... or do you flip? What's your method of choice and why?
Neither. I butterfly it and roast at high temp
What a coincidence... I just now finished reading Jamie Oliver's recipe for Chicken Braised in Milk and many of the reader comments focused on the topic of cooking breast up or breast down. Of course, that recipe technique is braising, not roasting. I've roasted both ways and find that if I baste the chicken fairly often, breast-up is usually fine. If I'm not using much liquid, sometimes I start roasting breast up and flip it over about half way or three-quarters of the way through cooking time... if I remember!
And you asked why... because the white breast meat cooks faster than the dark meat and can get dried out.
I roast breast up - splatchcocked. High heat ... 400F at least. Pop a bit of compound butter under the breast skin. Nice and crispy, white meat still moist and dark tasty - due to the high heat.
I've been roasting chickens for 40 years, using a very wide-ranging variety of recipes. My favorite: Judy Rodgers (Zuni) Roast Chicken, especially if I do the bread salad as well. I just made it last night, in fact, in honor and memory of Ms. Rodgers. The recipe calls for flipping the bird twice: breast up, breast down, breast up for final crisping. It's a magnificent dish, now my default chicken roasting technique.
cb, we got out that recipe and wanted to make it but we typically use larger chickens than Judy calls for. Have you had success w/ larger birds(4.5-5 lbs)? done anything differently?
Le Bec Fin: I have done up to 4.5 lb. chickens and the recipe works just fine; usually add just a few minutes more to the oven time. In general, though, if I can get them, I prefer smaller chickens and if there's going to be a crowd, will do two small chickens rather than one large one. More bones for stock! And who doesn't love leftover chicken?
I flip it. I roast chickens nearly every week, starting breast side down on a rack in a pan with an inch or two of water. Flip after I don't know, 30-40 minutes. Sometimes I turn on the broiler at the very end to further brown the top, briefly.
We also love the spatchcocking trick. It roasts the chicken very evenly and creates uniformly crisp, golden skin. It also helps the chicken cook faster. Otherwise, we flip the bird starting with breast-side up, then down, then up again to finish.
And honestly, we find that while breasts are supposed to cook faster and dry out more than the legs, your average modern chicken's breasts are so abnormally huge that it can sometimes take longer for the breasts to cook than the legs. At least, it pays to check the temperature in both the legs and breasts, and you can adjust the position of the bird accordingly (if the temp in the breasts is rising too quickly, flip the bird breast-side down and vice versa).
This is why spatchcocking is so nice--less worry about uneven cooking.
I spatchcock and roast breast up under high heat as well. Agree with the comments above about that method (and the compound butter under the skin).
I flip, starting breast up, then down, then up for a final few minutes. And, like mant others have said, I often spatchcock. Love using Amanda's Spatchcocked and Braise Roasted recipe as a starting point.
I realize that I never answered my own question. I use Thomas Keller’s recipe: 475F degrees, breast side up, chicken completely dried, generously salted, DO NOT open the door. It works great, but again, I am not a chicken warrior. I was recently served some magnificent birds, one was the product of the breast side down approach, the other was stuffed and slowly roasted in the oven at 370F. So it got me thinking...
I would be curious to learn more about the breast side down approach, if you loved it. Where did you eat this chicken? So far, the spatchcock-braise method works the best for me. (http://theroamingkitchen.net/my-perfect-roast-chicken/).
I roast it first on either side, and for the last 20 minutes or so, breast up. Here's my recipe.http://food52.com/recipes...
To answer Christina's question... The chicken was made by my Greek friend, who said that he roasts his chicken breast side down at 375F, supported by the logic that it makes the breast meat juicer. I then googled a little bit and found this recipe on Huff post, which sort of describes the process, and by the way, the author of the recipe appears to be of the Greek heritage. I wonder if this is a Greek thing… (http://www.huffingtonpost...)
I found several other breast-side-down-recipes, and all mention that this technique produces better white meat.
... also you guys may find this amusing http://www.buzzfeed.com...
Oh that contest was so much fun to read about! Thanks for the link. I'll try the winning recipe, but it will have to be accompanied by Judy Rodgers bread salad, no question.
Thanks for that link, QueenSashy! Very cool competition and interesting outcome. Don't want to give it away, but let's just say I'm pulling a book off my shelf this afternoon.
We raise our own chickens, and they generally are between 6-10 lbs. I always roast breast down, because I think the breasts are much more flavorful, as well as juicy 😊
I spatch also on high heat or on the grill with a remote meat thermometer. I make a paste of chopped herbs from my garden, garlic, lemon zest, salt, pepper & olive oil. I rub it under the skin and on top of the bird. The combination of spatchcocking and these ingredients is delicious.
Have done it with thanksgiving turkey also with the Alton Brown method - highly popular