Most of us love the taste and moist, tender texture of a perfectly roasted chicken or any other poultry for that matter.
I remember Sunday dinners at my home in southern Bavaria when I was growing up in the 1950s and 1960s.
My family could not afford much during the early part of my childhood. During the week, we normally had inexpensive lunches and dinners consisting of cold cuts, cheese, sausages and fresh bread for lunch. Also, we enjoyed some stew or noodle dishes with a little ham or pork with fresh vegetables, greens, and potatoes from the garden, or the famous spaetzle.
Weekends were a special treat for us. On Saturday my Mom would bake luscious cakes, make stock and prepare a succulent roast for a big dinner after Church on Sunday. In the early years, it was either a Pork or Beef Roast with typical side dishes.
It was not until the mid 60’s that we actually enjoyed a roasted chicken. It was a real treat. Like yesterday, I remember the nice crispy skin and juicy flavorful meat. And to this day, my most favorite parts of the chicken are the thighs and legs.
Fast forward to today, supermarkets are thriving on providing spit-roasted whole chickens. They have very sophisticated large spit-roasting ovens that most of us don’t have in our kitchen equipment repertoire.
Which brings us to the question – how do we cook that perfect roasted and savory chicken at home with the same qualities – nicely caramelized, crispy flavorful skin and moist and tender inside?
Here’s the secret to your success in this endeavor:
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
- Make sure the chicken is fresh, no dry skin and no dark spots.
- If desired wash the chicken (see my kitchen tip: 3 Top Ways to Handle Raw Chicken).
- Be sure to season inside and out. I prefer just simple salt, black pepper, and Spanish paprika. If desired, you can be creative here and go wild with your own preferred seasoning.
- Tie the legs tightly together with baking cord. That’s important because it pushes the breast out and keeps it juicy.
- Evenly coat the entire chicken with the oil of your choice. You can also use melted butter as well.
- Place the chicken on a wire rack inside a roasting pan and place it in the hot oven.
- Roast at 450 degrees F for 30 – 40 minutes. This will crisp the skin of the bird. Make sure to keep an eye on it because every oven heats differently and you want to make sure it doesn’t burn.
- Reduce the heat to 350 degrees F and finish roasting the chicken for about 50 minutes or more depending on the size of the bird or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.
During this process keep basting the chicken with the oil drippings from the bottom of the roasting pan.
- If desired, you can now add vegetables for making a sauce from the drippings.
- And for that extra touch of crispiness, raise the temperature back to 450 degrees F to give that final crispiness for a few minutes.
- After roasting is finished, let the bird ‘rest’ out of the oven for 5 minutes, then carve and enjoy.
Option 2 on the Rotisserie
Another method is to spit-roast the chicken. Simply follow step 1-6 above, and then place the chicken on a spit. Start the Rotisserie oven turning and roast until done (1 – 1½ hours). Make sure to baste the chicken every 15 mins. And you’ll find that this is also one of the best methods if you have a rotisserie grill.