About a week ago I was at the grocery store checking out the meat aisle and decided to do something crazy. I bought a whole chicken. Jake and I have been a bit obsessed with a place a few blocks away called “Chicken Hut.” It’s exactly what it sounds like. It’s a place that sells cooked chickens to go. As you walk by you can see tons of them cooking on the grill. And they are delicious. However they’re also about $14 each. (Then again, compared to what we would normally spend going out to eat, that’s not that bad).
Anyway, I was intrigued when I saw that a whole chicken at Jewel was on sale for $.99/lb. Meaning the price of the bird I bought was $3.67. I wondered if instead of spending money on take-out, maybe I could recreate it at home for a lot less.
The good news is the answer is yes. I can cook a whole chicken. And so can you.
Cooking a Whole Chicken – Attempt #1
Helpful hints found at helpwithcooking
Ingredients and supplies
1 whole chicken (mine was 3.7lbs)
About 3 T of butter
Salt and pepper
Pan or roasting rack
Meat thermometer (not necessary but helpful)
So the first thing you need to do is open the package. Be warned that juices/blood will spill out, so I did this in the sink. There are some conflicting opinions on whether or not to do this. Some websites say to rinse the chicken off but others say that this just spreads bateria into your sink. While I do think my sink was probably contaminated, I decided I would much rather get gross chicken stuff in my sink than all over my tiny counter top.
Second is you have to remove the insides. I knew this was coming and braced myself for it. However the butchers are nice enough to wrap all of the gross stuff in a nice little plastic bag! You just have to pull it out. If I were braver, I would immediately store it in a tupperware in the fridge for other things. However I am not brave. I threw it directly in the trash.
So now comes the fun part. Your chicken is washed and towel dried. How do you want to flavor it? I decided to go with butter. I piled a few tablespoons on my cutting board so I wouldn’t contaminate the rest, got a big hunk of it in my hands and rubbed my chicken down. Alternatively you could also use olive oil.
Next I seasoned it with salt and pepper. And at the last minute, decided to toss chili powder on it as well. I definitely want to experiment with other spices next time. Might even stick some garlic inside it and see what happens.
Now I’m not sure if you can see in the picture, but I don’t have a roasting rack. I was contemplating buying one. All of the blogs I read said I needed one to keep the bird out of the juices that would leak out of it. But I checked online and most of the ones I found were at least $50. Ummm…no thank you.
A while back Jake bought a cooling rack that fit inside of a sheet pan for cooking bacon in the oven. There isn’t a ton of room for juice, but really how much was this tiny bird going to leak out? By the way, this rack was $12.
So I placed my bird in the oven and set my timer for 90 minutes. And then watched it like a hawk. To be completely honest I thought it was either going to explode or catch on fire. Every single sizzle scared me to death. Which now makes me feel silly because the bird was fine.
I cooked mine for 90 minutes however depending on the size of yours, the time will differ. I used this chart:
Chicken Roasting times (unstuffed)
|2½ – 3 lbs –
3½ – 4 lbs –
4½ – 5 lbs –
5 – 6 lbs –
|1 – 1¾ hrs
1½ – 1¾ hrs
1½ – 2 hrs
1¾ – 2½ hrs
Also according to the website I read, you’ll know the bird is done when you can wiggle the legs. I tried this method and couldn’t tell if anything had changed. Instead I used the meat thermometer Jake bought. When it’s done, it should be at 180 degrees (F). I’m sure you could probably also just cut it and take a look at the meat if you weren’t sure.
The chicken was awesome. The skin was incredibly flavorful and crispy. The only thing I think I will change is next time cook it a bit less. The chicken was a bit drier than I would have liked. Which may have something to do with the time or the fact that I didn’t baste it. Unfortunately because of the way the cooling rack fits, you can’t get at the juices to baste it (I also don’t own a baster but that’s less important).