Whether your tastes run to dark or white meat, there is one thing we can all agree on, there is nothing better than a nice golden brown crackly skin to make the perfect roast chicken. That is as long as the meat underneath is still nice and tender and juicy. The only real problem for most people is that accomplishing this seemingly easy task can suddenly become something akin to climbing Mount Everest.
When you roast your chicken long enough to have the perfect drumstick, you can end up with parched white meat. Conversely cook it just long enough for perfect breast meat and the drumsticks are likely to be raw in the middle. The last thing you want to serve your family or guests is raw chicken. Despite these challenges, there is still nothing quite as satisfying as a perfectly roasted chicken served with mashed potatoes and gravy.
If you plan to cook your chicken breast side up, it is important that you keep it basted during the entire cooking process. However, keep the door closed except for when you need to baste and you chicken will turn out perfectly moist with a golden brown crackly skin.
If you want really juicy white meat try cooking your chicken at 375 degrees and with the breast side down in the pan. The juices will keep the meat moist while the dark meat will get more heat helping it to cook faster.
Spatchcocking Your Chicken
This is a relatively new term in the kitchen and refers to cutting your chicken’s spine so that you can lay the entire bird out flat in a large pan. Using high heat you can cook your chicken faster and ensure a crunchy outer layer of skin. Slide a few pats of butter under the skin for the best results.
Cooking in Rotation
Another popular method of roasting your chicken is the rotation method. With this method you start with the breast up, then rotate to the breast down position, and flip one more time so that the breast is facing up for final crisping.
No matter which of these roasting methods you decide to try, there is one very important tool you should never cook a chicken without. This is the meat thermometer, you need to check the temperature in the thick area by the legs and deep in the breast meat. The right temperatures for roast chicken are 150 degrees for breast meat and 160 for dark meat.