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Monday, June 6, 2011

Update on the quest for the perfect home roasted chicken

So continuing on my mission to find the best method for roasting chicken at home, I've made a few modifications from the first time I roasted chicken.  They include not using a bowl to lift the chicken from the brine/excess moisture from the chicken, shortening the cooking time, and not roasting with veggies.  I intended to use baking soda on the skin to encourage crispness, but I had forgotten all about that.  It's okay.  Things still worked out.

If you forgot my original method for roasting chicken, take a quick here before continuing.

This time around, I used a 10" cast iron pan to roast my chicken.  It fit the chicken perfectly.  The fact that the cast iron pan is hot keeps both sides of the chicken seared and browned.  The juices from the chicken is available if I wanted to make a gravy out of it.  It's also much easier to clean as I have no dishwasher here.  So all positives.  What about the cooking method and the chicken itself?

I used the same dry brining method as last time, except putting the chicken breast side down to reabsorb the brine.  I also neglected to use the bowl to lift the chicken as I was testing it out to see if the artificial brine created from the juices of the chicken will help keep the breast anymore moist.  Results will be posted below.

So I preheated my oven again to 500F with my cast iron pan in there.  After my oven has preheated, I took out the pan and added a bit of oil to the pan.  I put the chicken down, breast side up.  Threw the pan back in and roasted it for 20 minutes breast side up.  Flipped it over, 10 minutes breast side down and I finished with another 10 minutes breast side up.  After just 40 minutes, the chicken registered at over 180F again.  Darn it. I guess the fact that it wasn't just a dry roast and the hot cast iron cooks the chicken encourages faster cooking.  Or maybe just uneven oven temperature.  But I feel 40 minutes is probably very little cooking so I don't think I will change the cooking time anymore.

The chicken skin this time around was more crisp.  It didn't lose it's crispiness due to the steam from vegetables.  I did roast some asparagus above the chicken and it didn't do anything to the chicken.  As far as flavor?  Same.  Juiciness/tenderness?  I would have to say that this chicken was about the same if not just a bit juicier than last time.  No real changes with the extra 10 minutes of cooking (again, probably due to the pan).  Only real change was the crispiness of the skin.

Next time?  I'll be keeping the cast iron pan.  Also, I'm probably going to continue to lift the chicken up with a bowl to ensure even more crispness on the skin.  I'll also try some compound butter underneath the skin.  We'll test that out to see how it goes.  This method for roasting chicken will definitely suffice, for now.