Roast ChickenAt what temperature should you roast your chicken?

In preparing this issue, we read many recipes and found baking temperatures from 325 to 500 degrees.   As a principle for roasting meat, a slow roast is preferred and results in a more tender, moist product.  And while we tried, higher temperatures, we had better results with the oven set on 350 or 375 degrees.

One of the reasons offered for higher temperatures is the argument that higher temperatures are required to brown the bird.  Not so.  If you brush your chicken with melted butter before baking, it will brown very nicely.

What about stuffed chicken?

If you stuff your chicken with dressing will it be moist?

Not as moist as a brined chicken or one baked with an infuser.  If you have a very moist dressing, it may help.  But to be safe, the dressing must reach 160 degrees.  (Dressing stuffed inside of a chicken or a turkey where unsafe juices can drip into the dressing, is a common source of food poisoning.)  By the time the dressing in the far recesses of the chicken reaches 160 degrees, the tender breast meat will be overcooked and dry.

Won’t soaking in water do the same thing as soaking in brine?

No.  We don’t understand the chemistry, but soaking in brine works much better than soaking in plain water.  The chicken is moister and more tender.  It seems that the salt water penetrates the walls of the cells better than unsalted water.

Do I use cold water or warm?

Cold water.  You don’t want either the chicken or the water rising above 40 degrees.  At 40 degrees, bacteria starts to multiply much more rapidly.

Since it’s only an hour, can I let my chicken soak on the counter?

No.  You have to keep the temperature below 40 degrees.  If you kept adding ice to chill the water, you could.

If you really don’t have room in the refrigerator, consider a vertical roaster with infuser.

What does basting do?

Basting with butter helps brown the skin nicely and make crisper.  If you eat the skin, that’s important.  The butter makes the skin taste better.  We don’t think that the butter penetrates enough to make an appreciable difference in the flavor of the meat.

We rub our chickens with butter before baking but don’t bother to baste while baking.

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