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lullyloo

Roasting a Chicken

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Fifi and Dave:

Would you mind sharing your experiences roasting a chicken under a clay flower pot?

timing?

size of chicken?

temperature of oven?

quality of the flesh and skin?

Did you soak the claypot?

Was the pot completely unglazed?


Edited by Wolfert (log)

“C’est dans les vieux pots, qu’on fait la bonne soupe!”, or ‘it is in old pots that good soup is made’.

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I didn't do it. My sister did. (I think she did it because she saw Alton Brown do it on TV. I don't remember.) It was an unglazed terra cotta pot, kinda short and fat. She soaked it in water before upending it over the chicken. It came off for high temperature browning. I don't know the particulars of temperatures, etc. She said the chicken was really good but probably not worth the trouble. She went back to her chicken sitters. :biggrin:


Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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Spatchcock.


"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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thanks, Fifi.

I must suffer from clue deficit disorder, but the word "trouble" troubles me. Was it the extra step of soaking?


“C’est dans les vieux pots, qu’on fait la bonne soupe!”, or ‘it is in old pots that good soup is made’.

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I think she meant that now you have a chicken fat soaked flower pot to deal with. Then you have to keep track of when to take it off, turn the oven up, all that. With a chicken sitter, you plop the chicken in there and when it looks done, it is done and juicy and wonderful... so why mess up a perfectly good flower pot.

edit to add: spatchcock


Edited by fifi (log)

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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I didn't know that there was a trick until fifi said so. I read about it in Alton Brown's new book Gear for Your Kitchen (review in The Daily Gullet soon, I hope).

You put a brined, spiced-and-floured, 3- to 4-pound chicken into a lidded, unglazed, unsoaked terra-cotta pot, and put the pot in a relatively hot oven -- 450 F, I think. When the temperature of the bird reaches 150 F, you take it out of the oven and let it sit undisturbed until the temperature hits 165.

I was disappointed. Brown says, in effect, it's his roast chicken -- you know, the one you do when you want it to be right. Because of that, I'm going to try it again. Everybody, and every recipe -- within reason -- deserves a second chance, right?

Edit: I'm slow on the uptake here. But you can see that he's modified his technique for the recipe in the book. I don't think it's much of an improvement.


Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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My sister's chicken sitter

She has more than one. This is a variation on the beer can chicken trick. The only thing is, seeing the "dancing chickens" sitting in the oven or in the smoker kind of weirds me out. I just keep thinking they are going to break out into a version of the Can-Can. :laugh::laugh::laugh:


Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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thanks.

Fifi: If your sister ever does get around to roasting chicken in a flower pot tell her she can easily remove the greasiness with baking soda, a good brush and a little water.

Dave: Alton's recipe is very strange . I don't think placing a cold unglazed flower pot (with or without soaking) into a hot oven is a great idea.

Why the flour?


Edited by Wolfert (log)

“C’est dans les vieux pots, qu’on fait la bonne soupe!”, or ‘it is in old pots that good soup is made’.

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thanks. 

Fifi: If your sister ever does get around to roasting chicken in a flower pot tell her  she  can easily remove  the greasiness from  with baking soda, a good brush and a little water.

Dave: Alton's recipe is very strange . I don't think placing a cold unglazed flower pot (with or without soaking) into a hot oven is a great idea.

Why the flour?

Oh, she did roast the chicken with the flower pot. She does not scrub flower pots. She did with it what we do here in the south... She threw it out in the yard! :laugh::laugh::laugh:


Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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Dave: Alton's recipe is very strange . I don't think placing a cold unglazed flower pot (with or without soaking) into a hot oven is a great idea.

Why the flour?

Sorry, I left out the part that said to put the flower pot and lid in the oven during preheating. He's very clear on this issue (AB is big on flower pots; his f-p smoker is in the book, too, and he briefly reminisces about Good Ol' Days, an Atlanta restaurant of 70s-80s vintage that cooked and served nearly everything in unglazed terra-cotta). Putting unglazed, unsoaked terra-cotta in a hot oven will almost certainly break it.

The flour: I don't know. After brining, you oil the bird, then toss it in a paper bag with flour and spices. My guess is that it's an attempt to give the skin some crust in lieu of last-minute browning. But the instructions also say to put the chicken in the pot breast up. Since the flour trick would require additional fat (the initial oiling is just to get the spice mixture to adhere, I think) from the chicken to form a crust, you would think breast down (allowing the fat in the thighs and legs to trickle across the skin) would be more effective.

In case you can't tell, I also think the recipe is strange. And as a serious AB fan, I am more than puzzled.

Thanks for the baking soda tip. I'll try it before I toss the reeking pot out front next to the garden (a rusty pickup truck on cinderblocks -- right, fifi?)


Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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Dave, thanks for the clarification.

placing the chicken breast side up in a clay environment shouldn't be a problem. Having cooked chcikens in tagines, romertopfs, and in clay lined beehive ovens the breast doesn't suffer from not turning on sides, etc. Could it be the steamy atmosphere of a clay environment?. That is why the flour confused me?


“C’est dans les vieux pots, qu’on fait la bonne soupe!”, or ‘it is in old pots that good soup is made’.

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Another clarification: when I say breast up, I mean vertically. The chicken sits on its tail. (I knew I should have taken pictures.)

The chicken (and flour) browned, although there were some areas where the flour was still dry, and just baked -- it looked like the browned flour some people do in quantity to keep around for making roux.

If I understand what Brown is trying to accomplish, it's to create an oven within an oven, and smooth out temperature spikes due to oven cycling. Also, with the heated pot, you move the effective source of radiance closer to the food, which should promote browning. All of this makes sense. But I think you're right; the steam just fights this, effectively keeping the temperature lower.

And now, I hang my head, having just realized that Brown's design includes a vent -- the drain hole in the saucer. Well, my saucer doesn't have a drain. Next time, I'll put the chicken on the saucer (it's 12-1/2 inches), and turn the pot over it -- the pot does have a drain.

I'm sorry if my description doesn't make a lot of sense, and that I keep having to amend it. Should I take some pictures, or is it clear now? Or do you think this is not worth pursuing?


Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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Dave: you did enough. I do understand, but my mind is made up, you needn't confuse me with anymore facts!

Thanks.

P


“C’est dans les vieux pots, qu’on fait la bonne soupe!”, or ‘it is in old pots that good soup is made’.

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OK, Dave... That makes more sense. My sister upended the pot over the chicken so she had the vent hole working for her. She was using your plain and cheap terracotta pot and saucer but it was one of those that are kind of squat and wide so her chicken wasn't standing up. She didn't do the flour, though. What you are saying about the source of radiant heat also makes some sense. Heat is a really tricky thing.

(OT funny... I was in a working session with about 15 guys. One of them asked for a good layman's description of a "perfect black body". I immediately responded... "Michael Jordan". The radiation from their blushing was memorable.)


Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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As I understand it, the clay holds water in the unglazed walls, constantly basting the chicken during the first part of the cooking process, and usually imparting a unique flavor to the food. As the moisture gets sucked out of the clay like a wick during the later part of the roasting period, the chicken starts to brown. If you do it properly you'll have very little pan juices but the chicken will be incredibly moist.

This is even more evident when you make the spatchcocked chicken in a terracotta mattone (sur latable has them for 20 dollars). No juices leach out.


Edited by Wolfert (log)

“C’est dans les vieux pots, qu’on fait la bonne soupe!”, or ‘it is in old pots that good soup is made’.

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Brown's design includes a vent -- the drain hole in the saucer. Well, my saucer doesn't have a drain.

(Sorry to inject a silly detail into a fascinating thread...)

Uh...saucers should not have holes! That's why we buy them...so that the liquid in a plantpot doesn't cause white rings on the bedside table when you water your african violet.

Did Mr. Brown drill a hole in the saucer?


Edited by maggiethecat (log)

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Uh...saucers should not have holes! That's why we buy them...so that the liquid in a plantpot doesn't cause white rings on the bedside table when you water your african violet.

Did Mr. Brown drill a hole in the saucer?

Lily: I had the same question, but being a gardener of limited skill and experience (tomatoes and herbs only), I assumed that I was just ignorant. But I didn't see any drainable saucers at the landscape store.

As for drilling, I don't know, and he didn't say. Drilling stuff this soft seems dicey, though I suppose there are appropriate tools.

I don't think your comment is the least bit silly. As one of the patron saints of SSBs, Mr. Brown needs to be held to a pretty high standard of exactitude. 'twould be sad were we to find out he had feet of, er, terra cotta. Nevertheless, I missed a crucial part of the instructions, so I can't say that the technique is faulty.

Wolfert: the pot is not soaked; I think this is strictly a radiation thing. But I will say that the chicken was exceedingly moist.


Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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Dave: thanks but I was still on writing about flower pots in my head, but that's ok I live in my own little world where they know me.


“C’est dans les vieux pots, qu’on fait la bonne soupe!”, or ‘it is in old pots that good soup is made’.

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Wolfert: the pot is not soaked; I think this is strictly a radiation thing. But I will say that the chicken was exceedingly moist.

Now I am confused. My sister soaked her pot. I am sure that it dried out over the cooking time. I think the point is that the soaked pot gives up some steam and then when that is done, the radiation takes over. I will go searching for ABs method.

Maggiethecat is right. Saucers don't have holes. That is why you sit the chicken on the saucer and upend the pot over the chicken. The pot has the hole and lets the steam out.


Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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I think it is supposed to dry out during the cooking process then the food should just begin to brown, though it is a good idea to lift off the cover so the skin will turn extra crusty. . Miraculously this is just about the time the chicken is fully cooked (165). This is my experience in unglazed earthen covered pots that are soaked first.


“C’est dans les vieux pots, qu’on fait la bonne soupe!”, or ‘it is in old pots that good soup is made’.

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Just when I've been converted by Barbara Kafka's high heat roasting, all this comes along. Seriously, I've done chickens this way twice now (about 500 degrees, start to finish, breast up, tented for some of the time) and have never had such good results from any other method. Using a tip from CI (loathe as I am to admit it) I placed the chicken on sliced potatoes and onions, which absorbed the rendered fat and kept the smoking to a minimum and were pretty tasty as well.

But, I brined the chicken first, and I have a Hearthkit in my oven, so maybe those elements made a difference. I cooked by temperature rather than time, so I don't know how long it took, but I removed the chicken when the thigh reached 160. It was about 168 by the time I served it.

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I, too, have a hearthkit and love it. I think roasting chicken in it produces a great skin and an incomparable juicy flesh. But I think it is more to do with the terracotta than just the high heat.

Sometimes, I use the convection oven to heat up the hearthkit to 475 and after the chicken is in about 15 minutes, I turn off the oven (saving energy) and still get a fabulous chicken.


“C’est dans les vieux pots, qu’on fait la bonne soupe!”, or ‘it is in old pots that good soup is made’.

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A question for all the spatchcockers out there. Once your chicken is roasted, how do you prefer to carve it up for service?

With the patented Fowke stretch truss, I was able to remove the leq quarters and carve boneless supremes with a total of four strokes of the knife. I had a little more trouble boning the breast on a spatchcocked bird and ended up kind of mangling it. Maybe I'm just not used to the angles and need more practice?


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