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Keith_W

The Ultimate Roast Chicken

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I cooked a 2.75# fryer tonight that I prepared from Judy Rogers Zuni Cafe Cookbook recipe. I let it sit in the refrigerator for two days and roasted at 475 for about 45 minutes. By far the best chicken I have ever had. Not the best photo but definitely the best bird. Don't try this without a strong vent hood as it will set off the fire alarms for sure.

P1020319(1).JPG

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I cooked a 2.75# fryer tonight that I prepared from Judy Rogers Zuni Cafe Cookbook recipe. I let it sit in the refrigerator for two days and roasted at 475 for about 45 minutes. By far the best chicken I have ever had. Not the best photo but definitely the best bird. Don't try this without a strong vent hood as it will set off the fire alarms for sure.

I am a huge fan of the Zuni method. I agree on the need for a strong vent hood!

I've made two mods (or maybe one) to the recipe. People who would let me know otherwise say it is the best roast chicken they've had.

First, I let the chicken sit uncovered on its back on a grate in the fridge for at least six hours. The skin tightens up and seemingly gets thinner. Maybe this is part of the original.

Second, I cook it on my Big Green Egg at 700 F at the pan. You need a small bird (I use Eberly 3.5 lbs) or you'll overlook the outside. Two birds work great in a large cast iron pan if you need more chicken. Oil the whole bird. Back 12 minutes, breast 10, each leg 5. Then test temp and about 3 minutes on part that needs to come to temp (always breast for me). 37 minutes for whole bird. I dis a 2.5 lb in 25 minutes.

The skin is super crispy and the meat unbelievably tender a juicy.

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I was using the Zuni method with great success...then...along came the Char-Broil Big Easy Oil-Less Turkey Fryer...No need for venting.

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I am not sure why, when it comes to roasting chicken, the definition of "crispy" gets very elastic. You see famous chefs, blogs, America's Test Kitchen, etc. can't seem to tell the difference between nicely browned and crispy skin.

So many "The best", "Perfect" ways to make crispy chicken. High heat, low heat, dry brine, wet brine, salt, marinate, herb under the skin, spatchcock, plaster with butter, inject with secrete flavoring --------.

I decided to roast one without add anything, just chicken, not even pepper, with not even a grain of salt. Just a pure experiment in cooking thermal dynamics.

The chicken was not store pre-soaked. The only thing I did to it was to remove the bag of giblets and some extra fat. I never truss a chicken or turkey. Trussing produces soggy anemic skin and uncooked meat.

The chicken went into the sous vide cooker at 155 F for 5 hours, then into the dehydrator set at 150 F for 5 hours. While I was pre-heating the oven, the chicken was put into the freezer for about 20 minutes.

Once the oven got to be 550 F, I removed the kitchen's smoke alarm, turned on the exhaust fan, and put the chicken into the oven to roast.

Turning the bird a couple of times, it took about 5, 10? minutes and the experiment was finished.

There was no need to rest the chicken with sous vide cooking. Uniformly juicy and tender meat is a given with sous vide cooking.

Like the golden fragile layer on a perfect creme brulee, the skin turned out to be so shatteringly crispy, even handling the chicken gently cracked the skin in a few places.

A simple quick dipping sauce was all needed to enjoy this perfectly pure poultry pleasure.

dcarch

roastedchicken3_zpsee0d580d.jpg

roastedchicken2_zps8d0e2fa2.jpg

roastedchicken_zps02d6d17a.jpg


Edited by dcarch (log)
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That's pretty cool - the next time I have 12 hours to roast a chicken, that's what I'm doing!

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I bet a dunk in hot oil would produce the same effect ala the turkey porchetta discussed elsewhere. That'd knock 5 hours off the time.

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I was using the Zuni method with great success...then...along came the Char-Broil Big Easy Oil-Less Turkey Fryer...No need for venting.

A combination of the Zuni skin drying and salting with the BE would probably be the best of all!

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The BE does produce a crispy skin, but using Zuni salting and drying would take it over the top! Made the Chinese salted chicken that way, and yes!

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I am not sure why, when it comes to roasting chicken, the definition of "crispy" gets very elastic. You see famous chefs, blogs, America's Test Kitchen, etc. can't seem to tell the difference between nicely browned and crispy skin.

So many "The best", "Perfect" ways to make crispy chicken. High heat, low heat, dry brine, wet brine, salt, marinate, herb under the skin, spatchcock, plaster with butter, inject with secrete flavoring --------.

I decided to roast one without add anything, just chicken, not even pepper, with not even a grain of salt. Just a pure experiment in cooking thermal dynamics.

The chicken was not store pre-soaked. The only thing I did to it was to remove the bag of giblets and some extra fat. I never truss a chicken or turkey. Trussing produces soggy anemic skin and uncooked meat.

The chicken went into the sous vide cooker at 155 F for 5 hours, then into the dehydrator set at 150 F for 5 hours. While I was pre-heating the oven, the chicken was put into the freezer for about 20 minutes.

Once the oven got to be 550 F, I removed the kitchen's smoke alarm, turned on the exhaust fan, and put the chicken into the oven to roast.

Turning the bird a couple of times, it took about 5, 10? minutes and the experiment was finished.

There was no need to rest the chicken with sous vide cooking. Uniformly juicy and tender meat is a given with sous vide cooking.

Like the golden fragile layer on a perfect creme brulee, the skin turned out to be so shatteringly crispy, even handling the chicken gently cracked the skin in a few places.

A simple quick dipping sauce was all needed to enjoy this perfectly pure poultry pleasure.

dcarch

Looks awesome.

how do you sous vide a whole chicken? Do you fill a big zip bag with stock and put the chicken in and put the bag into the circ?

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Trussing produces soggy anemic skin and uncooked meat.

With all due respect to your skills and experience, dcarch, this has never proved true for me. Nor Julia Child or Marcella Hazan. I suspect that there's a bigger picture rather than a hard and fast rule here.

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On the trussing - think the concept is that the splayed parts allow crisping and browning of the "armpits" as opposed to them being tight against the main frame. What is the big picture on trussing other than keeping the bird compacted for presentation? I would be interested regarding the theory.

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On the trussing - think the concept is that the splayed parts allow crisping and browning of the "armpits" as opposed to them being tight against the main frame. What is the big picture on trussing other than keeping the bird compacted for presentation? I would be interested regarding the theory.

Your question got me to Google the subject. These are the first two articles I found on the subject. I'm sure there's plenty more.

http://www.fifteenspatulas.com/should-you-truss-a-chicken-or-not/

http://shine.yahoo.com/shine-food/trussing-a-chicken--do-i-really-have-to-do-that--174359162.html

Hope this helps in some way.


Edited by Shel_B (log)
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I do think that trussing has its place.

It's not purely for looks.

Trussing works good with rotisserie birds (to keep legs and wings from turning into cinders) and when browning a whole bird in a skillet or the like (trussing makes the bird much easier to handle.)

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Trussing produces soggy anemic skin and uncooked meat.

With all due respect to your skills and experience, dcarch, this has never proved true for me. Nor Julia Child or Marcella Hazan. I suspect that there's a bigger picture rather than a hard and fast rule here.

If you look at my second picture, you can see that the "armpit" is totally crispy, which will not happen if the bird is trussed.

There are four "armpits" in a chicken which I like to get them all crispy.

I am not sure why, when it comes to roasting chicken, the definition of "crispy" gets very elastic. You see famous chefs, blogs, America's Test Kitchen, etc. can't seem to tell the difference between nicely browned and crispy skin.

So many "The best", "Perfect" ways to make crispy chicken. High heat, low heat, dry brine, wet brine, salt, marinate, herb under the skin, spatchcock, plaster with butter, inject with secrete flavoring --------.

I decided to roast one without add anything, just chicken, not even pepper, with not even a grain of salt. Just a pure experiment in cooking thermal dynamics.

The chicken was not store pre-soaked. The only thing I did to it was to remove the bag of giblets and some extra fat. I never truss a chicken or turkey. Trussing produces soggy anemic skin and uncooked meat.

The chicken went into the sous vide cooker at 155 F for 5 hours, then into the dehydrator set at 150 F for 5 hours. While I was pre-heating the oven, the chicken was put into the freezer for about 20 minutes.

Once the oven got to be 550 F, I removed the kitchen's smoke alarm, turned on the exhaust fan, and put the chicken into the oven to roast.

Turning the bird a couple of times, it took about 5, 10? minutes and the experiment was finished.

There was no need to rest the chicken with sous vide cooking. Uniformly juicy and tender meat is a given with sous vide cooking.

Like the golden fragile layer on a perfect creme brulee, the skin turned out to be so shatteringly crispy, even handling the chicken gently cracked the skin in a few places.

A simple quick dipping sauce was all needed to enjoy this perfectly pure poultry pleasure.

dcarch

Looks awesome.

how do you sous vide a whole chicken? Do you fill a big zip bag with stock and put the chicken in and put the bag into the circ?

I just put the chicken in a large enough bag. There is no need to fill the cavity with stock. The cooking heat is from the outside in thru conduction. Filling the inside would not serve much purpose.

dcarch

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On the trussing - think the concept is that the splayed parts allow crisping and browning of the "armpits" as opposed to them being tight against the main frame. What is the big picture on trussing other than keeping the bird compacted for presentation? I would be interested regarding the theory.

Your question got me to Google the subject. These are the first two articles I found on the subject. I'm sure there's plenty more.

http://www.fifteenspatulas.com/should-you-truss-a-chicken-or-not/

http://shine.yahoo.com/shine-food/trussing-a-chicken--do-i-really-have-to-do-that--174359162.html

Hope this helps in some way.

On the trussing - think the concept is that the splayed parts allow crisping and browning of the "armpits" as opposed to them being tight against the main frame. What is the big picture on trussing other than keeping the bird compacted for presentation? I would be interested regarding the theory.

Your question got me to Google the subject. These are the first two articles I found on the subject. I'm sure there's plenty more.

http://www.fifteenspatulas.com/should-you-truss-a-chicken-or-not/

http://shine.yahoo.com/shine-food/trussing-a-chicken--do-i-really-have-to-do-that--174359162.html

Hope this helps in some way.

My gut is that it has something to do with the sealing.

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Come to think of it, I may not be correct on this, I don't think the Chinese ever truss their roasted chickens, Peking ducks, etc.

dcarch

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I figure this would be a worthy first post in what is an excellent forum. Hello to everyone!

Desired final cooking temperature? I like it at around 65 C in the thickest part of the breast.

Stuffing? None.

Trussed? Nope.

Cooking position? Butterflied, skin-side up.

Cooking time? Depends on the size of the bird, usually in the range of 40 to 70 minutes, plus 15 minutes of resting.

Heat source? Convection oven. Temperature of oven set at 250 C.

Seasoning? I'm a firm believer in dry brining. For chicken, a scattering of kosher salt all around the bird along with 48 hours in the fridge is my usual modus operandi.

Using this method, I get moist, delicious breast meat with devilishly crispy skin. Great reviews from friends and family alike. This particular recipe has never let me down either (not that it means much).

However I am quite interested in Heston Blumenthal's approach to roast chicken as shown in his "How To Cook Like Heston" programme. I don't own a sous-vide cooker so his method of slow roasting at low temperatures in an oven is as close as I get to sous-vide cookery.

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I do it Heston's way, low and slow, and it never fails.

But as important as technique, method and seasoning is the chicken itself. Cheap super market chicken simply can't compete with a real free range one.

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My gut is that it has something to do with the sealing.

What sealing? What is "it?"


Edited by Shel_B (log)
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This morning's NYT obit for Zuni chef Judy Rodgers actually features her iconic roast chicken recipe. Awfully nice, dontcha think?

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And it is hers that I think is the ultimate roast chicken. Fitting that something so simple yet so perfect would be her legacy.

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If you skewer your (unstuffed) chicken closed at the cavity and neck, you don't have the dry breast problem and you avoid trussing altogether. Just thinking...

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