"The first zucchini I ever saw I killed it with a hoe."--John Gould, Monstrous Depravity, 1963

How to cook your chicken Recipe

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This recipe for How to cook your chicken, by , is from At The Roylance's Table, one of the cookbooks created at FamilyCookbookProject.com. We help families or individuals create heirloom cookbook treasures.

Pat Roylance
Added: Thursday, November 15, 2007


Handling and cooking poultry requires different techniques then handling red meat. The following gives some hints on how to cook and handle chicken, but it's the same for all whole poultry.


Brining before roasting makes for tender, juicy meat.
Room-temperature butter slipped under the skin before cooking keeps the meat moist and ensures flavorful, crispy skin.
A V-shaped rack or basket placed in a pan allows for even heating, and keeps the bottom of the bird lofted from the drippings.

Covering the chicken after it's been fried will cause it to lose its crispiness.
To avoid dangerous spattering, dry off utensils before they come into contact with the cooking oil.
Also allow floured or coated pieces to dry for 20-30 minutes before they're placed into the oil. They'll brown more evenly.
Drain cooked chicken on a metal rack or a brown paper bag rather than on paper towels. It'll retain more crispiness.


Start with a whole, skin-on breast and split and/or remove skin after cooking. This allows for more even heating and juiciness than pre-split breasts, which may be of unequal size.
Press the chicken during cooking with a heavy pot, or a deep pan filled with water. Keep a layer of foil between the vessel bottom and the chicken.
Combine equal parts butter and oil for maximum flavor and browning without smoking and burning.

Using a broiler pan rather than a flat roasting pan greatly reduces the risk of grease fire.
Arrange chicken parts with the largest, thickest pieces in the center under the most direct heat, and the smaller pieces out toward the pan's edges. Even in this arrangement, the smaller pieces will need several minutes less cooking time.
The chicken should sit 5"-6" from the heating element. Adjust racks if needed.


Several sprigs of fresh herbs blended or processed with a clove of garlic, a pinch of kosher salt, a splash of red or white wine and several tablespoons of olive oil adds fresh flavor to grilled and roasted chicken.
For maximum flavor, rub pastes and spices both on and under the bird's skin.
Multi-hour marination isn't necessary. 30-60 minutes tends to be sufficient.


Use metal or wooden utensils, as plastic will likely melt at the high temperatures required for this method.
It is easier to cut chicken into thin strips if it's slightly frozen
Use 1 ½ - 2 tbsp. of peanut, vegetable or corn oil for each pound of chicken.


Spatchcock whole birds to enable even cooking.
Turn the meat with tongs or a spatula. Piercing with a fork causes the juices to escape.
Use a loose foil tent or inverted disposable pan to cover chicken on the grill and retain both heat and moisture when using the indirect grilling method.

How to Spatchcock
Spatchcocking (in addition to being incredibly fun to say) is an ideal way to ensure perfectly juicy poultry. Because the whole bird is spread open and flattened on the grill, the increased surface area exposed to the flame allows for all-over even cooking and less time spent over potentially drying heat. The butchering method is very similar to butter flying, but the term is specifically applied to poultry -- especially small birds like chickens, game hen, and duck.

While it's perfectly fine to simply remove the bird's backbone, taking the extra time to pry out the keel bone and slip the legs through skin slits lends the finished dish a bit of professional kitchen polish.

1. Place the bird breast side down on the cutting surface.

2. With a sharp pair of poultry shears (or, in a pinch, a sharp knife), snip or slice along one side of the bird's backbone, and then the other.

3. Lift out the backbone, and throw out, or save for the stockpot.

4. Spread the bird open. Stop here, or…

5. Locate the center breastbone (a.k.a. keel bone). Loosen and lift it out with your thumbs.

6. Flip the bird over, make a slit in the loose skin below each drumstick, and tuck the end of the drumstick through the slit.

7. Snip off the tips of the wings.

Your bird has been spatchcocked!


Brown the meat evenly in oil or butter, and then add the cooking liquid to the same pan to maximize flavor and reduce cleanup.
Don't use non-enameled cast iron or regular aluminum pans as they can impart an unwanted taste to the chicken with this method. Nonstick cookware doesn't let the meat brown as well as anodized or pressure-cast aluminum or stainless steel does.
Stock and red or white wine make excellent braising and stewing liquids, as do brandy, cider and crushed tomatoes.


Use separate, differently colored sets of utensils for handling raw and cooked chicken, or wash thoroughly with hot, soapy water in between uses.
A minimum internal temperature of 160 F must be reached in order to kill any bacteria.
The older the bird, the more flavorful it is. Research the producer's practices to find out their age standards.
Excess liquid in the bird's shrink-wrap indicates that it may be past its ideal sell-by date.

Personal Notes:
Personal Notes:
When John and I got married, the one thing I wasn't good at (when it came to cooking that is;-) was cooking chicken. I bought many a banquet fried chicken, instead of trying to fry or roast a whole bird myself. I found this guide online and thought other people would appreciate a quick down and dirty poultry cooking guide. I know it would have helped me out.




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