Whole Chicken for Beginners

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snickerdoodle

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Oct 14, 2010
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Hi all,

We're on a tight budget the next couple weeks and our grocer has whole chickens on sale for .79/lb. I've never bought a whole chicken before and I'm a terrible butcher :ermm: What do you think would be the easiest way for me to prepare it? My husband refuses to eat chicken off the bone so I'll need to address that... you all are so helpful, thanks in advance!!
 

joesfolk

Head Chef
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Aug 31, 2010
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I suggest roasting the chicken and then cutting the meat off the bone. Since you are on a tight budget you might want to simmer the carcass and then removing the last bits of meat from the bone to make soup. You will be amazed at the amount of meat that is left on the bone. But be sure to simmer and not boil the carcass. You'll get much more flavor from the bones this way. If you feel you must cut the bird up before hand I'm sure you can google directions and probably find a video that will tell you how to do it easier than any of us can type it out. Hope this helps... try googling "How to debone a chicken."
 

Andy M.

Certified Pretend Chef
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The easiest would be to roast it whole and carve it into a platter like you would for a Thanksgiving turkey.

That's a lot easier than trying to debone a whole raw chicken.
 

snickerdoodle

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Wow thanks for the quick replies! I've watched 3 videos now and it doesn't look so bad. But given that I'm badly in need of a new chef knife and I don't have much counter space, I think I'll just roast it then carve the meat off and use the carcass for soup/stock. Now... I know roasting is super simple but I think I'll be browsing for ways to season it... thank you all so much!! If you're inclined to share your favorite way of seasoning, I'll be checking back...

Happy Friday everyone!!
 

Andy M.

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...If you're inclined to share your favorite way of seasoning, I'll be checking back...

Happy Friday everyone!!

You really don't have to season at all.

Seasoning the skin flavors the skin but does little for the meat. If you like, you can soften some butter and blend in some seasonings like garlic, sage, etc and spread it under the skin.

Some like to put citrus (lemon, lime, orange) slices in the cavity. I don't. I like the taste of the chicken to stand out.
 

Andy M.

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Does it matter where I pierce the skin to get the buttery goodness in there? Hubs will prefer some added flavor I think. Thanks!



You don't pierce the skin, you lift it up and slide your hand under the skin to spread the butter. You can usually do this at the cavity where the skin isn't attached to anything. Then you have to work your hand around under the skin to cover all the breast meat.
 

Hammster

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Oct 19, 2010
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San Diego, Ca.
Something that's also fun to do with whole chicken is to lay whole herb leaves under the skin. Instead of spreading herb infused butter, just lay some whole herbs (sage leaves really work well) in a nice pattern under the skin of the breast. As the bird cooks and the fat renders from under the breast, the leaves will show through. Makes a very nice presentation.
What is it that you DH doesn't care for regarding the bone in the meat?

Oh, Chicken stock with the carcass. It'll be wonderful! Be prepared for it to gel up nicely once you refrigerate it too.
 

taxlady

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near Montreal, Quebec
To get a really moist breast on a roast chicken, I follow the instructions in the 1997 Joy of Cooking for "Turned Roasted Chicken".

After seasoning and buttering in the manner you prefer:

Oven at 400 F. Turn the bird on its side - a leg is facing up. Use a V shaped rack or balls of foil to balance the bird. Roast it for 25 minutes for the first 4 pounds + 3 minutes for each extra pound. Use paper towels or silcone oven minutes to grab the bird on two sides and turn it on its other side and continue roasting for the same amount of time. Turn it breast side up for the last 15-30 minutes.

You don't end up with a chicken that has a soggy back and dry breasts. The juices sink through the bird in one direction and then back, instead of pooling. The top and bottom of the oven are hottest, so the legs get most of the heat. Then at the end, the breast gets nicely browned.
 

Andy M.

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I struggled with getting a perfect roast chicken for a long time before I got it right.

First I cut the skin between the leg and breast and spread the legs away from the body. This ensures the heat gets into the joint so it cooks properly. I place the chicken on a pan and put it into a 450F oven feet first as the back of the oven is hotter than the door side.
This ensures that all parts of the chicken cook to doneness at the same time.

The real and overriding key to moist chicken is to not overcook it. Take it out of the oven and let it rest when the thickest part of the breast is at 160 F.

We each have our preferred methods. This one works for me.

BTW, if I'm in a hurry, I cut the chicken in half, removing the backbone, and roast it at 400F.
 

Kayelle

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I haven't messed with a traditional roast chicken in years, since I discovered "beer can chicken" with the oven method. I finally bought a holder made for the can and the chicken, and I often use wine in an empty can, instead of beer. I carve the chicken while it's still in the standing position, and that eliminates the trick of getting that hot chicky off the can. I personally think it's the best way, for the most delicious succulent chicken ever!
Just my 2 cents. ;)
 

yourstrulyewalani

Senior Cook
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Washington State
I just roasted my first chicken last week and I did it again this week. Both times it turned out good and juicy even though I chose to truss it. I like to roast the bird and then take the meat off. It beats deboning a raw chicken with bone fragments everywhere and the extra labor of chopping pieces off.

I'm making my first chicken stock this weekend...
 

Chief Longwind Of The North

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Andy absolutely nailed it. Cook at a high temp of around 450. It really doesn't affect the quality, but the bird gets done quicker. Rub the skin with oil or butter and lightly salt. Place on a rack, in a roasting pan and place a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the breast, but not touching the bone or joint with the tip. Cook to betwee 155 and 160' F. Remove and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes before carving.

There are several ways to add extra flavor to the meat, and basting and seasoning the outside won't do anything to flavor the meat. Methods that do add flavor are:
1. Place aromatics such as thin onion slices, or herb leaves under the skin before roasting.
2. Place compound butters under the skin before roasting.
3. Inject the bird with a flavorful broth and let sit for an hour or so before roasting.
4. Brine the whole bird in a solution of water, salt, sugar, and seasonings before roasting. The bird should be brined for several hours, or overnight.
5. Poke small slits into the breast meat with a paring knive and stuff uncooked bacon pieces (these are called lardoons) into the meat before roasting.

Flavors that will enhance the skin:
Sage
Rosemary
Thyme
Salt
granulated onion powder
granulated garlic powder
black pepper
Paprika
Soy Sauce

Rubs that go wonderfully on roasted chicken:
1. mix 1/2 cup brown sugar with 1 tbs chili powder, 1 tsp each onion and garlic powder, and 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp liquid smoke.

2. mix together 1/2 cup white sugar, 2 tbs lime juice, minced hot peppers, 2 tbs. minced, fresh cilantro

3. 1 tsp each, oregano, sweet basil, rosemary. thyme, plus 1/2 tsp. each of granulated garlic, granulated onion, plus 1 1/2 tbs. grated parmesan cheese

Glazes:
1. Teryaki glaze made from brown sugar, vinager, soy sauce, onion, garlic, and 5 spice powder

2. Honey mustard - honey, a little mustard, water to thin so that it can be brushed on every 15 minutes or so while the bird is roasting.

3. Orange glaze made with orange juice, garlic, paprika, and onion.

4. Barbecue sauce - brown sugar, a bit of soy sauce, chili powder, a touch of tomato paste, 1/4 tsp. liquid smoke, (optionally - cayenne (red) pepper) eough water to disssolve the sugar and make a glaze.

5. Pineapple glaze - 1 can crushed pineapple, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 tsp each onion and garlic powder, a small dash of Chinese 5-spice powder, 1/8 tsp. ground ginger, 3 tbs. soy sauce (this can be truned into a sauce byu thickening with a cornstarch slurry.

Note: sugary rubs should be added during the last 15 minutes of roasting time to avoid burning the sugar. If you want to infuse the meat with the flavor of barbecue sauce, or a sugar-based rub, massage the rub onto the chicken skin and braise the chicken rather than roasting it, or steam it in a roaster with a lid, or in a sealed roasting bag.

Seeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
 

PrincessFiona60

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Andy absolutely nailed it. Cook at a high temp of around 450. It really doesn't affect the quality, but the bird gets done quicker. Rub the skin with oil or butter and lightly salt. Place on a rack, in a roasting pan and place a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the breast, but not touching the bone or joint with the tip. Cook to betwee 155 and 160' F. Remove and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes before carving.

I just copied and pasted that post into a document titled:
"Goodweed’s Chicken Primer" in my collection. Thanks!!!:)
 

Kayelle

Chef Extraordinaire
Joined
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Messages
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Location
south central coast/California
Great post GW, but I think you left an important 6th method to this list.......

There are several ways to add extra flavor to the meat, and basting and seasoning the outside won't do anything to flavor the meat. Methods that do add flavor are:
1. Place aromatics such as thin onion slices, or herb leaves under the skin before roasting.
2. Place compound butters under the skin before roasting.
3. Inject the bird with a flavorful broth and let sit for an hour or so before roasting.
4. Brine the whole bird in a solution of water, salt, sugar, and seasonings before roasting. The bird should be brined for several hours, or overnight.
5. Poke small slits into the breast meat with a paring knive and stuff uncooked bacon pieces (these are called lardoons) into the meat before roasting.

The #6 way would be....
Stuff the cavity of the bird with pieces of lemon, onion, garlic, and/or fresh herbs of your choice, to impart flavor throughout the bird.
(my favorite way, by the way)

As usual, a very helpful post, GW !!
 

snickerdoodle

Senior Cook
Joined
Oct 14, 2010
Messages
440
Location
Quad Cities, Midwest
As always, an overabundance of information!! This place is so awesome! I'll be roasting it tomorrow for our dinner. I'm excited! I'll definitely post a follow up to let you all know how your coaching panned out (pun intended lol). GW, the rubs and glazes sound delightful... I can't make up my mind on which one to use. And taxlady, thanks for the Joy of Cooking pointers, it makes a lot of sense. Hammster, not sure what it is about meat on the bone that hubs doesn't like. I think what he particularly dislikes is seeing any sort of connective tissue, which I'm not a fan of either. On making the stock, I've done it several times with scraps from chicken leg quarters and I've been very pleased with the end result. Hoping that using the WHOLE carcass will yield even tastier results :) Thanks again to everyone who has replied... cheers!
 

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