Tips and Techniques

All the tips and techniques you need to manage the chicken preparations and cooking methods.





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T&T:
baking tips and tools

Baking is a cooking technique consisting in placing the chicken in a closed heating chamber. The time needed to have it cooked vary depending on the kind of oven but generally speaking we can stick to this general rule for our baked chicken recipes:

  • 1- Preheat 350ºF (175ºC)

This is not accurate and it will never be. This will depend on the oven's manufacturers. They have several tolerance rates so there's not such a thing as 350ªF. Let's say that it'll be ok between 320ºF and 370ºC.

  • 2- Estimate 30-40 minutes for each kg.

If you really want to know when your chicken is ready try this:

Stick a thin piece of metal such a stitching needle or a knife and make sure that the juices come out clean and transparent.

Or with a baking thermometer, the thicker part of the tighs must be 180ºF (80ºC)

My personal tip for uncovered whole chicken:

Right after putting the chicken in the oven I turn UP the heat to 450ºF for 30 minutes. This will seal the meat making the chicken more juicy inside.



The oven:

Ovens are the most ancient stoves. Ever since the prehistoric era,  when they just made a hole in the ground surrounded by stones and bricks,  up to our days when they've become closed heating chambers. We can find in our kitchens:

  1. Traditional ovens : gas or electric
  2. Convection ovens: The heated air cooks the chicken. Also there are ovens that combine traditional baking with convection.
  3. Microwave ovens: The waves excite the molecular structure of the chicken, heating the meat and cooking it.


  • The rack:

Metal bars tray. It helps the heat reach the entire chicken

  • The tray:

Collects the juices and flavors that drip from the chicken. We'll use them to soak the meat once in a while.

  • The rotisserie:

It is a metal stick that you insert in the chicken body. The rod will fit in a specific rotating bracket. The chicken will turn around and around as the stick rotates getting the fire evenly.


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T&T:
how to joint a chicken

chicken video recipe

It is not a difficult technique. It seems harder than it actually is. You just have to be used to using a kitchen knife.

If you are willing to give it a chance here is how you do it:

The knife must be sharp. Believe it or not:  The sharpest the safest.It is also convenient a medium size knife that you can easily control


  • Place the chicken vertical, make sure that the chicken legs are standing upwards 
  • Cut it in two halves through the breastbone  
  • Open it up with the skin facing the cutting board.
  • Split it in two halves by separating the spine
  • Notice how each half has one half of the breast, one wing, one thigh and one leg. 

Look for the separations between each part, just where the joints are. 

Once you've spotted them, cut them into four or more pieces depending on your preferences or needs.

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T&T:
Roasting

Roasting is the most common way of cooking whole chicken.

This technique is about cooking the chicken in its own juices using an oven or similar.

There are several ways of baking the chicken. Convection oven or not...

There is always a "how-to-do-it-right"



For this method is best using the oven roasting rack placed over a pan but you can also use an oven casserole or tray.

Going for this kind of oven baked chicken recipes means that you'll be basting it once in a while using its own drippings and juices. Consider that you don't want to do it very often if you want an extra-crispy coating, but you do want to do it  to keep it extra-juicy.

You can skip this step if you use one of these convenient plastic bags for baking that you can find in any supermarket. They have them in several sizes. These will keep the moist in! Or in an emergency... you can make your own oven in the oven using aluminum foil

clic here to learn how

This other method consists in using a rotisserie oven. I'm sure you've seen one those before. Some people wonder what is that metal stick that comes whith their ovens for. Yeap! That is for the chicken..Now serious. In professional rotisseries they can bake dozens of chickens at a time. click in this link to choose your favourite rotisserie chicken recipe.


PREPARATION

There are a lot of baked whole chicken recipes but the first step of any roasted chicken recipe is a nice rubbing or seasoning to spread the coating over. It will be different depending on the recipe but that will be the first step for them all.

ROASTING

If you want a really crispy skin, follow these advices:


  1. Separate the skin from the breast before hand as we've mentioned.
  2.  You can bake the chicken using the regular pre-heating temperature but I prefer to rise the heat at the begining (450ºF) and turn it down when the chicken skin starts to get some colour. if you do this, the exterior meat its going to be cooked right away sealing the interior one. You'll end up with a more crispy skin and a more juicy meat inside because the sealing process makes the juices to stay in.




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T&T:
Papillote oven with aluminum foil

This is a technique that fits very well to bake a whole chicken but you can also use it to bake vegetables and to make baked potatos.

  • Cover the bottom of the tray with long sheets of aluminum foil.
  • Place the seasoned chicken over it in the center and a tablespoon of flour. This will make the stock to thicken into a sauce.
  • Pull up the foil until the ends meet. 
  • Seal it by folding the edges together and let some room inside.
  • Now you can place it in the oven.

....you can go back to roasting tip and technique  now if you came from there

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T&T:
how to truss a chicken

TRUSSING:  PROS AND CONS

 

  • The purpose of trussing the chicken is to have it in a compact shape. 
  • This will help all the juices to stay in the bird keeping also the moist. Even he breasts will be nice and juicy. 
  • If you stuff the chicken cavity, this technique will prevent the stuffing from falling out from the chicken.
  •  It is a “must” for a rotisserie chicken recipe. If you don’t truss the chicken, the wings, and even the legs, will eventually be ripped off from the body while rotating.
  •  Now, you may want to consider that the legs will need an extra cooking time because the meat is compacted against the chest.
  • The cooking time increases about twenty more minutes to half an hour. 
  • Another thing to consider is that you may get less skin surface exposed to the fire. This means less surface of crispy skin also.

 

But the chicken will get the “elegant-to-serve” touch.

 

There are several ways to truss a chicken. I've chosen these two because they work pretty well and they're not very difficult.

 

  • You'll need kitchen twine: 3 times the length of the chicken and a pair of scissors.

 



HOW TO TRUSS A CHICKEN

METHOD 1:

 

In this method, the wings are folded against the chest so the tip remains hidden. You may want to decide whether you prefer it this way or to leave the wings tips up to get a wider exposure.



Put the chicken on the cutting board with the breast upwards and the legs towards you

setting the chicken

Fold the wings hiding the wing tip ( or not as we said)

fold wings in

Pass the twine under the neck...

… Over the wings… and under the breasts

pass twain under neck

Tighten and make a double knot.

tie under breast

Cross the chicken legs and leave the twine under them

cross legs

Pass the twine over them and make a double knot

tie legs

Cut the remaining twine and ...

You're done!

done trussing

HOW TO TRUSS A CHICKEN

METHOD 2:


A bit more complex. This method is taught in professional cooking schools therefore somehow more professional.

Make sure your twine is, at least, three times the chicken length Place the bird with the legs towards you.

Put the wings under the bird like if it was going to put its “hands” under its head.

Now make a loop right in the middle of the twine and put it around the tail. Secure it with a knot.

Cross the legs one over the other and loop the twine around the ankles towards the right with one end and towards the left with the other end of the twine and make a knot.

Pass the thread under the breast and flip the chicken over.

Pass it over the wings and under the neck and make the final knot.

Finally, cut the remaining twine and it's done.

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T&T:
the secret of a crispy skin


The main thing that will keep the skin crispy is to have it separated from the rest of the meat.

Once in the oven, with this simple gesture, the moisture will be taken away a lot faster and the result is going to be a golden crispy outfit for your chicken.

So follow these two simple steps:

First, remove the gibblets, if not already, and cut off the offall greasy lower part with a knife. It is a good idea to buy the chicken ready for the oven, then you can skip this part.

Now we're ready to separate the skin from the breasts to make it easily crispy. Use your fingers or a wooden spoon. Be careful not to to make a hole or two in the skin (sometimes happens). If it does, don't worry and keep working. It takes some skill and practice. Not big deal...next time you'll do better.


There we go!

Crispy chickenCrispy chicken

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