Tuesday, January 27, 2009

How To Roast A "Split" Chicken

Hello all. I know it's been a while since this was updated but i've been busy with the move from my grubby tiny kitchen in the west village to a much nicer better stocked upgrade here in williamsburg. This week were going to cover the basics of taking a whole chicken and turning it into something edible and delicious. Many people say roasting a chicken is one of the hardest things to do properly and i agree but like with all other things of the artistic discipline it just takes practice and experience to master.

today we start with turning your oven on and preheating it to 375 degrees. Next you will need a whole chicken... i have chosen a bell evens air chilled chicken because they are "organic" and of better quality than most standard "perdu" type chickens. one of the things to look for when buying a chicken is the skin color. Most organic chickens and in my experience better tasting chickens have a whiter color to the skin and pinker flesh. Chickens feed on hormones and more mass produced chickens tend to have the more common yellow skin. Also you will want to look and see how the meat it self has been handeled.... are the bones broken? is the flesh torn up or punctured in several places? My chicken looked like this when removed from the package

i have removed the giblets from the cavity and cut the wings off at the joint. the giblets should contain the heart, gizzard, liver and neck of the animal. the neck and wings should be reserved and frozen for making stocks and broths and the heart and gizzard are good for frying in a light flour dust as the Mexicans at work have shown me.

Begin by placing the chicken on a cutting board neck down with the back facing you like so:

tuck your knife under the tail and score down each side of the spine remembering to get between the shoulder blade and the spine.

after the score is made you need to follow the lines again and cut through the bones removing the spine completely. once this is done lay the chicken out flat skin side down and remove the breast bone. Next use your knife to cut the chicken into two pieces slicing all the way through the skin. this is a technique known as "natural seam butchering" this is a process where one butchers portions of meat according to muscle group.... which basically means that you cut an animal into smaller pieces by following natural lines of sinew and tendon without actually cutting into the grain of meat. Once this is done you can cook your chicken or as i like to do it cut the leg away from the breast effectively quartering the chicken and remove the excess bone from the thigh. This last bit can be kind of tricky so i have made a video of the process here:

after this process you should have four neat clean pieces

next coat each piece in salt and pepper and get a pan large enough to accommodate all four pieces very hot. When you add your oil (canola is preferable) to the pan is should begin to lightly smoke from the heat. you will need about 4 tbsp of oil. Next add your chicken. Allow enough time on the burner for the pan to recover the loss of heat from the cold chicken hitting the oil and then place on the FLOOR of your 375 degree preheated oven for about 25 minutes or until all the juices protruding from the chicken run clear. The internal temperature should read around 140 degrees Fahrenheit. If you find a lot of fat rendering from the chicken don't be afraid to pull it out after ten minutes or so and strain off the excess. Do not turn your chicken. You want to roast it all the way on the skin. This is the best way to get a nice deep golden brown color.

After your chicken is cooked remove it from the oven and place on plate or resting rack. Resting the meat is important. As meat cooks the heat forces all of the juices to the center of the roast. If you cut your meat immediately after removing it from the oven the all the juice will spill out and you will be left with a dry chicken. Let cooked meats set for 5 minutes for every pound of raw flesh. My chicken was a 3.5 pound chicken so i let it set for around 15 minutes before cutting into it. At this point you can just dig in or you can chop your chicken into smaller pieces like I have done.

you can see the chicken in the top left corner..... tomorrow when i have more time i'll go over what i have done with the veggies as well.

thanks for reading and as always feel free to ask questions. feed back helps me make this site better!!


necronomicon said...

Seriously you are the sole reason I started cooking on my own. Witch was ehrm two weeks ago now. Before that I could barley even make instant ramen. I've always thought that it was boring to prepare food but it's not. It's rather fun but quite stressing if you have no idea of what you're doing.

I've started to follow a couple of blogs about cooking and even bought some books to help me out.

oh yeah the main reason i'm commenting here is that I "demand" you to keep posting man. I need you ^^

Also would not mind some more oriental dishes like raaaaaamen :D
And meat! it's so lovely, especially with vegetables!

Pork! It's the meat of kings!
It's made from pig, try it with onion rings.
Pork sure goes with everything, cause it's made from swine, and swine sure tastes fine.
Just bring some to the picnic baby,
You know you wanna stuff it in my hamper
But please put it in some tupperware
Cause I don't wanna be a porky chancer.
Let's talk about pork
Converse about meat
Veggies get wedgies cause meat can't be beat
Ham and bacon you should taste them
I know it's surprising but it's so appetizing!


Ninja Zak said...

thanks for the positive words. I havn't updated in a while but it's nice to know people are getting something out of what i have put. up. I just recently moved though and plan on putting up some new content soon!

necronomicon said...

awesome :D

Anonymous said...

chicken is not done til it reaches 160 - 165.

140 will not kill harmful bacteria


Ninja Zak said...

NY state regulation states that food has to be reheated to 155 degrees before serving... that's health code... if you want to kill your chicken and eat some bone dry meat cook it to 160. 135 is technically well done and is safe enough if using free range or organic chickens and will yield a juicy delicious product. I have been eating chicken like this and slightly under cooked for years with out issue. but technically yes if you really want to make it safe it should be heated to 155 or 160 degrees internal temperature. if you want it to be delicious though i would recommend 135 - 140 and rested for 5 - 10 minutes.

Anonymous said...

I'm trying your technique tonight! It's in the oven as we speak (er, type) and looks/smells delicious! thanks for the post! -Christine from Carmel, IN