How do you make the most TENDER and JUICY roast chicken?
Brine or marinate for 3 days?
I never brine or marinate for roast chicken. I do make sure not to forget to season under the skin with butter or olive oil and whatever herbs I'm using. I use a heavy skillet, just big enough to nestle my chicken in - I don't like using large roasting pans for this. Put some oiled and seasoned veggies like onions, celery, garlic and carrots on the bottom and nestle the chicken on top. I also add about a quarter cup of water just to make sure the bottom of the pan doesn't dry out. Nestle the chicken on top and roast at 400 degrees uncovered for about an hour or until done. No basting needed, no low and slow cooking, no marinating, just roasted chicken.
I cut it into its constituent parts, brine it skin on for 24 hrs, take it out of the brine and set onto a wire rack set over a baking sheet and let it air dry in the fridge for another 24hrs. To cook I heat up a pan, brown the skin and cook it skin up for about 20-25mins at 400F or until juices run clear. Not only do you get ridiculously moist and tender chicken, but the crispiest and most delicious skin you ever did have.
Open the chicken or duck and keep in fridge UNcovered at least overnigt to dry it out. You will then find it cooks moe crisp.
My thoughts on this as well.
Juicy is a mainly a function of cooking method. When learning where to stop the cooking process, a good probe style thermometer is not a bad idea. Stab it down into the thigh but don't hit the leg bone (or the reading will be off from the meat itself). The real trick is managing to have the thigh get to just cooked without the breast overcooking (usually not a problem on smaller chickens but the there are some behemoths out there). What I find in general is that if I shoot for the lowest "safe/approved 165 °F" end of the spectrum in the thigh temp then the breast is usually fine on a chicken. Smaller birds are better and I prefer to do two small chickens over one large on if feeding a bigger crowd. Also when the thigh starts loosening up (you can wiggle the leg and it moves at the thigh joint rather easily) it's there but you have to be careful or the temp can overshoot. Clear juices running out is another common test.
Tender is more a function of the genetics/lifestyle/age/processing of the bird. If you are doing local, free range ones/etc make sure to test this out in the home kitchen prior to serving it to guests. Ranged birds can be very tough if the bird is even a little over the age mark or/and if the rest period isn't sufficient (or conversely if the chicken isn't killed and cooked within a few hours prior to rigor).
I brine if I have time but I always remove the bird from the brine and dry with paper towels before placing it on a rack in the fridge for a few hours before cooking. Getting the surfact of the bird dry before cooking helps with nice crisp skin.
My technique is very similar to Koukouvagia's (surprise) - butter under skin (with herbs - i like crushed garlic and black, pink pepper and coriander seeds crushed roughly, plus very little fresh thyme.
I put it on a large flat low-sided baking sheet (1 inch or less border) lined with parchment paper. Turn oven up to 450. Dry skin with towels.
When oven is hot i put it in low in the oven - cooking till tests done (piercing, feeling the knife, seeing the color of the juices) - if it's a big bird (turkey, for instance, or the big chickens you get in the states) i might loosely tent it not to get it to burn.
The skin is crispy and tasty, the juices are kept inside and the chicken is incredibly moist.
I like the low sides on a wide pan because i'm convinced that having sides produces steam that sort of hovers around the chicken and that keeps it from crisping. Then almost halfway through i put in seasoned potato wedges and let them get nice and browned outside, soft inside. Oh no, my mouth is watering already. The wide pan allows me to cook the potatoes in the drippings and they come out so tasty.