Prepping a Whole Chicken for the Oven

9 Mar

The whole 3 lb+ chicken fryer is a savvy single essential in this house. The little bird is just right for sharing supper with a friend or two. It can supply the busy single person with delicious poultry for sandwiches, salads, fajitas or soups later in the week.

A whole, raw chicken

A whole, raw chicken

Bought on sale, the fryer is a frugal option. Just make sure you buy one in the 3  – 4 pound range to make it a worthwhile effort. Any smaller and the economics of running your oven vis-a-vis the cooked poultry rendered will be lost. If you learn to cut a whole fryer up into breasts, legs and thighs, a smaller bird can supply you with good value for recipes calling for skin-on, bone-in pieces.

Set a rack into a roasting pan. Spray both the pan and the rack with oil (you’ll thank me at clean-up time). Preheat your oven to the temperature specified in your recipe.

Start by checking the chicken’s cavities. Between the legs you may find some the chicken’s organ meats which I sometimes use in making the gravy (but often do not). Between the wings, you may find the neck tucked into that cavity. Unless you have folks who enjoy the cooked giblets or neck, discard them into your compost.

Run cold water over the bird’s skin, between its legs and body and through the cavities.You may need to pluck out a random feather bone or two and sometimes there’s a yellowish film that you will want to rub off.

Pat the bird dry with paper towels, including the cavity. If your recipe calls for stuffing, fill the cavities, but not too tightly. Fill the bird with stuffing (or herb/garlic/vegetable seasoning) just before roasting. Use poultry skewers to knit the skin around the cavity openings closed. The same thing applies or for herb/garlic seasoning

If you are lucky, the fryer may already be trussed with kitchen/butcher’s twine or some of those new plastic leg clamps/cavity lips. If yours isn’t already trussed, tie the legs together at their ‘ankles’ in front of the larger cavity.

You’ll be roasting the chicken breast-side up. Bend the wings under the bird, so they rest against its back and under the bird on the rack. This may require a bit of bone manipulation — so be brave and force it. The idea is to prevent the wing tips from burning and drying out and to create a slightly flatter platform for your roasting chicken.

At this stage, turn your attention to seasoning the skin of the bird. Let your recipe guide you or get creative yourself. Oil or butter can be applied to the skin then topped with herbs or flavourings of your choice. Or try a mix of dried herbs and seasonings and rub them directly into the skin. Some recipes call for moistening the bird with juice or wine or simply basting the skin throughout the roasting time the pan juices.

3 lb+ Fryer chicken after 1 hour of roasting with dry spice rub.

3 lb+ Fryer chicken after 1 hour of roasting with dry spice rub.

A chicken will be cooked when its internal temperature registers 185 F (85 C) on a meat thermometer. A stuffed chicken will take longer to cook than an unstuffed one. For cooking times and internal temperature charts for all types of chicken using various cooking techniques, visit the website of the Chicken Farmers of Canada at . You’ll also find food safety tips, recipes and other helpful information at this site.

Once your meat thermometer registers the proper internal temperature of the chicken (and the stuffing, if using), remove the roasting pan from the oven. Transfer the bird to a cutting board, tent with foil and allow it to rest for 10 – 15 minutes before carving and serving.

Greek-Style Roast Chicken

Greek-Style Roast Chicken

Tenting with foil does not mean sealing the chicken tightly inside the foil. Tenting is draping a length of foil over the chicken (with the tent peak along the chicken’s spine) and having open ‘ends’ where the tent flaps would be. The openings allow heat to escape so your chicken does not steam inside an airtight compartment.



One Response to “Prepping a Whole Chicken for the Oven”


  1. #99—My Wayne Gretzky of Posts: Herb-Rubbed Roasted Chicken Dinner | Savvy Single Suppers - July 9, 2013

    […] Follow the Savvy Single Basics instructions here for preparing your chicken for […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: