I love a roast chicken. The smell permeates the house and the oven makes the whole house feel warm. It’s so easy to prepare with a little fore thought and while the chicken is cooking you have plenty of time to make a couple of nice side dishes. What feels like a special occasion dinner can be made simply and rather inexpensively. The only step that is vital to making this chicken is remembering that you need to let it sit overnight. I always forget this, always. But, it’s worth waiting for. I’ll admit it right here in front of the world. I love a little bit of crisp skin. On Thanksgiving day there was always a fight over who would get the skin and now I’m realizing that may start in my household since my daughter has shown an appreciation of that crunchy skin that crackles. Moderation though, moderation!
This simple rub and overnight process will yield a perfectly crisp skin, yet will still deliver moist meat. It’s really the best I’ve found and there is no mess from frying! Whatever you do, don’t brine your chicken otherwise it will prohibit the skin from becoming crisp and your work will be for naught. The sheet of foil between the roasting pan and V-rack will keep drippings from burning and smoking so don’t skip that step either!
Crisp Roast Chicken
- 1 whole chicken (3 1/2 to 4 1/2 pounds), giblets removed and discarded
- 1 Tbsp kosher salt or 1 1/2 tsp table salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
Place chicken breast-side down on work surface. Use the tip of a sharp knife to make four 1-inch incisions along the back of the chicken. Using fingers or the handle of a wooden spoon, carefully separate the skin from thighs and breast. Using a metal skewer, poke 15 to 20 holes in fat deposits on top of breast halves and thighs. Tuck wing tips underneath chicken.
Combine salt, baking powder, and pepper in a small bowl. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and sprinkle all over with salt mixture. Rub in mixture with hands, coating entire surface evenly. Set chicken, breast-side up, in V-rack set on rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate, uncovered, for 12 to 24 hours.
Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 450 degrees F. Using paring knife, poke 20 holes about 1 1/2 inches apart in 16-by-12-inch piece of foil. Place foil loosely in large roasting pan. Flip chicken so breast side faces down, and set V-rack in roasting pan on top of foil. Roast chicken 25 minutes.
Remove roasting pan from oven. Using 2 large wads of paper towels, rotate chicken breast-side up. Continue to roast until instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of breast registers 135 degrees, 15 to 25 minutes.
Increase oven temperature to 500 degrees. Continue to roast until skin is golden brown, crisp, and instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of breast registers 160 degrees and 175 degrees in thickest part of thigh, 10 to 20 minutes.
Transfer chicken to cutting board and let rest, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Carve and serve immediately.
Source: Cook’s Illustrated March 2008