Humble Chicken Roast in 10 Steps
Chicken, the humble chicken – during our team challenge events i’ve seen too many fobble (see urban dictionary) at this. This is the ultimate team building challenge cheat for you – plan ahead and roast it whole!
For those of you at home: I’m going to teach you the ultimate, and easiest way to roast a chicken. It’s not too hard; with some help (and tips) you’ll get along just fine.
Step 1: Choose Your Chook
Go for Broiler or Grilling chickens. Fresh not frozen for better taste. Stay away from boiling, soup chickens. Those are more suitable for stock and soups; where the meat is not required to hold it shape during cooking. Size Matters, a tip: (size 14 = 1.4kg) Just be mindful that the larger the bird – the longer the roast!
Step 2: Trimming
It might be essential to remove the head, neck, innards, feet. Depending on who you ask these may or may not be delectable. You might also remove the excess fat in the cavity. I use the offcuts (maybe not innards) as a trivet bed (in step 6).
Step 3: Prep work
Trussing (refer to dictionary) is optional and is a personal choice despite most traditional chefs views. I tend to stick by to butterfly (refer to dictionary) the chicken to get a quicker cook (if you didn’t plan to stuff it).
Massaging the chicken has is something a little more Asian in origin – something along the lines of : if the chicken is more relaxed, the chicken is more tender. Again, personal choice. Most people find it a little too morbid.
Step 4: Brinning (not essential)
Another method with a little more scientific reasoning would be brinning. Setting up a brine and immersing the chicken into the salt solution for roughly about 4-8 hours to let the chicken absorb moisture while slightly tenderizing the flesh is a little going overboard with the basic roast.
Quick tip: The ratio is 4tbsp of salt dissolved per 1 litre of water. You can put some flavourings. Minimum of 4 hours.
Step 5: Get Your Rub on; and marinade
Flavours and aromatics are endless. Classical roast will dictate rosemary, thyme and maybe lemon. You can change it up simply by doing 4 things.
- Herbs – you can go Italian with basil, oregano and marjoram for example.
- Spices – a mix of cumin, coriander and garam masala for a more Indian influence.
- Aromatics – ginger, garlic, lemongrass and kaffir lime leave paste for the Asian touch.
- Oils – use your herbs & spices and infuse it in oil (that will be used for basting too)
- Addons – more ingredients such as a stuffing of mushroom or bacon wrapping the bird.
Create a rub by mixing an assorted from above list with oil, with a pestle and mortar. A minimum 20 mins marination time should get those flavours going and make sure its at room temperature.
Step 6: Your Bird Needs a Bed
Create a trivet from onion (vegetable trimmings) for the bird to sit on on your baking tray is essential so as to not burn the bottom. Sit your chicken – breast side up to roast. 180 deg C is your go to temperature – so here we go! By the way, pre-heat your oven!
Step 7: Time
The golden equation is 40-45 minutes per kilo of chicken at 180 deg C. Just remember that – and you shouldn’t have any problems with timing. If you’re unsure – give it 5 minutes extra just to be safe. Put on a kitchen timer for your own benefit.
Step 8: Baste it!
Basting is essential. Non-basted chickens, look sad and non-juicy. So I would highly recommend to simply baste every 15-20 minutes. Just grab any old spoon, spoon the liquid aka. ‘jus’ (or use leftover marinade) at the bottom of the pan and ladle the jus on your bird to keep it “wet”. Golden brown here we come.
Step 9: Test it
Check for done-ness. Is it cooked? There are a couple of ways a chef can tell if you bird is cooked properly and not subject you any salmonella poisoning. By thermometer is by far the safest way. The internal temperature of the middle of the breast and thigh should be above 78 deg C. If its too low, stick it back into the oven and wait.
Another way is to poke the breast with a metal kebab stick and see if the juices run clear. The worse is by ‘touch’ – this relies on the experience (or inexperience) of the chef.
Step 10: Let it rest
Too often people carving or eating hot chicken straight from the oven. Let it rest for goodness sake! Rest till the temperature equalizes from crust to core for a better result. This should take roughly 15-20 mins for a 1 kilo bird. By not allowing it rest, the chicken loses a lot of moisture and flavour when you start slicing into it prematurely.
So there you go, your humble roast chicken. Mix and match your flavours. Customize it to your liking. Dress is up with some fancy herbs and accompany it with other side dishes and you have a meal to impress. Most of all – have some fun. Chef out.