Roasting a Chicken

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by [email protected], Sep 17, 2004.

  1. paulraphael@ear

    [email protected]

    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    My main question is the simplest: what's the ideal internal temperature for a whole cooked chicken? I just compared cookbooks and other sources; some say 140 degrees (James Peterson, who I normally trust with my life, but this seems pretty low) most say 160 or 165; one says 180!

    I like my chicken moist, with a crisp browned skin (who doesn't) but I don't want to die from it.

    Also, what do you see as the pros and cons of these methods:

    1) oven cranked to 500 degrees all the way through, legs toward the hotter back side of the oven (according to Barbara Kafka).

    2) 425 degrees the whole time, with a trippled sheet of foil over the breast meat for the first 15 minutes (Peterson).

    3) 450 degrees for the first 10 minutes; 350 for the rest of the time, turning the bird twice (Alice Waters).
     
  2. jock

    jock

    Messages:
    1,310
    Likes Received:
    15
    Exp:
    At home cook
    Roasting chicken, boy! It seems that every recipe has a different method.
    First off, the breast meat and leg/thigh meat need to be cooked to a different temperature - the FDA recommends 165 degrees for the breast and 180 for the thigh. Your first instruction to cook to 140 allows for the temperature to rise as much as 15 degrees after the bird is removed from the oven and tented with foil to rest for a half hour or so before carving.
    The oven temperatures all work to an extent but depend on other factors like whether you turn the bird on its back and sides during cooking. Is it butterflied? Is it stuffed? At screaming hot oven temperatures you need to cover the bird with foil after 1/2 an hour or so or the skin will scorch.
    My personal preference is to start at 450 for the first 15 to 20 minutes then lower to 375 for the rest of the time. I came to that conclusion after lots of trial and error at various temperature combinations. But, because of the many variables, there are no hard and fast rules either. I would suggest that you try it for yourself and see what happens.

    Jock
     
  3. dano1

    dano1

    Messages:
    338
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    for whole chix i pretty much don't use a thermometer anymore. When the juices run clear out of the cavitiy its done.

    On temp for parts, i have no prob pulling breast at about 150ish, carryover will take me to a nice, pink, juicy and safe temp. Thighs 160-170 or when juices run clear ;). BTW, i believe the FDA has lowered temps for poultry slightly in the last couple of years. Don't take my word for it but i think its know closer to 160 for "safe" chix.
    hth, danny
     
  4. mikeb

    mikeb

    Messages:
    320
    Likes Received:
    11
    Exp:
    Professional Pastry Chef
    Cooked a chicken last night, didn't feel like doing much supervising so I just let it cook at 400 degrees the whole way (when I pulled it the breast was 160 degrees, thighs around 180).

    Put some garlic butter under the skin, some herbes de provence, turned out very juicy and tasted great.
     
  5. scott123

    scott123

    Messages:
    330
    Likes Received:
    11
    Exp:
    Culinary Instructor
    For me, even slightly pink chicken meat is a fate worst than death. Pink beef, fine, but pink chicken or pork, forget about it :)

    Although I've waffled back and forth between a few different theories over the years, right now I'm a fairly strict adherent to the low, consistent temperature philosophy. I always place the breast down, as this works to baste itself and then I roast them at 275 for a couple of hours until the white meat is done. I will then strip all the meat off and poach the dark meat a little further. I have no doubt my white meat hits 180, but the increase in temp is so gradual that I still get some very succulent moist tender meat. I also probably should mention that I seek out very small chickens so the meat starts out as tender as possible.
     
  6. suzanne

    suzanne

    Messages:
    3,853
    Likes Received:
    11
    Exp:
    Food Editor
    I've tried Peterson's method in Glorious French Food and the results were less than glorious. :(

    He says heat the oven to 450F/230C; take a 4-pound/1.8kg chicken; put it breast-side up in a pan; (maybe) cover the breast with a piece of foil; bung it in the oven for 20 minutes, remove the foil, bake about another 30 minutes "until done" and let it rest 15 minutes.

    Well, doing it that way, my breast (well, the chicken's actually :p ) was still just faintly pink, and really quite nice and juicy. But the dark meat was still blood raw. :eek: And my oven was a mess. :mad:

    Then again, I cannot bring myself to roast a chicken as my mother did: 3 hours at 325F. :eek:

    It's one of those cooking feats I love trying to get right, though! :D I brine if it's not a kosher chicken, and especially love putting herb butter under the skin. That goes a long way to keeping the breast moist while the dark meat finishes cooking. Mmmmm, roast chicken! :lips:
     
  7. dano1

    dano1

    Messages:
    338
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    not to take this too far off topic ;) but i sear the suckers on all sides in a sautee pan, roaster, etc in evo, a little butter towards the end. Then they go breast side up into a med oven to finish. Most fryers are done in 45min or so-hour tops. If i truss add a few minutes to the time. Must rest at least 20-30 minutes.

    The sear really starts the cooking on the sides/dark meat well, so all finishes pretty close to the same time. i"ve "roasted" many chixs in the sham at 250-275 and they just don't develop that roast flavor. Good sear and med heat does it for me :), not to mention any herbs, truffles, etc really get going.
    hth, danny
     
  8. t.haws

    t.haws

    Messages:
    23
    Likes Received:
    10
    Aside from the temperature issues(to each his/her own) I've found that seasoning the bird ahead and leaving it uncovored in the cooler to somewhat dry the skin gives good results.
     
  9. chef heather

    chef heather

    Messages:
    44
    Likes Received:
    10
    Pork is safely cooked at 137 degrees. I prefer NOT to see pink pork or chicken/duck (dark meat) on my plates. It's just revolting to me. Chicken and Turkey sashimi??? OMG.... ::: GAGGING AS WE SPEAK ::::::::: ;) How about you??
     
  10. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    6,783
    Likes Received:
    376
    Exp:
    Retired Chef
    I put mine in at 425F breast side down untrussed. Turn it breast side up halfway through cooking.

    You can tell when the chicken is done by the way the skin pulls back on the drumsticks.
     
  11. mezzaluna

    mezzaluna

    Messages:
    9,204
    Likes Received:
    65
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    When I have time I use my convection oven for roasting, but when I'm in a hurry (weeknights!) I use my Sharp Convection/Microwave oven. I get a juicy, tender chicken with crisp skin, reminiscent of a rotisserie bird but with skin a bit less crisped (shouldn't eat it anyway, right?). It's programmed, but I learned to boost the weight of the bird when I punch in the settings because the thigh joints were still too rosy for my liking if I did it on exactly the weight of the chicken.

    This makes roast chicken a possiblilty for those days when I get home at 5:00 and want dinner on the table in about an hour. The Sharp does the job in 42-46 minutes, depending on the bird. I can't complain! :D
     
  12. jock

    jock

    Messages:
    1,310
    Likes Received:
    15
    Exp:
    At home cook
    Getting the juices to run clear in the breast and thigh is easy enough but those pesky thigh/hip joints are a major problem for me. If I cook it long enough to get the pink out of the joint, the rest is overcooked. I've used Jaques Pepin's trick of splitting the skin at the at the hip area to allow the heat more direct access to thye joint. I've also given the bird 15 minutes on each side (leg up) before continuing cooking breast side up. That has worked too.
    T.Haws has the right idea for crispy skin; resting for a period, uncovered in the fridge. Dry skin = crispy skin.
    Wow, all this talk of roast chicken is making me crave the stuff :)

    Jock
     
  13. chef heather

    chef heather

    Messages:
    44
    Likes Received:
    10
    I usually whack the backbone out and squash it rather flat. Then season and roast at a high temperature. When my thermom says "176" or so inserted into the thigh, I remove it to rest and finish cooking. If I don't care about crisp skin, I tent with foil during those last 15 minutes of "cooking." And I always rub my breasts with butter before the chicken goes in the oven. Sometimes the chicken gets a little, too. Hee. ;) :p ;)
     
  14. scott123

    scott123

    Messages:
    330
    Likes Received:
    11
    Exp:
    Culinary Instructor
    Is your restaurant hiring? ;)
     
  15. suzanne

    suzanne

    Messages:
    3,853
    Likes Received:
    11
    Exp:
    Food Editor
    Ah yes, the famous spatchcock. (No, I didn't say a bad word: that's when you do exactly what Heather described in the, uh, first sentence.) Speeds things up, and does give you a lovely, although flat, bird.

    Actually, I mostly cut up the chicken (for cooking at home), so that I can remove parts as they are done. Rather a different presentation, but at least that way I can control the cooking perfectly.
     
  16. mezzaluna

    mezzaluna

    Messages:
    9,204
    Likes Received:
    65
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    I've heard of that too, Suzanne. Sometimes I cut out the backbone and the keelbone as well, and loosen the hips. It's completely flat (butterflied). I first saw this done on Madeleine Kamman's show years ago. She tucked herbed butter under the skin as I recall. The first time I prepared this on the grill, my husband said it looked like roadkill. :D The name has stuck. He gobbled it up anyway.
     
  17. jock

    jock

    Messages:
    1,310
    Likes Received:
    15
    Exp:
    At home cook
    All this talk of roasted chicken got my mouth watering so I just had to do it. So I "whacked the backbone out" and the keel bone and the wish bone (makes for easier carving.) Some garlic butter under the skin, S&P and in the oven she goes. 450 for 15 minutes and another 40 minutes or so at 375. Perfect finished temperatures, the juices were clear but after a rest while I did the garlic mashers and some beans, the hip joint was still red :mad: like my face I'm sure.
    But, the breast meat and thigh meat was good.

    Jock
     
  18. chef heather

    chef heather

    Messages:
    44
    Likes Received:
    10
    OT...but I just typed "h e l l" in another thread and the Board Swiffer (a/k/a "profanity filter") gave me #### instead. :rolleyes: You're lucky your spatchcock remained in the upright position. ;) It's a grand word, indeed. ;)
     
  19. hans.schallenbe

    hans.schallenbe

    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    10
    when the juices are clear from the cavites. then the bird is done. temperature 180 degrees celsius to start and the last 10 - 15 minutes you can increase. the time of roasting depends on the size of your bird. core temperature based on haccp should be 74 d c.

    if you want to butter roast it, you will get excellent results,especially in juciness.

    hans
     
  20. tnikibean

    tnikibean

    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    160 at the breast is the best.