Kitchen Basics: How to Prep and Cook a Whole Chicken

By December 1, 2016Kitchen Basics

For those of you who enjoy a good chicken dinner, not much beats a juicy well seasoned whole roasted chicken. There is something so fulfilling about roasting a chicken, even relaxing. Supposedly now entire tv channels have been devoted to watching chicken roasting on a rotisserie. A few simple tips offered here will help you make this simple dish a home run every time.

Don’t buy a bigger chicken than you need

When it comes to a whole roasted chicken, smaller is usually better. Smaller birds will cook more evenly and faster.

Clean, wash, and pat dry before seasoning

It’s always good to clean the bird to remove any debris from the packaging that you don’t want. Wash gently in the kitchen sink, let sit in a colander for a few minutes to drip dry, and then pat gently all over the outside and inside with a paper towel.

If you are also open to the idea, try letting the bird come to room temperature before cooking. Again, it will cook faster and more evenly if the temperature of the bird only has to go from 60-70F to 165F than from 32F to 165F.

Brine, Season, and Truss

Try a dry brine

Salt is one of the most important ingredients in a moist and tender chicken. If you have time to brine the chicken, even for an hour, but best overnight, you will be glad you did. Try using a dry brine to save time. It will give you tender meat without all the excess moisture. You will still get similar flavor to a wet brine, but in half the time, and a lot less mess. Make brining a central part of your regular chicken cooking routine, you will thank us.


How to season

A good way to burn seasonings on a roasted chicken is to simply place them on top of the skin. The remedy? Tuck your fingers underneath the skin and push the seasonings underneath. This way the seasonings avoid being easily burned and are closer to the meat, providing a better chance the meat will take on the flavor. Plus it’s kinda fun.

Grab some string and learn a simple truss technique

Trussing a chicken is very important to keep all the parts of the chicken together so that the whole bird cooks evenly. Check out this quick 2 minute video for a helpful how-to.

Set it and forget it

Remember those old commercials for rotisserie machines that told you to set up the chicken and forget it? Well there was something to that. One of the best tips for cooking a whole chicken is to let it do its thing. If you have a rotisserie option on a toaster oven, use the equipment but skip the auto setting. Instead set the oven around 375F and cook for around an hour and fifteen minutes until the bird reaches around 165F and the skin is nicely browned. The same goes for a traditional oven and roasting pan method. Just set it in the oven, grab a good book for an hour and relax!

Serve hot with your favorite veggies!

Happy Eating!

Author Uncle Vern

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