Techniques for Roasting Chicken
The secret to a perfect roasted chicken lies in how it's prepared prior to roasting. Here are the tips you need for success.
Following these simple common-sense tips makes for perfect chicken every time.
• First, find a shallow pan and rack for roasting (a broiler pan will do). Roasting in this array allows hot air to circulate under and around the bird in a way that deep roasting pans prevent. This exposes the slower-cooking thighs to more direct heat. Added heat lets the thighs speed up to match the quicker-cooking breast meat so both peak at about the same time. This method also allows for better browning.
• For marvelous golden crisp skin, the oven is preheated to 400 degrees, hot enough to render fat but not too hot to burn it. Loosen the skin of the bird from its flesh, providing just enough separation to heat the skin from below as well as above. Olive oil and lemon juice are rubbed over the chicken to add flavor and make the salt and thyme stick, but they serve to brown and baste the bird as well. Stuffing the cavity with the juiced lemon steams the bird with flavor from the inside. It also doesn’t hurt that the lemon makes the breast full and rounded.
• Tying the legs is cosmetic as well, but the secret is to tie them loosely. This allows air to circulate between the breast and thighs. Tying the legs tightly makes the bird look more compact and rounded, but it insulates the inside of the leg joint and prevents the leg meat from cooking as quickly as the breast.
• Finally, when the chicken is ready to go into the oven, position it so the breast faces the oven door — this way the backside of the bird gets the core heat of the oven, jump-starting the process and evening out the cooking time.