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Roasting a Chicken

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
My main question is the simplest: what's the ideal internal temperature for a whole cooked chicken? I just compared cookbooks and other sources; some say 140 degrees (James Peterson, who I normally trust with my life, but this seems pretty low) most say 160 or 165; one says 180!

I like my chicken moist, with a crisp browned skin (who doesn't) but I don't want to die from it.

Also, what do you see as the pros and cons of these methods:

1) oven cranked to 500 degrees all the way through, legs toward the hotter back side of the oven (according to Barbara Kafka).

2) 425 degrees the whole time, with a trippled sheet of foil over the breast meat for the first 15 minutes (Peterson).

3) 450 degrees for the first 10 minutes; 350 for the rest of the time, turning the bird twice (Alice Waters).
post #2 of 22
Roasting chicken, boy! It seems that every recipe has a different method.
First off, the breast meat and leg/thigh meat need to be cooked to a different temperature - the FDA recommends 165 degrees for the breast and 180 for the thigh. Your first instruction to cook to 140 allows for the temperature to rise as much as 15 degrees after the bird is removed from the oven and tented with foil to rest for a half hour or so before carving.
The oven temperatures all work to an extent but depend on other factors like whether you turn the bird on its back and sides during cooking. Is it butterflied? Is it stuffed? At screaming hot oven temperatures you need to cover the bird with foil after 1/2 an hour or so or the skin will scorch.
My personal preference is to start at 450 for the first 15 to 20 minutes then lower to 375 for the rest of the time. I came to that conclusion after lots of trial and error at various temperature combinations. But, because of the many variables, there are no hard and fast rules either. I would suggest that you try it for yourself and see what happens.

post #3 of 22
for whole chix i pretty much don't use a thermometer anymore. When the juices run clear out of the cavitiy its done.

On temp for parts, i have no prob pulling breast at about 150ish, carryover will take me to a nice, pink, juicy and safe temp. Thighs 160-170 or when juices run clear ;). BTW, i believe the FDA has lowered temps for poultry slightly in the last couple of years. Don't take my word for it but i think its know closer to 160 for "safe" chix.
hth, danny
post #4 of 22
Cooked a chicken last night, didn't feel like doing much supervising so I just let it cook at 400 degrees the whole way (when I pulled it the breast was 160 degrees, thighs around 180).

Put some garlic butter under the skin, some herbes de provence, turned out very juicy and tasted great.
post #5 of 22
For me, even slightly pink chicken meat is a fate worst than death. Pink beef, fine, but pink chicken or pork, forget about it :)

Although I've waffled back and forth between a few different theories over the years, right now I'm a fairly strict adherent to the low, consistent temperature philosophy. I always place the breast down, as this works to baste itself and then I roast them at 275 for a couple of hours until the white meat is done. I will then strip all the meat off and poach the dark meat a little further. I have no doubt my white meat hits 180, but the increase in temp is so gradual that I still get some very succulent moist tender meat. I also probably should mention that I seek out very small chickens so the meat starts out as tender as possible.
post #6 of 22
I've tried Peterson's method in Glorious French Food and the results were less than glorious. :(

He says heat the oven to 450F/230C; take a 4-pound/1.8kg chicken; put it breast-side up in a pan; (maybe) cover the breast with a piece of foil; bung it in the oven for 20 minutes, remove the foil, bake about another 30 minutes "until done" and let it rest 15 minutes.

Well, doing it that way, my breast (well, the chicken's actually :p ) was still just faintly pink, and really quite nice and juicy. But the dark meat was still blood raw. :eek: And my oven was a mess. :mad:

Then again, I cannot bring myself to roast a chicken as my mother did: 3 hours at 325F. :o

It's one of those cooking feats I love trying to get right, though! :D I brine if it's not a kosher chicken, and especially love putting herb butter under the skin. That goes a long way to keeping the breast moist while the dark meat finishes cooking. Mmmmm, roast chicken! :lips:
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
post #7 of 22
not to take this too far off topic ;) but i sear the suckers on all sides in a sautee pan, roaster, etc in evo, a little butter towards the end. Then they go breast side up into a med oven to finish. Most fryers are done in 45min or so-hour tops. If i truss add a few minutes to the time. Must rest at least 20-30 minutes.

The sear really starts the cooking on the sides/dark meat well, so all finishes pretty close to the same time. i"ve "roasted" many chixs in the sham at 250-275 and they just don't develop that roast flavor. Good sear and med heat does it for me :), not to mention any herbs, truffles, etc really get going.
hth, danny
post #8 of 22
Aside from the temperature issues(to each his/her own) I've found that seasoning the bird ahead and leaving it uncovored in the cooler to somewhat dry the skin gives good results.
post #9 of 22
Pork is safely cooked at 137 degrees. I prefer NOT to see pink pork or chicken/duck (dark meat) on my plates. It's just revolting to me. Chicken and Turkey sashimi??? OMG.... ::: GAGGING AS WE SPEAK ::::::::: ;) How about you??
post #10 of 22
I put mine in at 425F breast side down untrussed. Turn it breast side up halfway through cooking.

You can tell when the chicken is done by the way the skin pulls back on the drumsticks.
post #11 of 22
When I have time I use my convection oven for roasting, but when I'm in a hurry (weeknights!) I use my Sharp Convection/Microwave oven. I get a juicy, tender chicken with crisp skin, reminiscent of a rotisserie bird but with skin a bit less crisped (shouldn't eat it anyway, right?). It's programmed, but I learned to boost the weight of the bird when I punch in the settings because the thigh joints were still too rosy for my liking if I did it on exactly the weight of the chicken.

This makes roast chicken a possiblilty for those days when I get home at 5:00 and want dinner on the table in about an hour. The Sharp does the job in 42-46 minutes, depending on the bird. I can't complain! :D
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post #12 of 22
Getting the juices to run clear in the breast and thigh is easy enough but those pesky thigh/hip joints are a major problem for me. If I cook it long enough to get the pink out of the joint, the rest is overcooked. I've used Jaques Pepin's trick of splitting the skin at the at the hip area to allow the heat more direct access to thye joint. I've also given the bird 15 minutes on each side (leg up) before continuing cooking breast side up. That has worked too.
T.Haws has the right idea for crispy skin; resting for a period, uncovered in the fridge. Dry skin = crispy skin.
Wow, all this talk of roast chicken is making me crave the stuff :)

post #13 of 22
I usually whack the backbone out and squash it rather flat. Then season and roast at a high temperature. When my thermom says "176" or so inserted into the thigh, I remove it to rest and finish cooking. If I don't care about crisp skin, I tent with foil during those last 15 minutes of "cooking." And I always rub my breasts with butter before the chicken goes in the oven. Sometimes the chicken gets a little, too. Hee. ;) :p ;)
post #14 of 22
Is your restaurant hiring? ;)
post #15 of 22
Ah yes, the famous spatchcock. (No, I didn't say a bad word: that's when you do exactly what Heather described in the, uh, first sentence.) Speeds things up, and does give you a lovely, although flat, bird.

Actually, I mostly cut up the chicken (for cooking at home), so that I can remove parts as they are done. Rather a different presentation, but at least that way I can control the cooking perfectly.
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
post #16 of 22
I've heard of that too, Suzanne. Sometimes I cut out the backbone and the keelbone as well, and loosen the hips. It's completely flat (butterflied). I first saw this done on Madeleine Kamman's show years ago. She tucked herbed butter under the skin as I recall. The first time I prepared this on the grill, my husband said it looked like roadkill. :D The name has stuck. He gobbled it up anyway.
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***It is better to ask forgiveness than beg permission.***
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post #17 of 22
All this talk of roasted chicken got my mouth watering so I just had to do it. So I "whacked the backbone out" and the keel bone and the wish bone (makes for easier carving.) Some garlic butter under the skin, S&P and in the oven she goes. 450 for 15 minutes and another 40 minutes or so at 375. Perfect finished temperatures, the juices were clear but after a rest while I did the garlic mashers and some beans, the hip joint was still red :mad: like my face I'm sure.
But, the breast meat and thigh meat was good.

post #18 of 22
OT...but I just typed "h e l l" in another thread and the Board Swiffer (a/k/a "profanity filter") gave me #### instead. :rolleyes: You're lucky your spatchcock remained in the upright position. ;) It's a grand word, indeed. ;)
post #19 of 22

roasting chicken

when the juices are clear from the cavites. then the bird is done. temperature 180 degrees celsius to start and the last 10 - 15 minutes you can increase. the time of roasting depends on the size of your bird. core temperature based on haccp should be 74 d c.

if you want to butter roast it, you will get excellent results,especially in juciness.

post #20 of 22

160 at the breast is the best.

post #21 of 22

OMG!  I love the idea of that garlic butter! Yum!! I saw someone loosen the skin and put butter under the skin then used salt and baking powder, of all things on top of the skin and refrigerate it overnight to let the salt and baking powder draw some of the moisture out of the skin. They said that then the baking powder raised the temp of the skin. If then you put a little aluminum foil with about 20 slits or so on the bottom of your roasting pan to receive the grease; place the chicken breast side down on a rack into the pan; roast at 400 for 15 minutes (temp 135); TURN THE TEMP UP to 500 until golden brown, I think it was for another 20 min., but until it reached a temp. 160 at the breast. 

post #22 of 22

What about chicken sashimi?  I saw it a couple of times when I was in Japan.

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