skin) seem to produce the best roast chickens I've had. They usually have slightly overcooked breastmeat unfortunately, or are artifically brined with (of course) no pan sauce.

I'd love some help with this one if any of you have the magic key!
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Old 12-20-2006, 06:25 PM   #51
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I let my chicken have a stand up performance. I have one of those chicken roasting sets, consist of a platform with metal frame. Season your chicken and set it on the roaster (I put a cookie sheet under mine but the few drippings actually dropped into the roaster pan in the platform). All the juice that builds up in the cavity simply is not there making a mess.
I don't have a turkey stand but I have used a stick and a tube pan to roast turkey this way.
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Old 12-21-2006, 01:05 AM   #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicholas Mosher
...thegrova - I have an immense amount of respect for TK's dishes & techniques (I own all his books and have read them cover to cover, cooking a good portion of 'em too). I would love to see the exact oven, pans, and other varibales that come together to produce a perfectly roasted bird using his method. I tried it a couple times with overcooked breast meat and undercooked thighs being the result...
I've done the experiments and inspected the results. It really doesn't matter what temperature you cook the bird at. And cooking it breast-side down will only give you soggy breast skin. As for the "beer can" chicken devices out there, they don't really make much difference either, except to keep the skin out of the liquids.

Now, I'm going to give you the number 1 secret to perfectly juicy poultry breast meat, and dark meat cooked all the way through. Simply bring the bird to room temp, dry it inside and out, rub with som kind of fat, butter, lard, or oil work equally well. Season to your liking with S & P, Oregano, Sage, or whatever. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickes part of the breast meat, where it is near to the thigh/body joint, but not toucing the bone. Place in any oven, uncovered, at any temperature between 300 and 460 degrees, and roast until the meat thermometer reads 155 degrees F.

I can promise you, that if you remove the bird from the oven when the meat reaches that temperature, and let the whole thing sit on the counter for 5 to ten minutes, your bird, be it chicken, duck, goose, or turkey will give you moist and tender breast meat, and dark meat cooked all the way through.

The advantage of higher heat is that it will crisp the skin and will cook much faster.

The beauty of using the thermometer is that you can cook the bird in the oven, or on the grill, using dimilar cooking methods.

What causes dry meat of any kind is overcooking, that is, taking the meat temperature above 170 degrees or so (with the exception of smoked or pulled pork, or slow cooked beef, where it is allowed to reach sufficient temperature to melt the fats and break down the collagen). As the muscle tissue rises much above 170, it begins to tighten, squeezing the moisture out and toughening.

Do the experiments yourself. Test my advice. It has worked for me for many years.

Seeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
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Old 12-21-2006, 08:08 AM   #53
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Godweed - I've tried roasting breast side up at a wide range of oven temps from 250-550F and always get either overcooked breastmeat and perfect thighs, or perfect breastmeat and undercooked thighs. Again, I like my breastmeat around 165F, and my thighs around 180F (but more importantly, the connective tissues in the thighs needs to break down into gelatin which also takes time, not just an instantaneous temp).

I find 300F to be the best roasting temp, as it permits a gentle heating of the entire bird without overcooking the exterior portions of meat. 300F is also sufficently high to dissolve the collagen in the skin, and then cook away the moisture leaving a crisp skin (rather than leathery or rubbery).

(Please see me lengthy post on the previous page detailing my adventures...)

Going to try a couple different techniques today.
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Old 12-21-2006, 09:35 AM   #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicholas Mosher
Godweed - I've tried roasting breast side up at a wide range of oven temps from 250-550F and always get either overcooked breastmeat and perfect thighs, or perfect breastmeat and undercooked thighs. Again, I like my breastmeat around 165F, and my thighs around 180F (but more importantly, the connective tissues in the thighs needs to break down into gelatin which also takes time, not just an instantaneous temp).

I find 300F to be the best roasting temp, as it permits a gentle heating of the entire bird without overcooking the exterior portions of meat. 300F is also sufficently high to dissolve the collagen in the skin, and then cook away the moisture leaving a crisp skin (rather than leathery or rubbery).

(Please see me lengthy post on the previous page detailing my adventures...)

Going to try a couple different techniques today.
Another way to get what you seek is to direct heat away from the breast meat until the last 15 minutes or so of cooking time. Try placing aluminum foil over just the breast meat, shiny side out, to reflect infra-red away from the covered area. Then, you remove it for the last ten to 15 minutes and increase the heat to crisp the skin. Put the thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh to monitor the temperature there.

I like the dark meat just done. I don't require the collagen or connective tissues to be melted down. I guess that's why I roast my birds the way I do, and enjoy the results.

But placing the foil over the breast meat should help you achive the results you're looking for. Another technique is to place cheesecloth over the breast meat, as an insulator against the heat, again removing it for the last ten minutes or so of cooking time.

I wish you success in achieving teh "perfect chicken".

Seeeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
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Old 12-21-2006, 10:12 AM   #55
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Quote:
I like the dark meat just done. I don't require the collagen or connective tissues to be melted down.
Well... I like it "just done" too. As far as melting the collagen, it's what creates that lip-smacking texture and tenderness of thighs. Without doing so, you end up with a gristly/chewy thigh. If I roast at a relatively low temp (such as 300-325F) I find that the thighs reach this stage by the time their internal temperature hits 175-180F (I usually pull it around 178F, as I only see about 2F of heat rise with a low roasting temp and my 60F apartment). The trick is reaching this stage without cooking the breast past 163-165F. I've found that by roasting breast side down (and with teh legs spread out) I can increase the amount of energy hitting the legs/thighs while simultaneously protecting the breastmeat from the radiating energy of the oven walls (effectively retarding the speed at which they cook). Unfortunately (as you noted above), this yields nice n' rubbery skin over the breast (although the skin across the back and sides is beautifully crisp).

I've tried to combat this by roasting/broiling at a high temp breast side up when the chicken is almost finished to brown the skin. Unfortunately this usually just gives some crispy spots amongst a sea of rubber.

I'm almost convinced that a low-temp rotisserie process is the only path to near-perfection for a whole bird (these still yield a slightly over-done breast). So far my only way to ensure 100% success has been to divide the bird into quarters and roast separately, but this of course lacks the beauty of a whole bird.

Anyhoo, I'm repeating myself I guess (sorry).
Have two birds to mess around with today - they're warming up a bit on the counter now.

If I use the foil-triangle method, I'll be roasting breast-side up, which means the pan will be protecting/retarding the cooking process of the thighs/legs/back (which is what I want to speed up relative to the breast). One thing I haven't tried is roasting it upright with a foil triangle, and then removing it later... Gonna' give this a shot right now I think!
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Old 12-21-2006, 02:22 PM   #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicholas Mosher
... One thing I haven't tried is roasting it upright with a foil triangle, and then removing it later... Gonna' give this a shot right now I think!
Nicholas, you are the man!
Let me know the results of your cullinary experimentation. I'm sure glad that there is someone else out there to put in some time and effort to produce superior results. I hope this turns out well for you. If it soesn't, then cook that baby on a Webber Kettle with a divided bed of coals. Since the thighs and drumstics are closer to the fire, you should get better results.

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Old 12-21-2006, 03:01 PM   #57
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Well... I roasted the chicken upright with a foil triangle over the breast at 325F for 90min, then removed the triangle and went 45min more. The skin was crispy except for near the surface of the pan where the steam from the drippings kept the skin from browning, and also a couple patches on the breast itself. The thighs were absolutely perfect, but the breast was overcooked at 181F by the time the thighs reached 180F.

Failure...

Have one chicken left to play around with tomorrow...
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Old 12-21-2006, 03:17 PM   #58
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Nicholas...

The best roasted chicken I have ever had...I did over a open fire on a manual turn spit. However I do not have a clue as to temps of the various parts..I just wanted the thigh/leg at or near 170* I normally do 2 sometimes 3 birds at once...brined before going to the fire...The skin..some crispy..some not so crispy...as the "perfect fire" is hard to maintain...Obviously there are no pan drippings...they go up in smoke....
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Old 12-21-2006, 07:31 PM   #59
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One of the methods that I use for roasting a bird is to cut it straight down the back and lay it flat. (you have to pop a few bones) It cooks really well. I tend to do this a lot when people are not expecting to see "the bird".
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