How to Roast a Chicken to Perfection

Published: 25th June 2012
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Roasting a chicken at home is a great way to prepare tasty, healthy meat for the whole family in a very inexpensive way. If you want to roast your chicken to mouthwatering perfection, please follow these easy tips. First, it is wise when you are shopping to pick a bird that is called a 'roaster.' These are usually birds that are older, and they have more muscle, as well as lots of fat and flavor. The fat is good for roasting because it makes it more flavorful and moist. This will be added to the meat as it cooks in your oven. It will melt off at the end of your cooking process but the meat will be infused with the fat and it will be really tasty.

Your chicken is roasted by cooking it in your oven, uncovered. The chicken will need to be cleaned and properly seasoned, and then stuffed if that is something that you want. Next, you will put it on your rack in a roasting pan (a shallow one is best). You do not have to have a rack, but we find that the chicken will cook better because the bird is not 'stewing in its juices.' Heat will be able to reach every part of the bird and it will make the whole chicken very golden brown. The juices in the bird also will evaporate faster and you will get a better caramelized layer. This is very important for getting a very good base that is full of flavor (very key for making good gravy or sauce).

You will want to cook your chicken at a high heat and for a shorter time period. You want to make the skin nice and crisp and seal your juice into the bird. This will give you meat that is the most tender and juicy. You do not need to baste your bird all through the process. However, if the bird is less than three pounds, you may want to do some basting; the small birds do not have enough fat in them to keep the meat moist on their own. How long you cook your chicken is going to depend on how large it is and on the particular recipe you are using.

Also remember that how long you cook your roaster will depend on if you stuffed it, and if there are vegetables and potatoes included with your chicken. You want to be careful that you cook it enough so that it is done and safe to it, but not over cooked. You can check to see if it is done by checking the skin. It should be deeply golden brown, and the legs should be able to be moved around still. Also, prick the thigh or the breast. You should see juice that is clear. You should not see any juice with any red in it. If you tilt the bird up, you should see juice run out that is clear, and not at all pink. Of course, you also can check to see if your bird is done by using a meat thermometer. You should stick your thermometer into the deepest and thickest part of the thigh of the bird. It should show a temperature of about 180 degrees.

We strongly advise that you let the chicken rest on the counter for about 10 minutes before you start to carve it. This will let the juices of the bird to settle evenly all through the meat. You should have a very moist and juicy roaster bird if you follow these tips carefully. Enjoy!


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Lawrence Reaves writes for kitchen appliance company Hamilton Beach who offers a selection of Roaster Ovens and Proctor Silex who also provides Roaster Ovens

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