The Simplest and Best Roast Chicken
Today: No trussing, no basting. It turns out the juiciest and speediest roast chicken is the simplest of all.
–Kristen Miglore, Senior Editor, Food52.com
Choosing one genius roast chicken is a tall, if not impossible, order. You might as well ask a parent to pick a favorite child. They are all special and clever and equally deserving of love, which is why it’s taken me this long to commit.
Since this column launched, every time I felt the urge to roast a chicken, I knew I couldn’t just freestyle, throwing in whatever wayward herb sprigs and scraps of onion I had laying around. Each time, I had to test out a new contender from the Roast Chicken Hall of Fame.
With Judy Rodgers, I pre-salted my bird 2 days ahead. Its flesh was seasoned through to its middle; its juices poured over crusty bread salad. Jamie Oliver had me truss, then slash a chicken’s thighs, and they crisped up impressively. With Julia Child, I dutifully flipped and basted, flipped and basted. Simon Hopkinson and I smoothed a whole stick of butter over the top.
With Thomas Keller, I added almost nothing at all, on the premise that any ingredient, even butter, would introduce steam and wilt the skin. Indeed its skin was crackly as wrapping paper. But I had to grumble: this recipe simply told me: “Roast it until it’s done — 50-60 minutes.” No internal temperature, no advice to check the juices or wiggle the legs, nothing. Next.
Gradually, just as dating around gives way to comfortable commitment, this experimental time for the chickens and me started to feature a lot of repeat visits from one bird in particular.