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There are a few things I stick to when roasting a bird – all of which help with the end results. I swear. One is my adjustable roasting rack so I can shove any sized bird into the oven and have it properly supported – you’ll find out why soon. The next is brining my bird. It’s an easy step, and totally worth while. The last is using compound butter to keep the chicken boobs moist during roasting so you don’t end up with dry boobs. Compound butter is an easy thing to keep on hand and has a ton of uses.
When it comes to brining a bird, all you have to do is mix equal parts sugar and salt into a very large bowl of water. For the large bowl I had, I used ½ cup of each and mixed it until the salt and sugar dissolved. The end results of brining is a moist and flavor packed chicken. Brining isn’t just for Thanksgiving turkies…
Once your brine is mixed, remove your bird from the packaging, and get your husband to remove the neck, liver and gizzards from the cavity. Rinse the bird under cold running water and then place him – the bird, not your husband, into the brine. Place the bird and brine into the fridge for about an hour, turning the bird over half way through the process. Salinity in water has a tendency to be higher at the bottom then the top, so turning your bird ensures it gets equal time in the saltiest parts of the solution.
Once the hour is up, rinse the bird under cold water and pat dry with several paper towels. The drier the skin, the crispier the skin will be in the end. Next, flip the bird boob-side up and gently slide your fingers under the skin to separate the skin from the meat of the boobs. Be careful not to poke your fingers through the skin. Slide in a couple of table spoons of compound butter onto each book and fold the skin over. Lastly, brush the bird with a little olive oil and place it wing-side up in your adjustable roasting rack. The reason behind the wing-side-up technique is that the wings will be exposed to the most amount of heat during the first 30 minutes of roasting, helping bring their temperature up quicker. That way you aren’t playing the tedious game of over-cook-the-chicken-boobs-while-waiting-for-the-dark-meat-to-get-done. What a painful and horrible tasting game.
Roast your chicken for 15 minutes with one wing-side up in a 400 degree oven. After that 15 minutes is up, take a couple of tongs and flip the bird to the opposite wing side and roast another 15 minutes. Once that second 15 minutes is up, it’s time to flip the bird boob-side up and roast it for 30 minutes.
Once the boobs reach 160 degrees and your dark meat reaches 170, you’re good to go! Tent the bird with aluminum foil and allow it to rest for about 10 minutes. This is important so the juices in the bird redistribute. Always wonder why there is a puddle of juice when you slice into your bird right away? This is why. All of those flavor filled juices are poured out from the bird onto your cutting board, which means they’re not in your bird anymore! Let it rest, it is sacra-saint.