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lullyloo

Roasting a Chicken

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Ovens cook primarily by radiation, not convection.

Not true. Look it up in "On Food and Cooking." I thought that as well at one time, but it turns out to be incorrect (unless I am remembering incorrectly -- will check when I get home).

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baking... rely on a combination of radiation from the walls and, to a lesser extent, air convection to heat the food

I'd say that would be about right. Although, I hope by walls is also meant the floor and the roof of the oven. In addition, it would seem that the browning is done by radiation.

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This thread reminds me of Mark Bittman's "Fastest Roast Chicken."

Put a cast-iron pan in the oven while you're preheating to 450. Season the chicken and plop it in the pan. (I put a temperature probe in the thigh before the plopping.) Wait 30 minutes, or until the temp is 155 or so.

Done. One of the best effort/result ratios to be found in cooking.

Geez -- does that really work?? I've been doing the basic side-side-breast up thing at about 400 degrees and it still takes an hour or so. Can the chicken really be done in half an hour with no turning?

I, too, was a non-believer, until I tried it.

dave, have you ever done this with a spatchcocked chicken? (was that the right word?)

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My mother won't salt her pasta water.
That's interesting... I have always felt that pasta cooked in unsalted water tasted insipid. Mileage varies from person to person though, I supose. Does your mother avoid salt because she is concerned about the health risks (which only actually affect a small precentage of the population) or just because she doesn't like salty flavors?

It's a health thing, not a taste thing.

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Ovens cook primarily by radiation, not convection.

Not true. Look it up in "On Food and Cooking." I thought that as well at one time, but it turns out to be incorrect (unless I am remembering incorrectly -- will check when I get home).

see page 615 of McGee

baking... rely on a combination of radiation from the walls and, to a lesser extent, air convection to heat the food

Yep... I must have remembered incorrectly.

Strangely, however, on page 613 he says:

At typical boiling, baking and frying temperatures, conduction and convection tend to be more significant then infrared radiation. [Emphasis mine]

That must be what I was remembering, and it does seem hard to reconcile this statement with what you quoted. This statement, along with McGee's statement on the same page that the rate of radiation is relatively inefficient below about 1800F lead me to conclude that ovens were largely cooking via conduction (especially when one considers the conduction effects of vaporized liquids in the semi-enclosed environment of a modern oven).

Anyway, when it really comes down to it, the main thing is that an oven is a really inefficient way to heat anything, regardless of the mechanism.


--

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This thread reminds me of Mark Bittman's "Fastest Roast Chicken."

Put a cast-iron pan in the oven while you're preheating to 450. Season the chicken and plop it in the pan. (I put a temperature probe in the thigh before the plopping.) Wait 30 minutes, or until the temp is 155 or so.

Done. One of the best effort/result ratios to be found in cooking.

Geez -- does that really work?? I've been doing the basic side-side-breast up thing at about 400 degrees and it still takes an hour or so. Can the chicken really be done in half an hour with no turning?
I, too, was a non-believer, until I tried it.
dave, have you ever done this with a spatchcocked chicken? (was that the right word?)

I don't want to speak for Dave, but when I employ this technique it is always with spatchcocked poultry. Works especially well with multiple small fowl such as squab, poussin, cornish hen, etc. With chickens, I sometimes like to flop them skin-side down in a preheated skillet, cook it on the stove for 5 minutes of so, and then toss it under the broiler for 15 minutes or so before flipping the whole thing over and tossing it in the oven for another 15 minutes. A great advantage of this technique is that all the juices from the poultry are conveniently preserved in the skillet, just crying out for deglazing, a brief reduction and mounting with butter.


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OK, I give. 

Has spatchcooked been defined anywhere on this Science Guy thread?  I can picture "spatchcooked," but I may be, once again, letting my imagination run away with me.

From the link above:

spatch·cock    ( P )  Pronunciation Key  (spchkk)

n.

    A dressed and split chicken for roasting or broiling on a spit.

tr.v. spatch·cocked, spatch·cock·ing, spatch·cocks

1. To prepare (a dressed chicken) for grilling by splitting open.

2. To introduce or interpose, especially in a labored or unsuitable manner: “Some excerpts from a Renaissance mass are spatchcocked into Gluck's pallid Don Juan music†(Alan Rich).

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--guajolote,Sep 3 2003, 06:44 PM] To introduce or interpose, especially in a labored or unsuitable manner: “Some excerpts from a Renaissance mass are spatchcocked into Gluck's pallid Don Juan music†(Alan Rich).

Thanks, Dean. Now I get it. And I am so down with the assessment of Gluck's "Don Juan."

And here I've been spatchcocking all along without knowing!


Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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And here I've been spatchcocking all along without knowing!

I would be careful about admitting that to the general public. :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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i spatchcocked a bird tonite. i went right ahead and took out the breast bone as well (sorry jinny - left the skin on), and some other bone that i saw whilst poking around. garlic, EVOO, s/p, rosemary, lemon juice all over. in the oven at 400 for 50 minutes or so. and it was right on. and a lot easier to plate/eat. i like this approach.

next time, big brick on top on the grill.


Edited by tommy (log)

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dave, have you ever done this with a spatchcocked chicken?  (was that the right word?)

If I spatchcock a chicken for the oven, I handle it pretty much the way Sam does. But more often, a spatchcocked chicken will go skin down on the grill, over indirect heat for about 40 minutes -- no turning. Usually I use lump charcoal, but if I have time, I'll soak a few chunks of hardwood and toss them on the hot coals, too. Close the lid and I get an semi-smoked chicken that's pretty hard to beat under any circumstances, spatchcock or no.

But all this spatchcocking (and Sam's method or broiling or mine of grilling) is quite far from the utter simplicity of tj's original post and my follow up.

Here's the drill: I'm on my way home, a little late, but the allure of roast chicken will not be denied. There is no time for brining, no time for spatchcocking. I call my daughter and tell her to put the pan in the oven and turn the oven on. I pick up a chicken on my way. By the time I get home, the oven and pan are hot. I don my custom-made maggiethecat apron, and I remove the chicken from the packaging. I rinse it, dry it, probe it and put it in the pan. It squeals and hisses and sizzles. Thirty minutes later, we have roast chicken. How easy can you get? Where is there a better convergence of cost, effort and taste? It cost me three bucks, and took me five minutes, tops. I have not turned, and I have not basted. I have not spatchcocked.

(Six times I got to say spatchcock [ooh, that's seven]. Thank you, tommy.)


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

Eat more chicken skin.

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i spatchcocked a bird tonite. i went right ahead and took out the breast bone as well (sorry jinny - left the skin on), and some other bone that i saw whilst poking around. garlic, EVOO, s/p, rosemary, lemon juice all over. in the oven at 400 for 50 minutes or so. and it was right on. and a lot easier to plate/eat. i like this approach.

Sounds great, tommy.

next time, big brick on top on the grill.

The brick is for tourists. Absolutely unnecessary, and actually makes the chicken more prone to burning. You don't press on your burgers while you grill 'em, do you?

Don't mash the bird.


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

Eat more chicken skin.

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i spatchcocked a bird tonite. i went right ahead and took out the breast bone as well (sorry jinny - left the skin on), and some other bone that i saw whilst poking around. garlic, EVOO, s/p, rosemary, lemon juice all over. in the oven at 400 for 50 minutes or so. and it was right on. and a lot easier to plate/eat. i like this approach.

Sounds great, tommy.

next time, big brick on top on the grill.

The brick is for tourists. Absolutely unnecessary, and actually makes the chicken more prone to burning. You don't press on your burgers while you grill 'em, do you?

Don't mash the bird.

Ok, I'm a tourist. But I do use a brick when grilling a spatchcocked chicken. Never came close to burning one, and maybe it's my imagination, but it tastes to me like it is juicier with a brick than without.


Arthur Johnson, aka "fresco"

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Ok, I'm a tourist. But I do use a brick when grilling a spatchcocked chicken. Never came close to burning one, and maybe it's my imagination, but it tastes to me like it is juicier with a brick than without.

I'll bite. I have a number of questions, but first, can you explain this? It's counter-intuitive, isn't it?


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

Eat more chicken skin.

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maybe it's my imagination, but it tastes to me like it is juicier with a brick than without.

I've never used a brick, but I've heated up a cast iron frying pan in lieu.

Again, don't know if it's imagination, but it does produce awesome juicy chicken.

And Archie: The get the oven and pan hot, blast for thirty minutes method works beautifully too. Check out "Zuni Cafe."

In fact: Brine, no brine. Low heat, high heat. Trussed long or trussed short. Stuffed under the skin or not. Stuffed or not. Spatchcocked or not. They can all produce an amazing roast chicken.

And trust me, I know. I've done it all.


Edited by maggiethecat (log)

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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Counterintuitive if you are using a burger as your standard. But think that burgers are prone to leak juices because they're ground meat and mashing just makes it worse. Chickens with their skin on are a sealed unit. One thought is that a brick helps to squeeze out more of that fat from under the skin, which helps to baste the bird. But science was never my strong subject.


Arthur Johnson, aka "fresco"

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Absolutely unnecessary, and actually makes the chicken more prone to burning. You don't press on your burgers while you grill 'em, do you?

more prone to "burning" is good if you like even char. and i think the brick isn't really squishing out the juice. it's really not that heavy. i think it's more to provide more surface area on the grill, which might lead to less cooking time and a better product. those are just my assuptions, though.

edit: i'm now beyond typos and misspellings and i've moved right into putting strange words where they don't belated.


Edited by tommy (log)

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Don't know how orthodox this is, but I do about 20 minutes on one side and then flip it.


Arthur Johnson, aka "fresco"

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Whatever works, I say. Our differing results could have to do with a lot of factors: grill temp, brining/not brining, distance from the heat, which house the moon is in. And I exaggerated my experience. The fact is, I've never noticed that the brick made any difference at all, except to impress the neighborhood kids and gullible relatives.

I don't flip it, and that's probably the biggest difference. If I left the brick on for forty minutes, skin side down, I'd probably burn the bird on the grate. Sometimes I will rotate it, depending on how the coals are laying/burning down.


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

Eat more chicken skin.

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The fact is, I've never noticed that the brick made any difference at all, except to impress the neighborhood kids and gullible relatives.

you didn't notice that more of the bird was on the grates? :rolleyes:

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The fact is, I've never noticed that the brick made any difference at all, except to impress the neighborhood kids and gullible relatives.

you didn't notice that more of the bird was on the grates? :rolleyes:

It was spatchcocked, dude. It was as flat and grateful as it could possibly be.


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

Eat more chicken skin.

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maybe it's my imagination, but it tastes to me like it is juicier with a brick than without.

In fact: Brine, no brine. Low heat, high heat. Trussed long or trussed short. Stuffed under the skin or not. Stuffed or not. Spatchcocked or not. They can all produce an amazing roast chicken.

And trust me, I know. I've done it all.

I'm with Maggie on this one. Whatever works.


Arthur Johnson, aka "fresco"

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