About Me

My photo
I am a stay-at-home mom of two sons, 12 and 10. I used to be an advertising manager. I love my new career and have thrown myself completely into it.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Why Is It So Hard To Roast A Chicken?

I really am a good cook. I used to be even better, but now I'm always rushing and cooking unfortunately has become more of a chore - it used to be one of my hobbies. One dish I just haven't truly mastered, though (I'm ashamed to say), is a roast chicken. I've tried a number of times because roasting a whole chicken is economical, delicious and every good cook should be able to master it (I've been told). So I tried again last night. I follow the recipe from The Joy of Cooking and I had even seen an episode of Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations" show which showed how Thomas Keller roasts a chicken. It all seems simple enough.

I had the chicken sit on the counter for about half an hour so it would warm up. I preheated the oven to 450 degrees. I rinsed, patted dry and trussed the bird. I put melted butter all over it and sprinkled some kosher salt on it. When the oven was ready, I put the bird in. After 5 minutes, I turned the heat down to 350 degrees. I basted it 2-3 times and let it cook for over an hour and a half (it weighed 4-3/4 lbs). During the last 10-15 minutes, I turned the heat up to 400 to try to crisp and brown the skin more. Then I took the chicken out and let it sit for about 10 minutes, while I tented it with aluminum foil.

It still had some pink (even red) areas that looked undercooked. My husband absolutely hates that and was getting turned off as he was carving it. Also, even though I truss the bird and baste it a few times during cooking, the sides of the legs don't get crisp and brown. I don't understand what I'm doing wrong unless my oven just isn't working right. Maybe my oven's thermometer is off and I need to increase the heat the whole time to 375.

Any ideas? Any opinions or tricks that have worked for you? I'm getting gun-shy about trying roasting a chicken again but I sure would like to figure it out?


  1. I like to cook as well. I think you should roast the chicken according to the weight: 20 minutes per pound, plus 20 extra minutes at 350F. I have a Roasted Chicken recipe you may like:


  2. Thanks, Ana. I looked at your chicken recipe and it looks delicious. From other responses I received (on Twitter), it seems that my big error might have been to baste it a few times. Opening the oven door a few times to do this might have brought the temperature down enough to not fully cook it in the time I expected. I see that you also say to cook it an extra 20 min. I'll try that with your recipe.