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Roasting a Chicken


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

yeah but it touches the grates with more force, or something. yeah yeah, better contact.

like you said, there are so many factors, that it's just about impossible to say that one method is noticeably better than the other. and if a flat bird looks good on the plate, flatten 'er out i say. and yeah, it impresses people. :biggrin:

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

yeah but it touches the grates with more force, or something. yeah yeah, better contact.

like you said, there are so many factors, that it's just about impossible to say that one method is noticeably better than the other. and if a flat bird looks good on the plate, flatten 'er out i say. and yeah, it impresses people. :biggrin:

Why is everyone being so goddamned agreeable tonight?

Arthur Johnson, aka "fresco"
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I have read all these posts with great interest. I have a question. I've read so much about brining chicken ...I mean, SO MUCH...and it made it sound so incredible...so I tried it. Mind you, I literally grew up cooking chicken...we had it EVERY Sunday for dinner when I from the time I was born till ...I don't know when. And chicken is probably my favorite thing to cook. But I never cooked chicken and have it turn out dry, so I'm sort of wondering exactly WHAT it is about brining the chicken. When I did it, it seemed like it was just wayyyyyy too salty for me. Maybe I did something wrong. I've cooked chicken practically every way imaginable (except for that beer can thing) and I'm just wondering about what it is that makes the brining so alluring. And I've never trussed a chicken....only when I use that "set it and forget it" thingy where you use the elastic bands to hold the legs up so they don't drag on the bottom. :huh:

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

yeah but it touches the grates with more force, or something. yeah yeah, better contact.

like you said, there are so many factors, that it's just about impossible to say that one method is noticeably better than the other. and if a flat bird looks good on the plate, flatten 'er out i say. and yeah, it impresses people. :biggrin:

The brick is good. I call it my brickon chickon. I think the weight helps to make it a more uniform thickness and more contact with the grate.

peak performance is predicated on proper pan preparation...

-- A.B.

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I  I'm sort of wondering exactly WHAT it is about brining the chicken. When I did it, it seemed like it was just wayyyyyy too salty for me. Maybe I did something wrong.

Take it away, fellas.

(And I've had the same experience.)

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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I have not cooked a bird whole in years. Just cut it in quarters (breasts separated, legs with thighs attached), brine for an hour or so and then dry very well preferably uncovered in the fridge. I preheat the oven to 550°, start the searing on the stove top, skin side down and transfer to the floor of the oven. I turn when the skin is brown and crisp and cook the breasts for just a few minutes on the other side to about 140°. I continue cooking the dark meat while the breasts are resting. This method works like a charm.

Ruth Friedman

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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.

S'okay, tommy. I've done breasts like that. Boned them, skin to the skillet, about five minutes, flip, bung in 400 oven for fifteen minutes. Better if you throw the bones back on top though and remove before plating.

"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.

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

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...I'm sort of wondering exactly WHAT it is about brining the chicken. When I did it, it seemed like it was just wayyyyyy too salty for me. Maybe I did something wrong. I've cooked chicken practically every way imaginable (except for that beer can thing) and I'm just wondering about what it is that makes the brining so alluring.

There are a few things thast could have gone wrong: Maybe you started out with a chicken that was already salted? Maybe your brine was too salty? Maybe you are very sensitive to salt?

There are two things that make brining so alluring: 1) You can get a lot of extra flavor into the meat (primarily salt, but I also use some sugar and sometimes use herbs and other aromatics); and 2) you can get a lot of extra moisture into the chicken. If you have never ever had a problem with dry breasts or underdone legs when cooking poultry, then you are one of perhaps 10 people in the world for whom that is the case. That said, people have different preferences when it comes to the doneness of poultry. I know some people who don't consider breast meat sufficiently cooked unless it is what I would consider unacceptably dry, and other people are just fine with what I would consider underdone leg meat. Brining allows the cook to achieve a chicken where the leg meat is completely cooked through and the breast meat is still moist enough that fluids run out when it is cut.

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 spatchcock so often that I find I can remove the backbone with poultry shears (which is all you really need to do) plus cut out the breast bone and those funny shaped ones attached to the leg bones in around 2 minutes, so I almost always spatchcock. The added bonus is that I throw the raw bones into a bag in the freezer which I turn into chicken stock every time it fills up.

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.

I have around 50/50 success with this technique, abeit I am trying it in the oven rather than on a grill. I think one of the important elements of pollo al mattone is to preheat the brick as well. Is that what our brick-users are doing?

--

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Sam is on the money: either you made a mistake, or you don't like the results. The former can be remedied; the latter is a matter of taste.

The most common error I see (aside from brining a kosher chicken, or one that's been injected with enhancements at the processing plant) is that of substituting table salt for kosher salt. Somewhere earlier in this thread, I gave proportions, but you can assume that table salt is twice as "powerful" for a given volume as Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt, and 50% more than Morton Kosher Salt. (Note that if you're weighing your salt, you should use the same weight regardless of brand or type.)

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

Eat more chicken skin.

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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 spatchcock so often that I find I can remove the backbone with poultry shears (which is all you really need to do) plus cut out the breast bone and those funny shaped ones attached to the leg bones in around 2 minutes, so I almost always spatchcock. The added bonus is that I throw the raw bones into a bag in the freezer which I turn into chicken stock every time it fills up.

Spoken like a man without benefit of three children (and no, ferrets don't count). Five minutes saved on bypassing a spatchcock is five minutes earned, especially on a school night.

And while I save meaty scraps, too, I don't fret much if I miss a few. Whole chicken legs are so cheap, and so often on sale, that I don't mind buying a few pounds of them when I need to make stock.

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

Eat more chicken skin.

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The "brick" vs "no brick" debate and others makes me think that eGullet could really use a forum and an expert (or more likely, experts) to verify or debunk cooking tricks, gimmicks and claims. This would be a valuable public service, although the downside is it would tend to shorten many eGullet debates. :biggrin:

Arthur Johnson, aka "fresco"
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(Note that if you're weighing your salt, you should use the same weight regardless of brand or type.)

even with surface area considerations? :hmmm:

Surface area (related to granule size and shape) matters when you're measuring by volume. If you measure out a cup of Kosher salt, you'll see it weighs significantly less than a cup of table salt -- hence the differing proportions for different types.

But a pound of salt is a pound of salt, regardless of crystal shape or size. And of course, once it's dissolved, surface area doesn't matter.

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

Eat more chicken skin.

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Surface area (related to granule size and shape) matters when you're measuring by volume. If you measure out a cup of Kosher salt, you'll see it weighs significantly less than a cup of table salt -- hence the differing proportions for different types.

But a pound of salt is a pound of salt, regardless of crystal shape or size. And of course, once it's dissolved, surface area doesn't matter.

i understand granule size as it relates to weight and volume. but i'm wondering it if all dissolves. mine doesn't always, even though i use hot water at the beginning. or perhaps i should say that i don't go nuts trying to get it all to dissolve, which i suppose is defeating the purpose. :wacko:

also, are diamond crystal and morton different sizes? i've used both, and i use them pretty much the same. unless i'm adjusting and i don't realize it.

Edited by tommy (log)
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also, are diamond crystal and morton different sizes?  i've used both, and i use them pretty much the same.  unless i'm adjusting and i don't realize it.

I learned, while shopping with Guajolote at Penzey's last week, that the grain size and texture of Diamond Crystal and Morton kosher salts are very different. I'm not expert enough to quantify the differences, but the DC stuff is flakier...can someone please elaborate?

=R=

Edited by ronnie_suburban (log)

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

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ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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Aside from salt and sugar (the sugar, as I understand it, helps to prevent the salt from hardening the meat) is it worth adding anything else to a brine, especially for something that will be grilled? Can chicken or pork actually sufficient flavor from herbs, spices and other things to make a difference?

Arthur Johnson, aka "fresco"
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Aside from salt and sugar (the sugar, as I understand it, helps to prevent the salt from hardening the meat) is it worth adding anything else to a brine, especially for something that will be grilled? Can chicken or pork actually sufficient flavor from herbs, spices and other things to make a difference?

In my experience, no...I brine with salt only (and here's the mantra: quarter cup kosher, 4 cups water) and add flavor with a rub, mop, or other surface treatment. I find that sugar in the brine tends to make pork hammy, which isn't too bad, but I don't really like it with chicken.

Jim

olive oil + salt

Real Good Food

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Aside from salt and sugar (the sugar, as I understand it, helps to prevent the salt from hardening the meat) is it worth adding anything else to a brine,  especially for something that will be grilled? Can chicken or pork actually sufficient flavor from herbs, spices and other things to make a difference?

I'd like to hear the reasoning on this. I've never heard it before.

It seems to me that unless it's water soluble, it's not going to be able to infiltrate the meat in the same way as the salt. Even then, the size of the molecules could inhibit osmosis of some ingredients (I'm thinking of polysaccharides).

So I don't usually bother with spice and herbs, since much of their flavor is in the form of oils.

Aromatics like onions, garlic, celery and so forth seem (to me) to have limited success, unless you want to sweat them first or boil them in the brine and let it cool. More trouble than it's worth, in my book.

However, fruit juices and ciders do work, as do vinegars. I often add lemon or lime juice to brines for chicken. On her foodblog, I think fifi mentioned sour orange juice for pork, and I've used sherry vinegar with tenderloins.

I'm with Jim on the sugar. I'll add it in small quantities to pork sometimes.

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

Eat more chicken skin.

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Aside from salt and sugar (the sugar, as I understand it, helps to prevent the salt from hardening the meat) is it worth adding anything else to a brine,  especially for something that will be grilled? Can chicken or pork actually sufficient flavor from herbs, spices and other things to make a difference?

I'd like to hear the reasoning on this. I've never heard it before.

It seems to me that unless it's water soluble, it's not going to be able to infiltrate the meat in the same way as the salt. Even then, the size of the molecules could inhibit osmosis of some ingredients (I'm thinking of polysaccharides).

So I don't usually bother with spice and herbs, since much of their flavor is in the form of oils.

Aromatics like onions, garlic, celery and so forth seem (to me) to have limited success, unless you want to sweat them first or boil them in the brine and let it cool. More trouble than it's worth, in my book.

However, fruit juices and ciders do work, as do vinegars. I often add lemon or lime juice to brines for chicken. On her foodblog, I think fifi mentioned sour orange juice for pork, and I've used sherry vinegar with tenderloins.

I'm with Jim on the sugar. I'll add it in small quantities to pork sometimes.

In The Art of Charcuterie, Jane Grigson says sugar is added "to counteract the hardening effects on the meat of salt and saltpeter."

Edited by fresco (log)
Arthur Johnson, aka "fresco"
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In The Art of Charcuterie, Jane Grigson says  sugar is added "to counteract the hardening effects on the meat of salt and saltpeter."

With all due respect, that's not reasoning, is it? She's going to have to do better than that.

I think meat is submerged in a solution of salt, saltpeter and sugar, then removed from the solution and allowed to dry. In this case, yes, I could easily see sugar helping out, since it's hygroscopic. But that's curing, not brining.

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

Eat more chicken skin.

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In The Art of Charcuterie, Jane Grigson says  sugar is added "to counteract the hardening effects on the meat of salt and saltpeter."

With all due respect, that's not reasoning, is it? She's going to have to do better than that.

I think meat is submerged in a solution of salt, saltpeter and sugar, then removed from the solution and allowed to dry. In this case, yes, I could easily see sugar helping out, since it's hygroscopic. But that's curing, not brining.

I'm not a chemist, and you may be right. I started brining stuff after reading Grigson's book (she was considered authoritative enough that Charcuterie was translated into French and widely followed there, the home of charcuterie.)

Pretty well every brining recipe I've seen since mentions sugar, without going into why.

It may well be one of those things like pan searing a roast. For years, food writers said this was done "to seal in the juices." More recently, food writers say this is crap, and the reason to do this is to give a better flavor to the roast. But the reason doesn't matter so much as the result.

Arthur Johnson, aka "fresco"
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