Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Oh the horror... the horror!

It's taken a week to post this only because it was too difficult to face. (actually, I was a bit busy with a 5k for brain cancer research)

Above you'll find the crime scene photo. And this was not the result of long term neglect; this was the result of a single locally raised chicken roasted to a smokey end in about an hour.

While it was absolutely delicious, the smoke alarm went off no less than five times. The recipe (from Cooks Illustrated) had you roasting upside down at 450 for 25 min, flipping the bird over and roasting another 15-20 minutes, then pumping the heat up to 500 and finishing off. The high heat makes for a crisp skin but as the fat dripped from the bird it spattered from the pan and all over the oven.

But I think it was fortuitous that this blog post was delayed (procrastination: what can't it do?!). As I relayed this tale of horror to a friend of the family (Hi, Vivian!) she said "Have you heard of Barbara Kafka? It sounds like you really need to."

Apparently my enormous 16-inch roasting pan is absolute overkill for a small chicken. An overly large roasting pan was the culprit. Apparently IKEA has a small roasting pan that's perfect for the job, although perhaps just an appropriately sized cake pan could do the work, as well. Since there won't be a rack to fit just pad the bottom with potatoes and onions (etc) to elevate the bird.

In the meantime I'm relegated to the grill for bird-work, but with another five birds coming in the weekend from Fox Hollow farm I'm sure I'll have plenty of opportunities to test this out.


  1. I roasted a chicken last November that did the same thing. It was the best roasted chicken I'd ever made, but the mess was just incredible. Get some easy-off on that oven before it totally sets in.

  2. I roasted a chicken this past week doing some of that start-high voodoo. I had it breast-down and the bottom got nice & crispy, then I breasted up but covered - had it in the Le Creuset doncha know - and sitting on top of butternut squash, onions & garlic.

    Ended up good, but I've tended to undercook the chicken at first, then have to wait around tapping our forks while it finishes. I kept flippin' this bird & such...probably should have left it at a higher temp.

    I'm ok with cooking most food, but whole chickens...I need to figure it out.

  3. Ha! I've been there.
    Roasted chicken is awesome, but a small pan really does make all the difference inthe world.

    ... the scary thing is, your oven STILL looks better than mine :)

  4. I think the last time I roasted a chicken (in the same very over-sized pan) I had a bunch of onions on the bottom which (unbeknownst to me) absorbed the spatter. Onions are cheap so thats a decent insurance policy.

    @ScottE: Self cleaning oven so the day after we cranked that sucker up and let it burn for four hours.

    @SamTheButcher: Have you considered a probe thermometer? And I SWEAR I thought I had chickens figured out... that is until now. But practice, delicious practice! I'll consider Le Creuseting... thanks for the tip.

    @Lo: Ha!